U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY). (Credit: Wikimedia Commons/Perisha Gates)
U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY). (Credit: Wikimedia Commons/Perisha Gates)

U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) announced last week the “Clean Cars For America Climate Initiative.” The proposal is aimed at adding electric vehicle (EV) charging stations and increasing the adoption of clean emissions vehicles by spending $454 billion over the next ten years.

In a New York Times op-ed, Schumer observed, “Even though many American automakers are preparing for an all-electric future, electric vehicles are still too expensive for too many Americans, and our country lacks sufficient battery-charging infrastructure. The goal of the plan … is that by 2040 all vehicles on the road should be clean.”

Key elements of the Clean Cars for America proposal include:

  • Subsidizing EV purchases for customers. The plan proposed $392 billion to subsidize customers trading in cars that are at least eight years old for electric vehicles, plug-in vehicles or fuel-cell cars to stimulate clean vehicle sales.
  • Funding EV rebates. Individual buyers would receive rebates of $3,000 or more for switching their cars to clean energy. This option exists as an alternative to the EV tax credit available for the first 200,000 vehicles sold by each manufacturer in the U.S, giving customers $2,500 to $7,500 per new EV.
  • Increasing access to charging infrastructure. The proposal includes $45 billion in funding to states, cities and municipalities to “provide publicly accessible charging infrastructure along city streets and public parking areas” and to offer grants for in-home installations.
  • Adding charging stations. Funding a new charging station for every EV purchased through the program’s incentives.
  • Funding workforce development. The plan also sets aside $17 billion for workforce development, through two programs
    • One program would provide cash grants to manufacturers to build new factories for assembling electric vehicles, manufacturing charging equipment, or manufacturing or recycling critical component parts of electric vehicles like batteries.
    • A second program would help reduce permanent plant closures in the U.S. by providing an additional cash grant for manufacturers that re-tool existing U.S. factories that make internal combustion engine vehicles or component parts.

As Senate Minority Leader, Schumer vowed to propose broad climate legislation if Democrats win a majority in the Senate in November 2020. This EV plan will be part of that effort.

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