WASHINGTON, D.C. – Bipartisan legislation authored by U.S. Senators Gary Peters (D-MI), Mitt Romney (R-UT), Richard Burr (R-NC), and Bill Hagerty (R-TN) to ensure government agencies are properly using and recycling batteries from the federal fleet of electric vehicles (EVs) has advanced in the Senate. Properly recycling EV batteries can help recover valuable minerals like cobalt that are essential to the production of these batteries, but are often sourced from entities with ties to foreign adversaries like the Chinese government. Additionally, batteries that are no longer efficient enough for vehicles can still be used to store energy for other uses. The senators’ legislation will help the federal government provide American manufacturers with a domestic supply of reusable EV batteries and the rare metals needed to make them, while reducing our nation’s dependence on foreign suppliers for these limited, but critical resources. The Strategic EV Management Act would also create agency guidance to maximize battery longevity when operating electric vehicles – which are more cost-effective and energy-efficient in the long run. The bill was approved by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, where Peters serves as Chair. The legislation is also cosponsored by U.S. Senators James Lankford (R-OK), Jon Ossoff (D-GA) and Tom Carper (D-DE).
“Properly utilizing and recycling federal electric vehicle batteries can help strengthen our supply chains and bolster our energy independence,” said Senator Peters. “This commonsense bipartisan bill will ensure that, as the federal government continues to adopt more electric vehicles that are the future of the American automotive industry, their batteries are properly disposed of so we can improve our competitiveness, save taxpayer dollars and make our government more energy-efficient for years to come.”
“As the federal government's electric vehicle fleet continues to grow, it must also ensure it has a coordinated strategy for optimal battery longevity. This common-sense legislation will ensure agencies are doing just that, as well as publishing guidelines for the reuse and recycling of retired vehicle batteries,” said Senator Romney. “The federal government should lead by example, and the more cost-efficient we are in this space, the less dependent we will be on foreign suppliers.”’
“As more and more electrical vehicles hit the road, it’s critical that the federal government has a comprehensive strategy to not only manage its own electric fleet, but also be a responsible steward of taxpayer dollars,” said Senator Burr. “This legislation will do just that by promoting optimal charging practices to maximize battery longevity, decreasing reliance on foreign supply chains, and supporting American innovation. I’m proud to work with my colleagues on this bipartisan bill.”
“As the federal government continues to acquire electric vehicles, it is paramount that our agencies are equipped to optimize the management of the growing fleet,” said Senator Hagerty. “This bipartisan legislation, which I am pleased to see advance out of committee, will ensure agency leadership can successfully reap the full economic benefits of EV investments, properly manage taxpayer assets, and do so in a manner that lessens our dependence on Communist China.”
The Strategic EV Management Act would require the General Services Administration (GSA) and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to coordinate with the heads of agencies to develop a comprehensive strategic plan for management of batteries in the federal EV fleet. The plan will include guidance, written with input from experts at the Department of Energy, on how federal agencies can appropriately reuse and recycle retired vehicle batteries. The legislation requires the guidance to include best practices to maximize the battery longevity for federal EV vehicles. Finally, three years after bill enactment, OMB and GSA would be required to submit a report to and brief Congress on the implementation of the strategic plan.
According to the GSA, the number of EVs in the federal vehicle fleet has substantially increased in recent years. While the batteries from these EVs may not be efficient enough for vehicles after ten years or more years of use – they can still be recycled or reused for other purposes. Additionally, the recycling process for EV batteries can recover 95 percent of the critical minerals and metals that are needed to manufacture them. As the federal EV fleet continues to grow, this bipartisan legislation will help formulate a strategy for reusing and recycling old batteries from the federal vehicle fleet to maximize the full potential of their economic, environmental and strategic benefits.
The legislation is supported by the American Automotive Policy Council, Alliance for Automotive Innovation, Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association, Ford Motor Company, General Motors, Stellantis, National Resources Defense Council, and the Michigan Environmental Council.
Below are statements in support of the senators’ bipartisan bill:
“American Automakers Ford Motor Company, General Motors, and Stellantis appreciate Chairman Gary Peters’ leadership joining with Senators Romney, Burr, and Hagerty in a bipartisan effort to develop a robust plan for EVs in the federal fleet,” said Governor Matt Blunt, President of the American Automotive Policy Council. “The auto manufacturers look forward to serving as a partner in this initiative.”
“Auto Innovators thanks Senators Peters, Romney, Burr, and Hagerty for their leadership on the Strategic EV Management Act. Maximizing electrification opportunities in the public sector, such as the federal motor vehicle fleet, is an excellent opportunity for governments to lead by example in the pursuit of a cleaner future for personal mobility,” said John Bozzella, President and CEO of the Alliance for Automotive Innovation. “As the EV market and demand for EV batteries continues to grow, policies that support resilient domestic battery supply chains, including battery recycling, can reduce U.S. reliance on foreign nations for critical minerals while enhancing our global economic competitiveness.”
“MEMA applauds Sens. Peters, Romney, Burr and Hagerty for leading the Strategic EV Management Act,” said Ann Wilson, Senior Vice President of Government Affairs at the Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association. “This legislation is critical for the deployment of electric vehicles because the federal government must be a leader in addressing battery recycling and second life applications as our nation’s fleet transitions to net-zero emissions transportation.”
“Ford Motor Company is all-in on the EV revolution, and we appreciate Senator Peters’ bipartisan leadership to develop a strategic plan for our government to manage vehicle batteries and charging. Our decades of commercial vehicle leadership alongside our launch of electric vehicles into fleets across the country have shown us that successful EV deployment includes a strong management plan,” said Steven Croley, Chief Policy Officer and General Counsel at the Ford Motor Company. “Ford Pro is helping fleets of all sizes make the EV transition with end-to-end scalable hardware and software solutions. We look forward to continuing to work with the federal government to enable and accelerate the zero-emissions transportation future.”
“As General Motors works towards an all-electric, zero-emissions future, we recognize the importance of a robust plan for EVs in the federal fleet,” said Elizabeth Reicherts, Vice President of External Affairs at General Motors. “We appreciate Chairman Gary Peters’ leadership joining with Senators Romney, Burr, and Hagerty in a bipartisan effort and we look forward to serving as a partner in this initiative.”
“The federal government is an important customer for Stellantis. We commend Senator Peters and the bipartisan cosponsors of the Strategic EV Management Act, which will help ensure that as the federal fleet transitions to electrified vehicles, it maximizes the benefits of both the vehicles and batteries throughout their lifecycles. Federal leadership in the circular economy is key to a sustainable, electrified future,” said Shane Karr, Senior Vice President of Public Affairs at Stellantis North America.