A Silicon Valley company did something exciting last week, and for once it involved something more significant than a new app to help us kill time on our smartphones. Tesla, the company that already is making electric cars, unveiled a prototype electric-powered semitrailer that can go 500 miles on a single battery charge and is powerful enough that it goes 65 mph up steep hills.
With the House of Representatives having passed its tax reform plans and the Senate having released its version, the uncertainty around the basic existence of the federal EV tax credit, as evidenced by the difference between the two proposals, will be disruptive to the industry. It’s this uncertainty that leads everyone to a fundamental question: If the government chooses to end EV tax credits, will that affect the EV market overall? The answer is yes.
Electric vehicle advocates caught a glimmer of hope in the US last week when it was reported on November 9 that the Senate version of a revised tax plan would keep the federal EV tax credit intact. The House of Representatives tax plan released previously, however, would end the federal EV tax credit.
The auto industry is getting ready to plug into battery power in a big way. In recent months, virtually every major automaker has announced some form of “electrification” and, by the middle of the coming decade, conventional hybrids, plug-in hybrids, and pure battery-electric vehicles could account for nearly one-third of all new vehicle sales -- even more if California regulators ban the internal combustion engine entirely, as they’re now considering.
Amazon today announced that its largest wind farm yet--Amazon Wind Farm Texas--is now up and running, adding more than 1,000,000 MWh of clean energy to the grid each year. Amazon has launched 18 wind and solar projects across the U.S., with over 35 more to come. Together, these projects will generate enough clean energy to power over 330,000 homes annually.
China’s intellectual property theft, which involves industries from biotechnology to communications to steel manufacturers and more, cost the American economy hundreds of billions of dollars each year. It should come as no surprise that the Red Dragon is looking at the nascent American fuel cell industry.
Elon Musk has now offered to help Puerto Rico out, possibly by deploying solar power around the island. Puerto Rico is ideally situated for solar power in many respects. It’s relatively close to the equator-closer than any location in the continental United States-and it enjoys high amounts of sunshine for most of the year.
China has said it will eventually ban gasoline-powered cars. California may be moving in the same direction. That pressure has set off a scramble by the world’s car companies to embrace electric vehicles. On Monday, General Motors, America’s largest automaker, staked its claim to leadership. Outlining a fundamental shift in its vision of the industry, it announced plans for 20 new all-electric models by 2023, including two within the next 18 months.
Energy Secretary Rick Perry and the nominee to head the Energy Department’s electricity office both see potential for U.S. national lab-engineered electricity innovations to rebuild Puerto Rico’s hurricane-shattered grid. The U.S. territory could be a testing ground for new electricity-delivery technologies from the national laboratories, Energy nominee Bruce Walker told Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee members Sept. 26.
While domestic deployments of solar have grown nearly eightfold in the past five years, U.S. manufacturing has fallen behind. Previous trade cases were intended to stabilize pricing and result in new U.S. module capacity. But domestic production still hasn’t kept pace with deployments. We estimate that 87 percent of U.S. solar installations in 2016 used foreign-produced panels.