Los Angeles air traffic control: ‘Jetpack guy is back’

“We were looking but we did not see Iron Man,” reported one pilot after the alert. (Industrial Light and Magic)

LOS ANGELES — The FBI is investigating what one commercial airline pilot said might have been an airborne person with a jetpack, high in the busy skies near Los Angeles International Airport.

The Los Angeles Times reported that the Boeing 747 pilot radioed to report “a possible jetpack man in sight” at around 6:12 p.m. Wednesday, according to a recording from the website LiveATC.

The pilot spotted an object that might have resembled a jetpack 15 miles east of LAX at 5,000 feet altitude, a Federal Aviation Administration spokesperson told the newspaper. “Out of an abundance of caution, air traffic controllers alerted other pilots in the vicinity.”

“Use caution, the jetpack guy is back,” said one air traffic alert.

“Did you see a UFO?” one air traffic controller asked a pilot.

“We were looking but we did not see Iron Man,” the pilot responded.

The FBI is working with the FAA to investigate the report, FBI spokesperson Laura Eimiller told the Times in an email. The agency has already looked into three other possible jetpack forays in the skies above Los Angeles, and has “not been able to validate any of the reports,” she said.

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Source: AutoBlog.com

Daimler to keep 35% stake as truck division goes solo

FRANKFURT — Daimler will keep a 35% stake in the trucks division it plans to spin off this year, the luxury carmaker said on Friday, giving more details on a landmark corporate split it hopes will boost share values.

The spinoff of Daimler Truck Holding AG as a separate listed entity, first announced in February, will be voted on by Daimler shareholders at an extraordinary general meeting on Oct. 1.

They will receive one share in the trucks division for every two Daimler shares they own.

Daimler, in turn, will be renamed Mercedes-Benz Group AG to reflect its focus on the car and van business, including the Mercedes-Benz brand, and efforts to challenge Tesla and other rivals in the market for electric premium cars.

“Daimler’s realignment makes one success story into two,” Daimler Chief Executive Ola Kaellenius said.

“With this courageous step into a new future, we are creating added value with two pure-play companies for our customers, employees, shareholders and partners.”

Daimler will provide Daimler Truck Holding AG with net liquidity of 5 billion euros ($5.9 billion) until the end of the year, when the truckmaker’s shares are expected to start trading, so that it can achieve an investment-grade rating.

Spinoffs, under which existing shareholders get shares in the new vehicle for free, have been a prominent way for large corporations to unlock value and respond to investors demanding a sharper business model.

Daimler shares are up about 17% since the spin-off announcement, in line with the broader European automotive sector.

“Up until now, we had to travel in a convoy. In the future, we will be able to plan our own route and choose the best route for us,” said Martin Daum, designated chief executive of Daimler Truck Holding AG.

Of the 35% Daimler plans to retain in the division, which is the world’s largest truck and bus maker and will be a contender for Germany’s blue-chip DAX index, 5% will be transferred to the carmaker’s pension fund.

As of Jan. 1 2021, Daimler Truck Holding AG shareholders’ equity on a pro-forma basis stood at about 11.1 billion euros, equivalent to an equity ratio of 22%, Daimler said.

Source: AutoBlog.com

F1’s Bottas edges Hamilton in sweltering Hungarian Grand Prix practice

Valtteri Bottas knocked Formula One championship leader Max Verstappen off the top of the timesheets to set the pace ahead of Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton on a sweltering opening day of practice at the Hungarian Grand Prix.

The Finn lapped the 4.3-km long Hungaroring track in 1 minute, 17.012 seconds on a day that track surface temperatures climbed above 140 degrees Fahrenheit.

Hamilton was hot on his heels ending up just 0.027 seconds off the Finn’s benchmark with title rival Verstappen, who had topped the opening session of practice ahead of the Mercedes pair, 0.298 seconds adrift in third.

“Honestly, it feels like being in a Finnish sauna,” joked Bottas after the session. “It’s good to see that most likely we’re going to be in the fight for the pole tomorrow. So that’s really motivating.”

Hamilton heads into the weekend gunning for a landmark 100th career win and record ninth in Hungary.

Trailing Verstappen by just eight points in the overall standings, victory ahead of the Red Bull driver on Sunday and a fastest lap will see him head into Formula One’s month-long summer break level on points with the 23-year-old.

“To see Valtteri and I both on the front row pace-wise, I think that’s great for the team and we’ll only improve on that,” said the Briton, who said he had lost three kilos of weight over the day’s two hour-long sessions.

“Got some work to do tonight to try and see how we can finesse the car a little bit more but it’s a good start.”

Verstappen, whose rivalry with Hamilton has grown more tense following the pair’s collision that sent the Red Bull driver crashing out of the last race in Britain and put him in hospital, appeared to have the early advantage.

But his speed wilted in the Hungarian heat.

“It’s nothing too big to overcome,” Verstappen told the Formula One website.

“A lot of things to look into. But nothing shocking.”

Esteban Ocon ended the second session fourth for Alpine.

Team mate Fernando Alonso, who celebrated his 40th birthday on Thursday, was seventh at the track where he scored his first Formula One win in 2003.

Yuki Tsunoda completed just three laps in his AlphaTauri in the afternoon. The Japanese rookie had spun into the barriers in the opening session, bringing out a brief red flag, with his mechanics spending much of the second hour of running carrying out repairs.

Sunday’s Hungarian Grand Prix, the 11th of 23 races, is the last before Formula One’s annual monthlong summer break.

Source: AutoBlog.com

New Michael Schumacher doc hits Netflix in September

The Michael Schumacher documentary that first surfaced back in 2019 is headed to Netflix later this year. It will cover the seven-time Formula One champion’s life — racing and otherwise — from the beginning to the end of his career(s). According to Racer, it is the only such documentary made with the family’s blessing. 

The doc will feature interviews with members of the family, including Schumacher’s wife, father and brother. Several high-profile F1 figures and racing icons will also appear, including Bernie Ecclestone, Damon Hill and David Coulthard. 

Producer and director Vanessa Noecker said that in exchange for their blessing and support, the filmmakers gave consideration to the family’s privacy throughout the making of the documentary. The Schumacher family has chosen to keep most details of the legendary racer’s recovery after a 2014 skiing accident out of the public eye.

We won’t have to wait much longer to see for ourselves. The documentary will debut Sept. 15. 

Source: AutoBlog.com

1954 Glöckler-Porsche 356 takes fringe Porsche history to Monterey

Porsche’s factory team took its first international win at the 1951 24 Hours of Le Mans with a 356 Gmund SL Coupe, but privateers throughout the 1950s contributed the majority of wins and podiums. One such garagiste was Walter Glöckler, a Volkswagen and Porsche dealer as well as motorcycle and car racer in Frankfurt. With engineer Hermann Ramelow, Glöckler built seven custom racers, six of them using VW and Porsche parts hung off the pair’s homemade tubular chassis. After the duo caught Porsche’s attention, their sixth car, the 1953 Glöckler-Porsche 1500 Super, became a development chassis for the eventual Porsche 550. Their seventh and final car is this, the 1954 Glöckler-Porsche 356, created to race the 1954 Mille Miglia. It’s headed for RM Sotheby’s auction block during Monterey Car Week.  

Based on a 1954 356 Pre-A chassis sourced from Porsche, Glöckler and Ramelow put an early iteration of the recently developed Fuhrmann flat-four boxer in back. This was the same engine developed for motorsports in the 550 Spyder, and Glöckler had a personal connection to it: Two 550s took the top two spots in their class at the 1953 24 Hours of Le Mans, one of them driven by Glöckler’s cousin Helmut Glöckler. A four-speed manual transferred power to the rear wheels.

It’s not clear why the designers fitted a coupe body. Hardcore factory racers of the time were almost all spyders, but Porsche privateers were still campaigning the Porsche 356 coupe. The roof wasn’t the only unusual choice: There’s the upright profile with sweeping, scalloped front fenders and tailfins; the novel door cutout that extends into the roof; the third, low-mounted headlight; and the split, wraparound rear window for keeping an eye on competition pulling up behind. Even more intriguing, the same man who penned the 550 bodywork, C. H. Wiedenhausen, designed this aluminum sheetmetal.

The builders couldn’t finish the coupe in time for the intended race, so they took it to the 1954 Liège–Rome–Liège road rally instead. An oil issue demoted them to limping over the line out of the placings.

The coupe moved to the U.S. later in 1954. By the 1970s, it was sitting in a Hollywood junkyard in pieces. A German Lufthansa employee found it, bought the parts, and hauled them all back to Germany in 1993. A German collector picked up the pieces in 2005 and had them restored to concours quality. Save for a new aluminum front panel and an engine swapped from a later Porsche 550, this Glöckler coupe is exactly as its namesake built it.

It’s reported to have been put up for sale in 2014 through a Munich dealer, the current owner buying it in 2016. RM Sotheby’s has set a pre-sale estimate of $750,000 to $1 million.

Porsche motorsports traditionalists put off by such fringe offerings will find plenty more from Stuttgart that’s right down the middle. There’s a 1955 Porsche 550 Spyder raced in the U.S. for three years, a 1970 Porsche 914/6 GT that came sixth in the 1970 24 Hours of Le Mans, and one of the racers that compelled the return of the Whale Tail in 2018, the 1977 Porsche 953 K5. In the Monster Racing Legends section, there’s a Holy Grail 1968 Porsche 911 R, one of young engineer Ferdinand Piech’s first production-based projects, plus a 1983 Porsche 956 Group C car that competed twice at Le Mans and that won the 1983 Brands Hatch 1000 Kilometers, as well as a Dyson Racing 1986 Porsche 962 campaigned in IMSA all over the U.S.  

And then there’s the grandaddy, a 1970 Porsche 917K from the John Wyler Automotive Engineering works team, replete in Gulf colors. It ran Le Mans in 1970 but wasn’t the winning 917K. Victory in a fictional Le Mans would come a year later, though, since this was the chassis used as the victory car in Steve McQueen’s 1971 movie Le Mans. With a pre-sale estimate of $16 million to $18.5 million, the 917K by itself represents two-thirds of the combined pre-sale estimate for all 25 Porsches RM Sotheby’s plans to auction in Monterey. Happy bidding. 

Source: AutoBlog.com

Aston Martin Would Be Dead Without The DBX

Recently self-minted Aston Martin executive chairman Lawrence Stroll is aiming for about 6,000 vehicles for total sales this year. Thanks to the DBX and a continually hot luxury vehicle market, that’s looking increasingly possible.”We’ve delivered everything that we promised that we would deliver in the first half,” CEO Tobias Moers told Bloomberg. “The business has stabilized and now it’s about the growth story and delivering the products that we promised as well.” More DBX derivatives are on the way, including a coupe and a plug-in hybrid. The company’s profile will continue to rise once it begins deliveries of the Valkyrie hypercar before the end of the year.
Source: carbuzz.com

Perez: “No reason” to look outside Red Bull for F1 future

The Mexican was drafted in to replace Alex Albon for 2021 on initially a one-year deal, after former team Aston Martin triggered a break clause in his contract to sign Sebastian Vettel. An inherited maiden victory in Baku, coming after team-mate Max Verstappen’s tyre failure and Lewis Hamilton’s brake bias mistake, has helped Perez to fifth in the drivers’ standings. Speaking ahead of the Hungarian Grand Prix this weekend, which precedes a four-week summer break prior to the Belgian Grand Prix, Perez reckoned he was in good stead to retain his seat. He added that he would have a clearer understanding on his future at Red Bull come the race at Spa on 29 August, and before then has “no reason” to begin talks with other teams. Perez said: “Obviously, the sooner you know your future the better. But I’m in a very comfortable position within the team, within my future. “[There is] nothing to worry about. I think by Belgium, I will know my future. “I’m comfortable with how things are and [there’s] no reason to look elsewhere.” Perez stated that he enters the Hungary weekend “pretty high” following a “total disaster” at Silverstone after he spun off in the sprint race and then finished 16th in the grand prix after a late pitstop that allowed him to deny Hamilton the fastest lap. Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing RB16B, Kimi Raikkonen, Alfa Romeo Racing C41 Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images But Perez reckoned the British round marked his “poorest weekend” at the halfway stage of the season and had otherwise “brought a lot” to the team. PLUS: Why pragmatic Perez isn’t fazed by no-nonsense Red Bull F1 culture He added that with “very small” gains, his season could be “transformed” after what he considered to be a lack of points and a lower position in the drivers’ standings than anticipated. Asked for a half-term report, Perez said: “The overall picture, I would have liked to be bigger in points, wins, in podiums. “But generally speaking, I think I’ve brought a lot with the team. “[It] was a target in the first couple of races to get to know each other and the car. “Overall, results have been not great in one way. But in the other, the pace is better than it looks. “It’s very small margins here and there. If we are able to find them, all of a sudden, our season can be transformed. In that perspective, it’s really good. “We are [seven] points away from third [Lando Norris] in the [drivers’] championship, we are leading the constructors’. “There are some positives to take. But it’s only 10 races into the season. I think the next 10 are more important.” shares comments
Source: AutoSport.com

The challenge of regaining career momentum after a year on the sidelines

It’s been an interesting time. Winning the 2019 Aston Martin Autosport BRDC Young Driver of the Year Award was quite high profile, with a lot of teams contacting me, and then I was offered a free drive in the 2020 Porsche Carrera Cup Asia, which I was looking forward to. We were looking to do a dual programme with GTs and single-seaters, so we’d have plenty of options available and then concentrate on whichever one we wanted to go into. I did one round of the Porsche Sprint Challenge in Malaysia and was getting ready for round one of the Carrera Cup Asia and then the pandemic hit. I wasn’t able to travel, and everyone was in lockdown. After winning the Award, racing at the Daytona 24 Hours, and being ready for the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia, I was building on everything, and my name was coming up quite a lot. Teams were getting in contact, it was helpful with finding sponsorship, and then it all kind of came crashing down. I wasn’t being forgotten about, but it was getting quite late on in the year and I was ready to do the Carrera Cup Asia season, but it never got going, so I was doing some testing, including in the FIA Formula 3 Championship, and then had my Red Bull Racing F1 test in October. It was disappointing and very frustrating to go from everything going really well to then stopping and not being able to do the sort of driving that I was planning. The Red Bull Racing F1 test for winning the Award was really nice to enjoy. It kind of got my name out there again and showed I’m still here. I really enjoyed it. It was a fair bit of track time – I had the whole day just to go out whenever I wanted. We waited for the track to dry up in the morning, and then did all of our running in the afternoon. PLUS: How an Aston Martin Autosport BRDC Award winner starred on his F1 debut  There was no pressure, it was just a case of enjoying the day. I wanted to do as well as I could because it’s not every day you get to drive an F1 car. Hopefully it shows that, even though I’ve had a bit of time out, I’m still on the pace. Johnathan Hoggard, Red Bull Racing RB8 Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images I did half a day on the simulator beforehand, just to get used to everything. But I felt very relaxed. I wasn’t thinking, ‘I’m driving a Formula 1 car; this is quite stressful’. There were no complaints from the team. It was just like a normal test day, to be honest, they all thought I did a good job, or they said so! It was a great day to enjoy and any day you get in a car is good. To drive a faster car with more downforce helps when you drive something slower, as you’re more precise because you can think a lot quicker. Everything slows down a bit more because, when you’re thinking as fast as an F1 car goes, you naturally are able to cope with it a bit better. We were struggling to get the budget together for this season. We looked across the whole of motorsport to see what we could do but unfortunately never made the progress we wanted to. Then a really good opportunity came up in FIA F3 when I got the call from Jenzer Motorsport and my sponsor, Travel Planet, which came together really quickly, even though I missed round one in Barcelona. I had experience from the post-season tests at Barcelona and Jerez in 2020, so it was a case of trying to remember that and build on it as best I could in the limited time I had. It was only one or two weeks from knowing I was doing Paul Ricard to actually being at the circuit! It was tough, especially not knowing the track and only having 45 minutes of practice and going straight to qualifying. Now I’m trying to build on each round as I go, taking it as it comes, trying to make the best of this opportunity. Looking to the end of the season, I think we can be in the mix. I need to sort out qualifying, because that’s been the weak point for the past two rounds. The racing has been fairly good, especially at the Red Bull Ring, where I managed to get 10th place in race two. If I manage to qualify a lot higher, then the goal of being in the points-paying positions isn’t too far away. I can make up places and, if any drama kicks off, I’ll be in the right place to capitalise on it. It was good to make progress from Paul Ricard to the Red Bull Ring. And now hopefully I can make progress again, heading to Budapest this weekend. The Hungaroring is a tricky circuit and I’ve never been there before. It will be tough and there’s plenty of work to be done to be able to perform better, but it should be an enjoyable experience. Johnathan Hoggard, Jenzer Motorsport Photo by: Drew Gibson / Motorsport Images shares comments
Source: AutoSport.com

‘Vapor ware’ and a power cord: Nuggets from Nikola founder indictment

Nikola founder Trevor Milton leaves a federal courthouse in New York Thursday. (AP)

Nikola Corp. founder Trevor Milton is in federal custody Thursday, charged with misleading investors about the state of the company, which he left in September.

“Trevor Milton is innocent,” his lawyers said in a statement. “This is a new low in the government’s efforts to criminalize lawful business conduct. Every executive in America should be horrified.”

Here are some excerpts from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s 66-page complaint against him, as well as the criminal indictment:

Share price

Milton was “intensely focused” on the company’s stock price, calling and texting senior executives to “do something” on days when the shares were falling, the SEC complaint says. He also “tracked the daily number of new Robinhood users who held Nikola stock.”

Fountain surprise

Milton used his social media presence and appearances in interviews to announce new initiatives and changes, before informing the company, the SEC said.

“On June 25, 2020, Milton sent a series of tweets from his personal account in which he claimed that Nikola would offer a drinking fountain in the Badger (truck). This information came as a complete surprise to Nikola’s designers, engineers, and marketing personnel. When informed of the tweets, one engineer questioned whether ‘this [is] a joke,’ a marketing employee wrote that his ‘head is fuzzy,’ and a designer texted, ‘Uhhhhh what.’”

Social media

Nikola executives repeatedly tried to rein in Milton’s social media, the SEC said. At one point the president asked Milton to let the company’s chief legal officer pre-screen his tweets — an effort akin to what Tesla was ordered to do with Elon Musk after the SEC sued him over his tweets.

“Senior Nikola executives attempted other tactics in the spring and summer of 2020 to try to rein in Milton’s social media presence, to no avail.”

They scheduled media training for executives at the company, but Milton did not attend. Instead, Milton’s response was to assert “that these senior executives did not understand current capital market dynamics or what he was trying to accomplish with retail investors, and that he needed to be on social media to put out good news about Nikola to support its stock price.”

At a press conference Thursday, Gurbir Grewal, the SEC’s head of enforcement, highlighted the obligations of corporate officers to provide complete and accurate information about their companies.

“There is no end-around or exceptions to this obligation,” Grewal said. “Corporate officers cannot say whatever they want on social media in violation of federal securities laws.”

Personal sales pitch

“Milton was personally involved in soliciting reservations from several potential customers,” the SEC said. “He communicated to potential customers that the reservations were cancelable for any reason at any time. For example, on May 9, 2016, as part of his efforts to secure the largest reservation Nikola had received to-date, Milton wrote to a potential customer, ‘[y]ou have full ability to cancel at any time before the options, color and major deposit is made. . …’

“Another time, Milton cited the non-binding nature of the reservations in an attempt to convince a potential customer to double the amount of reservations.”

“Milton wrote to this party, ‘[y]ou had asked for 50 trucks that would have been $500 for each deposit. What I did since it is fully refundable at any time, is put you down for 100 at $250. You can cancel at anytime any of those.’”

‘Vapor ware’

When Milton touted the Badger pickup as being “built,” “done,” “real,” and a “fully functioning vehicle inside and outside,” Nikola’s vice president of technology referred to the Badger in an internal email as “vapor ware” with “no technical plan,” according to the SEC.

The unveiling

According to the SEC, a Nikola engineer said in December 2016 that the truck they were working on was “not even remotely ready to operate.” One of the reasons why: “all electrical components were powered through a cord running from an external power source, rather than the truck’s battery.”

In the criminal complaint, prosecutors said, contrary to Milton’s claims, “Nikola had not successfully reached the milestone of creating a fully functioning prototype at the Nikola One launch event on December 1, 2016. In fact, the Nikola One prototype was not completed, let along tested and validated, by the time of the unveiling event.”

For example, “the prototype was wholly missing significant parts, including gears and motors, and the control system (i.e., the system that communicates the driver’s directions to the vehicle) was incomplete. The infotainment system in the cab was also incomplete. Instead, for the purpose of an unveiling event, tablet computers or other computer screens were mounted into the areas where screens for the infotainment would be, and the screens were set to display images created to have the appearance of infotainment screens, with speedometers, maps, and other information displayed.”

“Further, the truck was towed onto the stage at night prior to the event, and the screens and lights were powered by an external battery and power cord running under the truck to the wall, which had to be manually disconnected as the stage spun.”

“Similarly, an air line had to be connected to the vehicle to keep the truck’s air suspension and air brakes working, because there was a slow leak in the truck’s air supply. Nikola personnel operated the truck’s headlines at the event by remote control.”

Source: AutoBlog.com

Biden seeks automakers’ pledge for 40% of sales to be electric by 2030

President Joe Biden drives the Ford F-150 Lightning electric pickup. (Reuters)

WASHINGTON — The White House is negotiating to have automakers pledge that 40% or more of the vehicles they sell in the U.S. will be electric by the end of the decade, something the companies say will require the government to help promote the use of the cars.

UAW spokesman Brian Rothenberg said the union is in discussions with the White House and automakers about a sales target, but he said an agreement has not been reached.

A second person familiar with the negotiations also confirmed the talks on an EV sales target are happening but said there’s no agreement and the talks are still at an early stage. A pledge on new car sales will be significant because while some U.S. automakers have promised to convert their model lineups to electric vehicles, they haven’t made any promises on volumes.

Automakers are looking for support from the government in meeting those goals, such as subsidies or funding for charging infrastructure like that contained in a bill working its way through the Senate now.

Representatives for the White House and automaker Stellantis declined to comment. GM, in a statement, said, “We do not have an agreement to comment on at this time.” The talks were previously reported by the Washington Post.

“Ford has already said that we are leading the electrification revolution and planning on at least 40% of our global vehicle volume being all-electric by 2030,” Melissa Miller, a Ford Motor Co. spokeswoman, said in an emailed statement. CEO “Jim Farley said Wednesday that customer reaction to EVs so far is exceeding our expectations, and we’re going to stay ahead of customer demand.”

An agreement with automakers could help build support for a $550 billion, bipartisan infrastructure deal that passed a procedural hurdle in the Senate this week. The bill would dole out $7.5 billion to help build a nationwide network of EV chargers, an amount that would nearly double all prior public investment by utilities, states and the federal government in those critical charge points.

The White House has not said how many charging stations the money will pay for, but it said the funding represents the “first-ever national investment in EV charging infrastructure in the United States.”

But it’s still just a fraction of the $87 billion analysts and environmentalists say is needed this decade to swiftly electrify the nation’s cars and trucks that will require reliable access to electrons.

“In context, it’s a big investment, but relative to the amount that’s needed to really set us up for 100% electrification, it’s a down payment,” said Nick Nigro, founder of Atlas Public Policy, a research firm that analyzes the EV market.

Ryan Gallentine, a policy director with Advanced Energy Economy, a group that supports greater electrification, called the Senate spending measure “a good start” that will buttress automakers’ EV plans.

In many places, getting charging stations installed will require upgrades in power transmission and other systems to support them, Gallentine said.

“There’s a lot of factors that play into the number of actual chargers we get,” Gallentine said. “States are going to have to look at the amount of money they are going to get out of this package and decide how they will want to spend it.”

Key step toward climate goals

A rapid rollout of EV charging stations is seen as critical to building consumer support for the cars and meeting President Joe Biden’s goal of halving U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by the end of the decade.

Automakers are also lobbying for an expansion of the electric vehicle tax credit, currently valued at as much as $7,500. Tesla Inc. and GM have already passed a 200,000-per-manufacturer ceiling at which the value of those credits phases down.

With EV sales hitting monthly records and analysts predicting those plug-in cars will reach nearly 70% of the passenger vehicle market by 2040, more charging infrastructure is urgently needed, Nigro, with the Atlas Policy Group, said.

“We have a growing need for more and more infrastructure to accommodate that demand,” he said. “And if we’re actually going to approach the level of EV market share that many states are now setting as goals, we need an order of magnitude more infrastructure.”

In March Biden asked Congress to dedicate $174 billion to electric vehicle investments — including by installing a network of half a million chargers nationwide. As lawmakers debated the details of that spending, the administration pressed for $15 billion, while some senators pushed for $2.5 billion.

$7.5 billion for charging stations

At $7.5 billion, the EV charging spending in the infrastructure deal developed by a bipartisan working group of senators reflects a middle ground.

Although legislative language was not immediately available Thursday, Bracewell LLP Principal Liam Donovan said the measure is likely to be modeled after provisions of a surface transportation bill approved by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee earlier this year.

That bill would set up a grant program for alternative fuel corridors and community grants, with the aim of strategically deploying EV chargers and other infrastructure for public use. States, local governments, Indian tribes and other entities could seek the grants, and recipients could use the money to contract with private companies to install the systems and pay for the first five years of operations.

The planned program dwarfs the $1.25 billion the state and federal government have invested in electric vehicle charging to date, including some $400 million from the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, according to Atlas figures. It also eclipses the $2.7 billion in approved electric vehicle charging investments by utilities tracked by Atlas.

Source: AutoBlog.com