WASHINGTON DC – U.S. Senators Gary Peters (D-MI), Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) are reintroducing the bipartisan Vehicle Innovation Act to encourage investments in research and development of clean vehicle and advanced safety technologies to increase fuel efficiency and reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil.
In the 114th Congress, Senators Peters, Alexander and Stabenow introduced similar legislation, which was approved by the U.S. Senate as part of the Energy Policy Modernization Act. The announcement was made Thursday.
“Michigan and the United States are leading the way in developing innovative technologies that will make the next generation of cars and trucks safer and more efficient than ever before,” said Senator Peters. “This bipartisan bill will help ensure that American manufacturers remain internationally competitive by encouraging the development of cutting-edge clean vehicle technologies that improve fuel efficiency, save consumers money and help support American jobs.”
“The Department of Energy’s research to make cars and trucks more fuel efficient, to improve electric vehicles and batteries and to develop alternative fuels will benefit Tennessee’s auto industry which supports jobs in 86 of our 95 counties,” said Senator Alexander. “More than one-third of Tennessee manufacturing jobs are auto-related and investment in new vehicle technologies will continue to attract good-paying jobs to Tennessee.”
“Michigan manufacturers are some of the best in the world. This bill will help our manufacturers innovate and develop new products, which will create jobs and give consumers more choices,” said Senator Stabenow.
The Vehicle Innovation Act strengthens and streamlines the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Vehicle Technologies Office, which promotes public-private partnerships to conduct technology-neutral research and development on a diverse range of new technologies to improve fuel efficiency in light, medium and heavy duty vehicles. The bill will support domestic research and development, grow our advanced manufacturing industry in the United States, and reduce our dependence on imported oil.
Examples of potential fuel-saving technologies include vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2X) communications, mild hybrid, engine down speeding, power pack modeling and testing, advanced boosting systems, new vehicle sensing and communication, hydrogen and natural gas refueling and electric vehicle charging technology.
The legislation also authorizes critical resources for the Vehicle Technologies Office to encourage research, including $313.6 million in funding for the FY2018, and a four percent increase to each year after that through 2022, to ensure steady funding is available to help manufacturers keep pace with emerging advanced technologies that have the potential to reduce fuel costs in the national vehicle fleet.
The legislation is supported by the Motor and Equipment Manufacturers Association, the Auto Alliance, UAW, the BlueGreen Alliance, and NTEA—The Association for the Work Truck Industry.
“Hundreds of thousands of manufacturing jobs across America depend on continuing to strengthen US leadership in inventing, commercializing and manufacturing advanced transportation technology,” said Kim Glas, Executive Director of the BlueGreen Alliance. “Cutting-edge vehicle technology and manufacturing programs at the Department of Energy enhance American competitiveness and help ensure that the next generation of technology and jobs are built in the US. We thank Senator Peters and his co-sponsors for introducing this bill to bolster American innovation, competitiveness and growth.”
“The Auto Alliance applauds Sens. Peters, Alexander and Stabenow for the reintroduction of the Vehicle Innovation Act,” said Mitch Bainwol, Auto Alliance president and CEO. “Automakers are focused on the deployment of advanced technology and alternative fuel vehicles to help address our nation’s energy security and environmental concerns. The next generation of fuel-efficient technologies requires significant investments in research, design, development, testing and certification as they are developed and refined for use on the various types of vehicles needed by American consumers. This legislation will help ensure that our industry partners throughout the vast automotive supply chain are supported in the research on and development of these advanced technologies.”
“NTEA commends Senators Peters, Alexander and Stabenow’s commitment to the motor vehicle industry. Vocational truck users are at the forefront of integrating advanced technologies and alternative fuels but the future will require greater advances,” said Steve Carey, executive director with NTEA – The Association for the Work Truck Industry. “This legislation will help industry partner with government to accomplish the goals of a cleaner and more efficient work truck industry.”
“The Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association (MEMA) applauds Sens. Peters, Alexander and Stabenow for the introduction of the Vehicle Innovation Act. The important research and development called for in this legislation supports the necessary activities for more fuel efficient advanced technology components. These domestic research and manufacturing activities will improve vehicle fuel efficiency and reduce emissions. They will also help consumers by increasing choices in vehicle technologies and fuels,” said Steve Handschuh, President and Chief Executive Officer of MEMA.