The House passed legislation last week authorizing $2.85 billion for the development of electric and hybrid technologies that can be used to create alternative-energy vehicles.
The bill authorizes at least $550 million in annual spending, beginning in fiscal 2010, with increases of $10 million a year through 2014. Most of that spending will be directed to passenger car research, but some will go toward funding efforts to develop heavy-duty vehicles.
The bill requires the federal government to create a research program for advanced technology for medium- and heavy-duty trucks, including the appointment of a full-time director to oversee federal research.
A number of industry groups, including American Trucking Associations, support the bill.
Opponents of the bill said they were worried about the cost.
In addition to the heavy-duty vehicle provisions, the bill orders DOE to conduct research in the area of battery and storage devices, hybrid technology, electrification and hydrogen fuel cells, as well as vehicle communication systems and infrastructure.