- Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., unveiled on Thursday a proposal to add electric vehicle (EV) charging stations and increase adoption of clean emissions vehicles by spending $454 billion over the next ten years.
- "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," Schumer wrote in an op-ed in The New York Times. "The goal of the plan ... is that by 2040 all vehicles on the road should be clean."
- Schumer has pushed for extending the electric vehicle tax credit and continues to support that extension, according to his staff. His plan would reward customers for turning in their internal combustion engine vehicles and replacing them with electric, but the subsidy could not be used at the same time as a tax incentive for the purchase of EVs.
As Senate Minority Leader, Schumer has promised to put forth broad climate legislation if Democrats win a majority in the Senate in November 2020. His clean cars plan is part of that effort, he said in his op-ed.
In addition to subsidizing electric vehicle purchases, the plan is focused on 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.
The initiative targets many goals that utilities and cities have already put forward to ensure accessibility of new charging infrastructure.
The Clean Cars for America plan would add a "new charging station" for every EV purchased through the program's incentives.
The plan also sets aside $17 billion for workforce development and $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.
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 United States, giving customers $2,500 to $7,500 per new EV.
Schumer's plan would help transition 25% of the U.S. fleet, or 63 million vehicles by 2023, according to Schumer.
The initiative would differ from the Trump administration's current efforts to roll back Obama era fuel efficiency standards and deny California's right to set its own clean car standards. But the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit on Friday said the administration needs to provide more justification for its actions, according to the Sierra Club and other groups opposed to the administration's policies.
Several automakers and electric utilities voiced opposition to the administration's efforts, saying the rollbacks will impede progress on EV growth in California.
Schumer says he has the support of environmentalists as well as labor organizations and the auto industry.
"This plan is a chance to quickly close that gap and unleash U.S. innovation into the marketplace, creating and preserving millions of American auto jobs for decades to come," Sandra Purohit, federal advocacy director for Environmental Entrepreneurs, said in a statement.