Renewed support for electric vehicles expected as Obama secures victory

Article by Anita Panait, on November 7, 2012

US President Barack Obama secured victory for another four-year term, which could mean a return to an agenda of support for electric vehicles. Obama’s second term could also mean an implementation of new rules on tailpipe emissions and auto safety that presidential appointees have been raring to release.

Mitt Romney, Obama’s Republican rival, conceded at 12:55 a.m. Eastern time. The recent election also saw Democrats retaining control of the Senate while Republicans keep their hold of the House.

Obama said in his victory speech that he hopes to have a meeting with Romney in the coming weeks to discuss ways to move the country forward. The auto industry played a vital role in Obama’s successful reelection campaign, as it became the focus of an $85 billion federal bailout that led to the revival of General Motors and Chrysler.

Obama has disclosed some details on his intentions for the auto industry during a second term, including plans for the 500 million GM shares that the government still owns.

For the next four years, Obama’s appointees are more likely to pursue the agenda suggested by the backlogs of funding and rules at federal agencies. Roland Hwang, director of the transportation program at environmental group Natural Resources Defense Council, expects the agenda of promoting electric cars and other cleaner technologies by the EPA and the Department of Energy to pick up again in Obama’s second term. Auto industry hotbeds Michigan and Ohio both voted for Obama.

Chevrolet revealed its new 2011 Volt electric vehicle with greater range, launching a completely new segment in worldwide automotive offerings. The five-doored, four-passenger Volt is engineered to give the electric vehicle benefits without limiting range, as is the case with other vehicles in the electric market.

The Volt can be the only car a person ever owns. It provides everything possible: an innovative drive system, advanced style, class-leading safety, first-class conveniences, easy-to-use technologies, and energetic driving dynamism.

Conceived, designed, manufactured, and available to consumers in 29 months, the Volt will start selling at Chevrolet dealerships before 2010 ends. It comes with one very well-appointed standard trim package, along with two optional packages: a Premium Trim Package and a Rear Camera and Park Assist Package.

Volt should not be called a hybrid. It is a unique, all-electronically driven vehicle engineered to run in every climate. Powered by GM's innovative Voltec drive system, it has a 16-kWh lithium-ion battery pack and drive unit that has a fully electric range from 25 to 50 miles, contingent on the terrain, drive technique, and temperature.

A 1.4-litre gas engine increases the range potentially to an added 310 miles on a full tank by running the electric system until it can be recharged or refueled. This sets the Volt apart from electric-only cars that cannot run if recharging is not immediately at hand, like during a power disruption or on a long-distanced trip.

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