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Will Washington Pony Up to Spur Electric Car Growth?

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Today in Washington, a group of lawmakers will roll out their plan to get the Department of Energy to spend billions of dollars nurturing the electric vehicle market.

According to the Detroit News, the group known as the "electrification coalition" will push to have the DOE spend $800 million to $1 billion on 5-8 cities that will develop the infrastructure needed for electric vehicles to take off.

At this point, it's still just a proposal, but in my eyes it's one of many steps Washington needs to make if electric vehicles are ever going to take off.

I'm often asked by people when we'll see electric cars go from a curiosity to early adoption to mass market success.

The answer, in my opinion, comes down to two things:

1) Getting Americans past their range anxiety or developing models with the range to make that anxiety a moot point.

2) Having the infrastructure needed so that driving day to day around your city/town is not one where you can only go so far before you have to go home to re-charge. They are interconnected and crucial to electric cars taking off.

That's why Washington needs to make investments like the one the "electrification coalition" is proposing. And in truth, it will need to make many more worth billions of dollars. It's the price we will have to pay if the U.S. Is going to make electric cars more than a novelty.

This brings up a complaint I hear from people all the time: why spend billions on electric cars when only a 'handful of tree huggers' want them? This is a shortsighted viewpoint. Sure it will be well into the future until electric cars become a market force. But make no mistake, it will eventually happen.

The question is whether we, as a country, are leading the electric car race or letting other countries set the pace? I'd rather have us lead.

Yes, at a time when the country is running a huge and growing deficit, it's tough for some people to accept Uncle Sam spending billions on a technology still being developed. But if we're ever going to truly go green behind the wheel, we will need to make these types of investments.

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