Schiff Amendment to Expand Domestic Fuel-Efficient Car Technology Passes in the House

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Thursday, July 16, 2009 Contact: Sean Oblack (202) 225-4176

Schiff Amendment to Expand Domestic Fuel-Efficient Car Technology Passes in the House

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the House passed the Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act which included an amendment authored by Rep. Adam Schiff that will expand production of domestic fuel-efficient vehicles.  The amendment, approved by the House Appropriations Committee last week, 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 now awaits a vote in the Senate before it can 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 amendment clears the way for domestic manufactures to find new innovative solutions for fuel-efficient cars to be produced here at home.”

Innovative companies around the country, including one 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.

Earlier this year, Rep. Schiff cosponsored similar legislation introduced by Congressman Brian Bilbray. 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 Incentive 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 preformed in the U.S.

The Energy and Water Appropriations bill also included funding for a Smart Grid Initiative in Burbank.  The City of Burbank will receive $500,000 to help develop an advance smart grid program that will improve energy efficiency and provide incentives for consumers to reduce energy usage.  The smart grid will put into use state-of-the-art smart meters, a high speed load control system, and a very versatile high capacity Wi-Fi technology.