Hatch To Partner With Obama, Cantwell To Develop Legislation Promoting Plug-In Vehicles

Plug-In Partners National Campaign.  

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Washington Ė Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah) today announced he will work with Sens. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) to develop bipartisan legislation to advance plug-in hybrids and plug-in electric vehicles. Hatch is the author of a 2005 law providing tax incentives for hybrid-electric and alternative-fuel vehicles. Hatchís speech before the National Plug-in Partners Campaign today follows:

Iím very pleased to be a part of the National Plug-in Partners Anniversary Celebration. Itís been a good year for this partnership, and I congratulate you for making so much progress since we met at the National Press Club a year ago to announce the launch of this effort. A lot has happened in a short time, and thatís due in large part to the tremendous energy so many of you have put into promoting this new idea. I congratulate Mayor Will Winn for his vision and for putting Roger Duncan in charge of his campaign.

Iíve mentioned in the past that I see trouble on our horizon from a global energy perspective. World demand for energy is well above world supply, demand continues to rise, and new oil discoveries are not keeping up. Itís a global problem that will likely affect our nation more than any other, due to our alarming level of dependence on liquid fuels from foreign nations. We have to act now, and we have to be creative.

No one solution can match the scale of the problem, but in my view, no solution is more creative and practical than shifting our transportation sector away from liquid fuels and toward a greater reliance on electrons. As some of you know, I have worked very hard to promote alternative fuels and advanced vehicle technologies. I was the author of the CLEAR Act, which was included in the Energy Policy Act and provides strong tax credits to consumers who purchase alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles, including battery electric and hybrid cars.

This law also provides tax incentives for new alternative fuel stations and for the use of alternative fuels in vehicles. As with most tax incentives, the CLEAR Act credits will sunset after a few years, and without Congressional action, may not be available by the time commercial plug-in hybrids are available to consumers. In the meantime, though, the credits will help to promote those advanced technologies necessary to make plug-in hybrids commercially viable as they are being used and perfected in hybrid cars on the road today.

Since we introduced and passed the CLEAR Act, we have seen dramatic progress with the idea of plug-in hybrids, and we have seen Tesla Motors excite us with the prospects of a new generation of plug-in electric vehicles. To me, these developments signal the possibility of a real shift toward using electrons to move ourselves and our goods around this nation. I believe strongly that the CLEAR Act was the right policy for the right time. And now is the right time to establish incentives for plug-in hybrids and plug-in electric vehicles. I believe you may be hearing from Senator Maria Cantwell today, and I know sheís a strong supporter of your movement. I understand Senator Barack Obama was also hoping to swing by to express his support. Barack is also a very strong supporter of promoting plug-in hybrids.

In fact, I am proud to be able to announce today that Senator Maria Cantwell, Senator Barack Obama, and I have agreed to work together in a bipartisan manner to produce new legislation to promote plug-in hybrids and plug-in electric vehicles. I cannot announce the details of that plan today, because they are still being developed, but we hope to announce a complete proposal in the near future. We share a vision for the dramatic social benefits that would be associated with the greater use of electrons in our transportation system. Electrons are much cheaper and can be much cleaner that conventional gasoline and diesel. I have been a strong supporter of renewable energy production, and as you know, an electron-based vehicle powered by geothermal, wind, or solar power would prove to be an extremely clean means of transportation. And all these forms of power generation have potential for dramatic growth in this country and around the world.

I believe the United States is well placed to be the world leader in the development of plug-in hybrid vehicles. We have already heard about the California-based Tesla Motors plug-in electric vehicle. I am also aware that Raser Technologies, based in Utah, has developed a very powerful and efficient AC induction motor, and A123 Systems, based in the U.S., has produced a very advanced and affordable lithium ion battery made specifically for electric-drive vehicles. The U.S. is truly on the cutting-edge of technology in developing commercial, electron powered vehicles. I am very pleased that since meeting together last year, we have heard from Toyota, General Motors, and Ford Motor Company that they are all working on developing plug-in hybrid vehicles. In other words, one year has brought a lot of progress. So I want to congratulate all of you, and let you know that there are those of us in the Senate that stand with you. Thank you, and I look forward to continuing to work with all of you.

More information about the Consortium may be found at: www.hybridconsortium.org.


Plug-in Hybrid Development Consortium
Raser Technologies Inc. (NYSE Arca:RZ)
David West, 801-765-1200


The AES Corporation (NYSE:AES - News)
Bob Hemphill, 703-682-6650


Pacific Gas & Electric (NYSE:PCG - News)
Brian Stokes, 415-260-3145


ElectroVaya (TSX:EFL - News)
Dr. Shankar Das Gupta, 905-855-4610


Maxwell Technologies (NASDAQ:MXWL - News)
John Miller, 858-503-3383


Southern California Edison
(NYSE:EIX - News) Ed Kjaer, 626-302-1324