Friday, May 27, 2011

Obama's National Goal of One Million EVs by 2015

In his 2011 State of the Union address, President Obama put forward his goal of putting one million EVs on American roads by 2015. This will help in the transition away from fossil fuel powered vehicles which are the second largest source of global warming causing pollutants. Although a far cry from the national green initiative that Obama has compared to the Apollo program, it is an important first step on the road away from fossil fuels.

Unlike the Apollo program, we already possess the technology and one million EVs is a modest goal given that this represents one third of one percent of the quarter of a billion vehicles in the US. One million electric cars represent less than 10 percent of the current annual automotive sales.

One of the challenges associated with goal of one million EVs was exposed in a February 2011 report out of Indiana University, titled “Plug-in Electric Vehicles: A Practical Plan for Progress.” (pdf). The study indicates that automakers currently have no plans to meet the President's 2015 goal.

This contridicts a Department of Energy report that said: "The production capacity of EV models announced to enter the U.S. market through 2015 should be sufficient to achieve the goal of one million EVs by 2015." The report also notes that 1.6 million hybrids have been sold over the past six years.

Obama's goal is of crucial importance because it will help to grow EV production as well as test the technologies and the supporting infrastructures. It will also help EVs benefit from cost and price reductions associated with mass production.

Moving towards EVs is of paramount importance to the environment and America's competitive positioning. Unlike the Apollo program, the government's support of EVs provides tangible benefits like reducing dependence on foreign oil and curbing greenhouse gases. All things considered, one million EVs by 2015 is a modest and attainable goal. Whether or not we have one million EVs on the road in the US by 2015 does not matter as much as the building momentum for an America free of fossil fuel powered vehicles.

© 2011, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

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