WASHINGTON - A new Senate bill, introduced on May 27, would provide grants to assist cities in building the infrastructure to support broad electric vehicle use. The bill also seeks to create new tax credits for EV buyers. 

The Electric Vehicle Deployment Act of 2010 was introduced by senators Byron Dorgan (D-ND), Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Jeff Merkley (D-OR). 

The Senate bill would permit up to 15 municipalities and cities to apply to the Department of Energy for grants of up to $250 million to build infrastructure such as public recharging stations, the Associated Press reported. 

The bill would create "deployment communities" across the country, where targeted incentive programs for electric vehicles and charging infrastructure systems would help demonstrate rapid market penetration and determine what "best practices" would be helpful for nationwide deployment of electric vehicles, sponsors of the legislation said.

EV buyers in those areas could take a new $2,500 credit in addition to already existing credits. 

The Senate bill also proposes $1.5 billion for research, with the goal of developing more advanced battery technology to bolster the driving range produced by a single charge. 

"I have always believed in pursuing new and innovative ways to provide for our country's energy needs, especially as we work to reduce our reliance on imported oil," Dorgan said. "It is essential to be forward-thinking in our energy policy, which is why I am introducing this legislation to help the country transition to an electric vehicle fleet." 

A House version of the bill was introduced on May 25 by Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Judy Biggert (R-IL), Jerry McNerney (D-CA) and Anna Eshoo (D-CA). The House version would give the Department of Energy $800 million to competitively award to five different deployment communities in an effort to deploy 700,00 EVs in those communities within six years. The first 100,000 EV buyers in those communities would qualify for at least $2,000 in additional consumer incentives.