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Originally published on the NRDC Expert Blog.

The Biden administration’s 2022 budget released on Friday includes major funding increases for important Department of Energy (DOE) programs to drive clean energy innovation, address the climate crisis, and build a strong and equitable economy. These funding increases complement the investments proposed in the President’s American Jobs Plan (AJP). Now it’s up to Congress to pass AJP and write a government funding bill that reflects the President’s proposals.

Below are five components of the budget that would accelerate clean energy innovation and redirect DOE programs toward our greatest challenges and opportunities.

1. Historic Funding Increases for Clean Energy

The budget includes $4.7 billion in regular-year funding for DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), a $2 billion (or 65%) increase from 2021. EERE houses the agency’s efforts focused on heavy industry, building decarbonization, clean transportation technologies, and renewable power. These programs are underfunded relative to the need for investment and the opportunity to build out domestic clean energy industries. The administration’s budget would give these programs a much-needed funding boost.

The budget also ramps up funding for other clean energy programs at DOE and establishes a new Advanced Research Projects Agency — Climate with initial funding of $500 million, of which $200 million is at DOE.

2. Demonstrations & Deployment to Round Out the Innovation Portfolio

The budget emphasizes funding for demonstration projects and deployment of climate solutions, a welcome pivot from the Trump DOE’s narrow focus on early-stage research and development. The new Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations, funded at $400 million, fills a critical gap in DOE’s efforts to commercialize newer, better clean energy technologies, reduce costs, and address barriers to widespread deployment. The $300 million for Build Back Better Challenge grants will help bring the benefits of clean energy to more communities. And the focus throughout the budget on research, development, demonstrations, and deployment will better equip DOE to accelerate clean energy innovation at the scale necessary.

3. Bringing Clean Energy to More Communities

DOE should play a critical role ensuring that more communities see the benefits of technologies like renewable energy, energy efficiency, and electric vehicles. Strong community engagement practices and funding for clean energy projects to benefit low-income, pollution-burdened, and energy transition communities and communities of color can help DOE meet these goals.

The budget includes several new programs to bring clean energy to more communities. For example, it proposes to prioritize the new Build Back Better Challenge grants for marginalized, overburdened, and energy transition communities. It also appears to expand the Weatherization Assistance Program — one of the only existing efforts focused on low-income communities — to enable more households to access funding for cost- and energy-saving retrofits, though the details on the expanded program are not yet clear.

The budget also indicates that EERE’s goal is to accelerate a just, equitable clean energy transition. This explicit focus, while just a start, is an important shift. Historically, EERE and most other offices at DOE have not been designed to support equity and environmental and energy justice.

4. Procurement and Funding to Decarbonize Heavy Industry

Technologies to clean up industrial facilities like steel mills and cement plants are critical to addressing the climate crisis. But these sectors have long been a major gap in DOE innovation efforts. The budget acknowledges that decarbonizing heavy industry should be a focus for both EERE and the Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management. This focus is a great first step toward building out a strong federal industrial sector program. As Congress turns the President’s proposals into a detailed appropriations bill, we hope to see large funding increases for the Advanced Manufacturing Office, funding for large-scale demonstrations at industrial facilities, and support for DOE to expand its heavy industry efforts to include electrification, hydrogen, circular economy measures, novel processes, and carbon capture and storage.

The budget also includes more details on the industrial-sector decarbonization efforts proposed in the American Jobs Plan, including, notably, funding to procure low-carbon materials. The federal government is a top purchaser of industrial products like steel and cement for the construction of roads, bridges, buildings and other projects. Government procurement is thus a critical lever in creating early markets and sustained demand for cleaner materials, alongside direct investments to help ensure U.S. industry is making the cleanest products on the market.

To better leverage procurement to drive innovation, the federal government should support efforts to create a reporting system that helps manufacturers account for all the carbon associated with producing a range of industrial products, and require that all construction projects receiving federal funds take climate pollution and labor protection into account when awarding contracts. We urge Congress to include funding in the FY22 budget for the federal government to support these priorities. Doing so will ensure we capture the significant emissions reduction opportunities associated with switching to lower-carbon materials in projects funded by the American Jobs Plan.

5. Support for State, Local, and Tribal Governments

Action from states and municipal governments is critical to meeting our climate goals; increasing clean energy; and driving adoption of innovative technologies, policies, and business models. Federal funding is necessary to support states and cities in these endeavors, but current programs lack the budget to meaningfully support them.

The budget proposes several new programs to support states and cities, including Build Back Better Challenge grants for states and a new Local Government Energy Program. The success of these programs will depend on the details, but it is promising to see new efforts to support states and cities in the budget. Moreover, these programs build on the block grant funding proposed in the American Jobs Plan to provide an influx of support for states to advance clean energy, building electrification, and efficiency.

The budget also includes funding increases to support tribal nations to advance clean energy. Households on tribal lands lack access to electricity at extremely high rates and often face high costs to connect to the electricity grid. The budget proposes a six-fold increase in funding for the Office of Indian Energy (a $100 million increase) to support American Indian and Alaskan Native nations, including to help address energy access and energy poverty.

Federal clean energy programs have already helped foster a revolution in technologies like solar panels, wind turbines, and electric vehicle batteries. Now, we have an opportunity to accelerate clean energy innovation to improve, demonstrate, and deploy the technologies and strategies we need to combat the climate crisis. With the right funding and policies, we can do so in a way that creates strong economic growth rooted in the industries of the future, addresses inequalities in our energy and economic systems, and cuts pollution in places that have borne the brunt of it in the past. President Biden’s energy budget is a major step toward realizing these goals, and Congress should pass a government funding bill that incorporates these proposals and brings the benefits of clean energy to communities across the country.


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Wheel-E Podcast: Micromobility Europe 2024, 80 MPH army e-bike, more

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Wheel-E Podcast: Micromobility Europe 2024, 80 MPH army e-bike, more

This week on Electrek’s Wheel-E podcast, we discuss the most popular news stories from the world of electric bikes and other nontraditional electric vehicles. This time, that includes all the cool stuff we saw at Micromobility Europe 2024, new low-cost Lectric XP Lite 2.0, an 80 MPH military e-bike, how Paris cleaned its air by kicking out cars, and more.

The Wheel-E podcast returns every two weeks on Electrek’s YouTube channel, Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter.

As a reminder, we’ll have an accompanying post, like this one, on the site with an embedded link to the live stream. Head to the YouTube channel to get your questions and comments in.

After the show ends, the video will be archived on YouTube and the audio on all your favorite podcast apps:

We also have a Patreon if you want to help us to avoid more ads and invest more in our content. We have some awesome gifts for our Patreons and more coming.

Here are a few of the articles that we will discuss during the Wheel-E podcast today:

Here’s the live stream for today’s episode starting at 12:00 p.m. ET (or the video after 1:00 p.m. ET):

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BYD cuts prices on its best-selling Atto 3 electric SUV in Australia to rival Tesla

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BYD cuts prices on its best-selling Atto 3 electric SUV in Australia to rival Tesla

A new price war is fueling EV sales in Australia as the competition heats up to gain overseas market share. BYD launched its new Atto 3 electric SUV in Australia with several updates, including lower prices, as it looks to chip away at Tesla’s lead.

Chasing Tesla’s lead

Last month, electric vehicle sales in Australia were boosted by price cuts from leaders like Tesla and BYD.

According to the latest data from the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI), 8,974 fully electric vehicles were sold in Australia last month. That number is up from the 6,194 EVs sold in April 2024 and 8,124 handed over last May.

The growth was enough for EVs to capture 8.1% of all vehicles sold in Australia last month, up from 7.7% in May 2023.

Tesla still leads with Model 3 sales reaching 1,958, surpassing its best-selling Model Y (1,609). Tesla has now sold 8,823 Model 3s and 9,610 Model Ys in Australia year-to-date.

Although Tesla has maintained a market share of over 60%, BYD is chipping away at its lead.

With 3,567 EVs sold in May, Tesla held a 40% share. BYD’s new Seal was the third best-selling EV last month, with 1,002 units sold, while the Atto 3 was fourth with 737. The growth bumped up BYD’s market share to 18%.

BYD-prices-Australia
BYD SEAL (Source: BYD)

BYD launches new Atto 3 with lower prices in Australia

The Atto 3 is still BYD’s best-selling EV in 2024, with 3,366 models sold, while the Seal is a close second at 3,306.

BYD believes 2024 will be a pivotal year as it rolls out new models and aims to take leadership in Australia’s EV market.

Following the new Seal, BYD launched a “major upgrade” for the Atto 3 Friday. BYD’s new Atto 3 features a 15.6″ screen (up from 12.8″). In addition to new features like added camping mode and karaoke, the new Atto 3 features lower prices.

The standard range Atto 3 now starts at AUD 44,449, while the Extended Range costs AUD 47,449 (before on-road costs). BYD’s new Atto 3 prices are down AUD 3,562 and the cheapest they have been so far, according to Australia’s Drive.

Powered by a 50 kWh battery and 150 kW electric motor, the new standard Atto 3 features up to 214 miles (345 km) WLTP range. The Long-Range model, with a 60 kWh battery, can travel up to 261 miles (420 km).

BYD Atto 3 vs Tesla Model Y Price
(AUD)
Range
(WLTP)
BYD Atto 3 Standard Range $44,449 214 miles (345 km)
BYD Atto 3 Long Range $47,449 261 miles (420 km)
Tesla Model Y RWD $55,900 283 miles (455 km)
Tesla Model Y AWD Long Range $69,900 331 miles (533 km)
Tesla Model Y AWD Performance $82,900 319 miles (514 km)
BYD Atto 3 vs Tesla Model Y prices and range in Australia

Meanwhile, Tesla’s RWD Model Y starts at AUD 55,900, with up to 283 miles (455 km) WLTP range. The Long-Range AWD model starts at AUD 69,900 with up to 331 miles (533 km) WLTP range.

Which one are you buying? The new BYD Atto 3? Or the Tesla Model Y? Let us know in the comments below.

Source: Drive, BYD

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Tesla produces 1,300 Cybertrucks per week, moving from Foundations Series next quarter

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Tesla produces 1,300 Cybertrucks per week, moving from Foundations Series next quarter

Tesla confirmed that it managed to produce 1,300 Cybertrucks in a week and it is moving from its Foundations Series production run next quarter.

We haven’t had a lot of updates from Tesla about the Cybertruck production ramp.

Actually, the best one we got was from a recall, which confirmed that Tesla had produced just short of 4,000 Cybertrucks as of April.

Shortly after, Tesla confirmed that it achieved a production of 1,000 Cybertruck in a week in April.

We haven’t seen an update since, but we noted that Tesla seemed to be ramping up production based on sightings at Gigafactory Texas.

Yesterday, at Tesla’s annual shareholder meeting, Tesla released a bit more information about the Cybertruck production ramp:

  • Elon Musk said Tesla recently produced a peak of 1,300 Cybertrucks in a week
  • Elon Musk said Tesla would move away from production Foundation Series Cybertrucks in Q3
  • Tesla said it aims to be at 2,500 Cybertrucks per week by the end of the year

This would currently put Tesla at a capacity of 65,000 Cybertrucks per year and looking to exist the year with an annual capacity of 125,000 units.

Tesla has previously stated that it aims to have a full capacity of 250,000 Cybertrucks, but it plans to achieve that next year.

Moving away from the Foundation Series would presumably mean that Tesla is going to stop bundling all options together for the Dual Motor and Cyberbeast. The automaker might also release new trims – though those weren’t expected until next year.

Electrek’s Take

The Foundation Series bundles push the Cybertruck price to $100,000. Despite the hype around the Cybertruck, there’s a limited market for trucks at over $100,000.

Moving away from the Foundation Series bundles should reduce the price a bit as the dual motor is actually supposed to start at $80,000.

It will also give us more clarity into the option pricing.

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