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FedEx, PG&E Seek Electric-Vehicle Subsidy for Corporate Fleets

FedEx, PG&E Seek Electric-Vehicle Subsidy
The Nissan Leaf electric car. Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

Executives from companies including FedEx Corp., PG&E Corp. and Nissan Motor Co. called for U.S. tax credits to help increase the number of electric vehicles in corporate and government fleets to 200,000 by 2015 from 1,000.

Expanding electric-vehicle use is “the single most important initiative” available to reduce U.S. reliance on foreign oil imports, FedEx Chief Executive Officer Fred Smith said today at a news conference in Washington.

The Electrification Coalition, a Washington-based group of 21 company executives that formed a year ago to advocate for electric vehicles, released a report requesting the tax credits for corporations that make purchases for fleets, and to extend assistance through 2018 for building charging stations.

Coalition members are promoting their agenda ahead of a new Congress that will take office in January, with Republicans replacing Democrats in control of the House. General Electric Co. announced Nov. 11 that it plans to buy as many as 25,000 rechargeable cars, almost half from General Motors Co.

“I would almost guarantee you we will be successful in the next two years” in advancing the electric-vehicle agenda, Representative Edward Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat, said at the news conference.

GE’s announcement, along with advocacy by Smith and retired General P.X. Kelley, who also attended today’s news conference, will help persuade House Republicans that electric cars are here to stay, said Brendan Bell, Washington representative for the Union of Concerned Scientists in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

“If you are a Republican and you’re hearing from multiple CEOs of Fortune 500 companies and a former Joint Chiefs of Staff member that electric vehicles are good for America, it’s pretty hard to come up with an argument that they are wrong,” he said.

Coalition Members

Memphis, Tennessee-based FedEx is the second-largest U.S. package shipping company, after United Parcel Service Inc. San Francisco-based PG&E is the owner of California’s largest utility. Nissan, Japan’s third-largest carmaker, is based in Yokohama.

The coalition also includes executives from Siemens AG, a Munich, Germany-based company that provides information technology and service support for charging stations; NRG Energy Inc., the second-largest power producer in Texas, Rockwood Holdings Inc., the world’s largest producer of lithium products, and AeroVironment, a maker of car-battery chargers.

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