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The US Department of Energy is investing over $55 million in 31 projects for more efficient vehicles. 19 of the projects seek to help achieve the goals of the EV Everywhere Grand Challenge, by making plug-in hybrids as affordable as gasoline cars by 2022. 12 projects are aimed at making passenger vehicles and commercial trucks more fuel-efficient. The Army is providing another $3.7-million in co-funding for battery technology, reducing friction and wear and testing fuel-efficient tires. Read more at the Energy Department's website.

Formula E fans in France, Andorra and Morocco will be able to watch the races live on Canal+. The channel, which also airs Formula 1 and WRC in France, will offer a highlights program covering the race weekend, podium presentation and interviews with the drivers in addition to live race coverage. Canal+ has an audience of about six million households. Most of us, though, will be watching the races on Fox Sports, ITV4 in the UK, TV Asahi in Japan and CCTV in China. Formula E says it will have more television deals to announce before the beginning of the inaugural race season next month. Read more at Formula E's site.

Tony Posawatz, the former Chevrolet Volt developer and Fisker CEO, is going the board of directors at big data technology company INRIX. INRIX is known for its driver navigation app, INRIX Traffic, which uses traffic information to plan routes. Posawatz worked at General Motors for 30 years, before leaving to become president and CEO of plug-in hybrid carmaker Fisker from 2012 to 2013. He then founded clean car consultancy firm Invictus iCar. "Tony's experience leading the automotive industry forward through the adoption of breakthrough technologies is invaluable to INRIX," said INRIX CEO Bryan Mistele, "as we expand collaboration with automakers beyond traffic to a variety of other data-driven services in the Connected Car." Read more at Automotive News.

The Assembly Appropriations Committee has approved the Charge Ahead California initiative. The bill, which seeks to put one million EVs on California roads in ten years, will now head to the full assembly for its vote. Charge Ahead California includes an extension and reworking of the state's Clean Vehicle Rebate Project, and also seeks to improve access to clean transportation for disadvantaged populations through carsharing, and clunker-scrapping incentives. The goal of putting more electric cars on the roads is driven largely by a desire for cleaner air. Read more in the press release, below.
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Charge Ahead California Bill Heads to the Full Assembly for Vote

SACRAMENTO – The Assembly Appropriations Committee weighed in with support for the Charge Ahead California Initiative (SB 1275 - De León) on Thursday, bringing the state one step closer to adopting a goal of putting one million electric vehicles on California roads in ten years, and reinforcing provisions that guarantee that low- and middle-income Californians are full participants in the Golden State's clean vehicle future.

The Assembly Appropriations Committee is the third Assembly panel to vote in favor of the bill, which is authored by Senate President pro Tempore-elect Kevin de León with support from co-authors Senator Fran Pavley, and Assemblymembers Raul Bocanegra, Rob Bonta, Cristina Garcia, Chris Holden, and Phil Ting. The bill was approved by both the Assembly Transportation Committee and Assembly Natural Resources Committee in June. SB 1275 passed the full Senate in May with strong bipartisan support.

"We need many more electric vehicles on the road, and we also need to ensure that every Californian gets a fair chance to enjoy the benefits of electric vehicles," said Vien Truong, Environmental Equity Director of The Greenlining Institute. "That's what Charge Ahead California is all about," Truong said.

"Four in ten Californians live near a highway or other busy road, more than any other state," said Michelle Kinman, Clean Energy Advocate with Environment California. "If our roads were instead filled with zero-emission vehicles, it would dramatically improve the lives of millions of Californians who are already suffering from asthma and other pollution impacts," Kinman said.

De León developed the legislation with Charge Ahead California, a coalition of community-based organizations and conservation groups working together to expand clean transportation, improve local economies, and achieve air quality and climate goals.

"To clean up our dirty air, we need to make electric cars more accessible for our middle- and low-income families, not just the wealthy," De León said.

Key provisions of the legislation include:

An extended and improved Clean Vehicle Rebate Project (CVRP). The CVRP has been instrumental in bringing one-third of the nation's plug-in cars to California. The CVRP currently provides buyers with a $2,500 rebate for zero-emission purchases, but the program has been historically plagued by insufficient funding. SB 1275 would help secure needed funding for the program and direct officials to set income caps at levels that both ensure the program achieves the one million electric vehicle goal, and target rebates to people for whom they have the greatest impact.

Increases access to clean transportation in disadvantaged communities. SB 1275 would direct the Air Resources Board to establish car-sharing programs targeted to low-income communities, provide access to financing options that would mean lower combined monthly car payments and fuel costs, and offer incentives for the replacement of gas-guzzling "clunkers" with new or used electric cars or vouchers for transit and car-sharing.

SB 1275, the Charge Ahead California Initiative, is sponsored by the Coalition for Clean Air, Communities for a Better Environment, Environment California, The Greenlining Institute and the Natural Resources Defense Council. The campaign is also endorsed by many others, including: American Lung Association in California, Asian Pacific Environmental Network (APEN), Black Business Association, Breathe CA, California League of Conservation Voters, CALPIRG, CALSTART, Catholic Charities – Stockton Diocese, ChargePoint, City of Baldwin Park, City of Los Angeles, Environmental Defense Fund, FAME Corporations, Global Green USA, Interfaith Power & Light, Los Angeles Business Council, Physicians for Social Responsibility – Los Angeles, San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District, Sierra Club California, TransForm, Union of Concerned Scientists, Valley LEAP and West Angeles Community Development Corporation [partial list].