House Passes Schiff, Bilbray Measure to Expand Domestic Fuel-Efficient Car Technology

Official Seal of the US House of Representatives

Thursday, October 01, 2009 Contact: Sean Oblack (202) 225-4176

House Passes Schiff, Bilbray Measure to Expand Domestic Fuel-Efficient Car Technology

WASHINGTON, DC – Today the House passed a measure spearheaded by Congressmen Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Brian Bilbray (R-CA) that will expand production of domestic fuel-efficient vehicles. The amendment included in the Energy and Water Development Appropriations Act (H.R. 3183) expands the type of cars that would be eligible for the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Incentive Program so that new companies and designs can compete on an even playing field with more traditional automakers. The bill is expected to pass the Senate in the coming days and then be sent to the President to be signed into law.

“We need to think outside the box when developing new fuel-efficient vehicles, and that is exactly what some new car designers and manufactures are doing,” said Schiff. “Obsolete bureaucratic definitions should not create roadblocks and stifle innovation. This legislation clears the way for domestic manufactures to develop new innovative fuel-efficient cars here at home.”

"This is a huge win for scientific innovation and the environment," said Congressman Bilbray. "I've always said that we need more innovation and less regulation when it comes to promoting new ways to save energy, and passing this legislation shows that there truly is a bi-partisan, pro-environment and pro-innovation movement in Congress."

Innovative companies around the country, including Aptera based in Carlsbad and incubated at Pasadena's Idealab, are ready to produce highly efficient three-wheeled vehicles. However, advanced car designs that only have three wheels are not eligible for the DOE program, because of an antiquated definition used by the program to define cars that are eligible. Rep. Schiff’s amendment modifies the program to include new innovative vehicles that maximize aerodynamics.

The amendment makes fully-enclosed vehicles that are capable of carrying two adults and get at least 75 miles per gallon eligible for the DOE’s Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Incentives Program. The program provides loans to car manufacturers for up to 30 percent of the cost of reequipping, expanding or establishing manufacturing facilities in the U.S. for advanced technology vehicles or components, or for engineering integration performed in the U.S.