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Obama Proposes 1 Million EVs By 2015

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On: Wed, Feb 2, 2011 at 11:25AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Obama Proposes 1 Million EVs By 2015

A president’s state of the union speech is meant to not only report on how we’re doing as a nation, but also what we might have to look forward to. There are plenty of bold goals set forth in those speeches. Back in 2003, President Bush put a $1.2 billion program on the table to help spur the development of fuel-cell cars. Eight years later and guess what? There are just a handful of fuel-cell hybrid cars in commercial production here in the U.S. That doesn’t mean a nation can’t dream big, does it? In his recent state of the union speech, President Obama put his marker on the table. He’d like to see 1 million advanced-technology cars on the highways by 2015. Bold visionary or wishful thinking?

Michael Omotoso, director of global powertrain forecasting at J.D. Power and Associates, in Troy, Michigan, thinks this goal could be out of reach. “I think it's a stretch goal,” Omotoso said in an interview. “We don't think we're going to reach that number by 2015.”

So far, the government has invested around 25 billion in the development of these types of cars, which has resulted in two EV cars being made by the major automakers: Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf. However, that doesn’t mean all is perfect in the world of electric cars. “The high cost of batteries and the limited market for short-range compact cars will be obstacles to reaching Obama's goal,” Omotoso said.

Even the administration’s own numbers point out what a big leap forward this will have to be. The projections are that there could be around 281,000 electric cars and light trucks sold between 2011 and 2015. That’s according to U.S. Energy Information Administration. These numbers include fuel-cell vehicles, but exclude electric-gasoline hybrids. As for the Volts and Leafs there have been only 345 of those sold.

For every doubting Thomas, there is someone who thinks that “The president's goal is not only doable but probable if the government backs it with at least $6.9 billion in federal and state tax credits, manufacturer and dealer incentives to reduce the price of the vehicles,” so says Art Spinella, president of CNW Marketing Research in Bandon, Oregon.

The Chevy Volt is a perfect example of what Mr. Spinella is talking about. Right now the Volt has a sticker price of $40,280 and the Leaf starts at $32,780. If you can factor in a $7,500 rebate, like those being proposed, suddenly those cars become attractive to potential buyers.


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