Senate Democrats

Reid, Kerry, Bayh Join Leaders In New Energy Technologies To Discuss How Democratic Energy Bill Will Sharpen America’s Competitive Edge

Washington, DC—Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senators John Kerry and Evan Bayh joined leaders in new energy technologies today to discuss how energy-efficiency can sharpen America’s competitive edge. Democrats are moving ahead this week with The Renewable Fuels, Consumer Protection, and Energy Efficiency Act of 2007, which will help lower energy costs, create jobs, protect consumers from price-gouging, strengthen national security and reduce global-warming emissions. 

Four leaders in new energy technologies joined the Senators to discuss the benefits of energy-efficient transportation: Leslie Goldman of A123 Systems, which develops long-lasting and environmentally safe car batteries; Brian Wynne, President of the Electric Drive Transportation Association, an industry association representing battery, hybrid and fuel-cell vehicles and infrastructure; Gal Luft, Co-chairman of Set America Free Coalition, an alliance of national security, environmental, labor and religious groups promoting ways to reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil; and Diarmuid O’Connell, Director of Corporate Development for Tesla Motors, which develops and manufactures electric vehicles that produce no greenhouse-gas emissions.

“With only three percent of the world’s oil reserves in the U.S., we will always rely on unstable regions of the world if we do not reduce our dependence on oil,” Reid said. “We have the technology to become a more energy-efficient nation, and we should embrace it. Becoming a leader in new energy technologies will sharpen America’s competitive edge, strengthen our security and protect our environment. Despite the prevailing thought of this Administration and many Congressional Republicans, we cannot drill our way to energy independence.”

Said Kerry: “Plug-in car technology offers a blueprint for clean, efficient, affordable driving if the auto industry is willing to listen. I don’t know of anyone who isn’t interested in getting 150 miles to the gallon with their car, and that could soon be a reality. The American people are ready for advanced auto technologies, and companies like A123 Systems are ahead of the curve, giving drivers the option of actually plugging their car into an outlet to charge a battery. This is exactly the type of technology that we will promote by passing strong CAFE standards this week in the energy bill.”

“Hybrid plug-in vehices represent the most revolutionary transportation advance since America went from horse-and-buggy to motor-and-wheel,” said Bayh, who led a 26-member Senate energy coalition around the DRIVE Act, which last week passed an oil savings amendment that will reduce America’s oil imports by two and a half million barrels per day over the next 10 years – the equivalent of everything that we currently import from the Middle East. “A vehicle powered by electricity releases far less pollution into the environment than a vehicle powered with gasoline. America can and does generate its electricity with domestic energy resources.  The more that we use electricity to power our cars, trucks, trains, and ships, the more we will be using domestic energy sources—and the less dependent we will be on foreign oil.”

Said Goldman: “We are proud to have developed the American battery technology breakthrough that can turn today’s ordinary hybrids into 150 MPG plug-in hybrids through the simple installation of our soon-to-be mass-produced supplemental battery module. With your political will and the continuing development and commercialization of this technology, an American-led plug-in hybrid revolution – with 80 percent oil and 60 percent emissions reductions – can now begin.”

“We appreciate the Senators’ commitment to ensuring that the energy legislation being debated right now fully seizes the opportunity to reduce oil dependence with advanced vehicles and provides the crucial support and incentives that will bring electric drive vehicles into the commercial mainstream,” Wynne said. “A comprehensive approach to electrification of transportation will result in real reductions in oil consumption and greenhouse gases, and real increases in energy security and environmental quality.”

Said Luft: “Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles allow Americans to use made-in-America electricity rather than Middle East oil. Since we no longer produce electricity from petroleum, there is no better way to strengthen America’s security and remove the yoke of our oil dependence than the electrification of our transportation system.”