SANTA ROSA, CA – U.S. electric vehicle developers such as Santa Rosa, Calif.-based ZAP are urging the passage of a new bill that would increase tax credits for more electric vehicles.

The new legislation, S271, would boost the number of plug-in vehicles able to receive the tax credits from 250,000 to 500,000. The tax credits would expand beyond conventional four-wheel automobiles to include three-wheel and two-wheel vehicles, as well as low-speed neighborhood electric cars. Electric vehicles such as ZAP's Alias and others would receive a tax credit equal to a percentage of the purchase price up to $4,000.

Called the FREEDOM Act of 2009, bill S271, would revise the 1986 Internal Revenue Code providing tax credits for the manufacture, conversion, and acquisition of plug-in electric vehicles. Based on legislation authored by Senate Finance Committee members Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT), along with former Senator Barack Obama (D-IL), the law introduced in 2007 provided up to $7,500 for consumers buying new plug-in electric vehicles. This bill was enacted into law last October as part of the Energy Bill of 2007.

ZAP Founder Gary Starr recently provided input in Washington for these incentives, saying that more tax credits would jump-start the electric vehicle industry, create more jobs, and lessen dependence on foreign oil. Starr has been an advocate for electric vehicles since the 1970s, and has assisted in creating electric vehicle legislation on the federal, state, and local level for more than 20 years.

"Back in the 1970s, Jimmy Carter said America's reliance on imported oil was the moral equivalent of war; and later he went on to help create the U.S. Department of Energy," said Starr. "This idea has lost its way over the years because back then 30 percent of our oil was imported; today more than 60 percent is imported and rising. With President Obama's support and the support of Congress, we can renew this commitment."

Starr added: "Many smaller automakers are making plug-in transportation today and these tax incentives would allow Americans to jump-start the adoption of electrics immediately. The Small Business Administration says up to 80 percent of new jobs in America are created by small business and 90 percent of all innovation is created by entrepreneurs. It is critical that Congress supports more automotive innovation in the U.S. and we ask Americans to urge their Federal representative to move quickly to pass this legislation and make it go into effect immediately."