U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and U.S. Congressman Gary Peters (D-MI) today announced the passage of the Advanced Vehicle Technology Act in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Last year Stabenow, a member of the committee, introduced the legislation which gives our manufacturers and suppliers in the United States critical funding to develop the next generation of advanced vehicles. Without investments like these, we will lose the race to create clean energy jobs to countries like China, who spends $288 million a day developing clean energy technology. Last year, Congressman Peters wrote and introduced the Advanced Vehicle Technology Act in the U.S. House of Representatives, where it passed 312-114 last September.
This legislation also expands the Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing Loan Program, commonly known as section 136, allowing suppliers and more of our manufacturers to be eligible for funding. This program, authored by Senator Stabenow, helps our companies retool existing plants to manufacture advanced technology vehicles. Under this program, Ford Motor Company received $5 billion in loans to retool the Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne to produce the Ford Focus.
"We need to build the new vehicles of the future here in America in order to create clean-energy jobs in Michigan and across the country," said Stabenow. "The Advanced Vehicle Technology Act will provide crucial dollars to help our manufacturers and suppliers develop and deploy technologies to make more fuel-efficient vehicles, reducing our dependence on foreign oil and foreign technologies. This bill also expands the Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing Loan program so more of our manufacturers and suppliers can retool plants to develop fuel-efficient vehicles. I am pleased to partner with Congressman Peters to help put Michigan's economy back on track."
"I greatly appreciate Senator Stabenow's leadership on this issue in the Senate," said Congressman Peters. "Investing in advanced technology vehicle research and development will create good paying Michigan jobs and reduce America's dependence on foreign oil. Other nations are aggressively pursuing these technologies and we cannot afford to be left behind. We need to ensure the cars of the future are built in Michigan, not overseas. This initiative is good for the country and great for Michigan's economy."
The Advanced Vehicle Technology Act will provide funding to the U.S. Department of Energy for advanced vehicle research and development. The funding will be available through competitive grant awards for small, medium, and large manufacturers and suppliers that develop technologies to improve the energy efficiency of vehicles. These efforts include hybrid and electrical systems; advanced batteries and energy storage devices; hydrogen and natural gas systems; refueling and recharging infrastructure; and other advanced vehicle technologies. It will also expand the development of more fuel-efficient medium and heavy duty commercial trucks.
The Advanced Vehicle Technology Act is supported by a wide range of manufacturers and suppliers of all sizes as well as the National Association of Manufacturers, Motor and Equipment Manufacturers Association, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.