Print 108 comment(s) - last by monkeyman1140.. on Jul 16 at 12:15 AM

GE WattStation  (Source: GE)

Ford announced that Compact Power would be producing the batteries for its electric Ford Focus.  (Source: Ford via Autoblog)

Obama was visiting Michigan today, promoting his plans to develop $10,000 EVs by 2015.  (Source: Detroit News)
President and his staff hit the road to promote the over $2.4B USD in federal money they're offering auto companies

U.S. President Barack Obama certainly isn't setting modest goals when it comes to electric vehicles.  The President is taking a gamble, pouring over $2.4B USD into the budding industry.  A 100-mile range battery EV today costs around $33,000 USD to make, but Obama hopes to drop that cost to $16,000 by 2013 and $10,000 by 2015.

President Obama was visiting Michigan this week to check in on many pending battery projects that are receiving a piece of that $2.4B USD pie.

Among the events he attended was the groundbreaking ceremony in Holland, Michigan of a Compact Power Inc. plant that will be used to provide batteries for the Chevy Volt.  Compact Power, owned by South Korea's LG, announced news more big news at the ceremony -- Ford picked it to produce batteries for the plug-in Ford Focus.  

The plant will cost $303M USD to build, but the government will be chipping in $151M USD.  The plant is expected to employ 450 workers by 2013 according to the Obama administration.  The jobs are expected to pay $14, providing a decent standard of living to workers.

Obama also checked out Johnson Controls-Saft's new $220M lithium-ion battery plant, also in Holland, Michigan.  That plant may prove to be a key competitor to Compact Power in the near future, and is also receiving federal stimulus funding.

On Friday, Energy Secretary Steven Chu will visit Delphi Automotive in Kokomo, Indiana.  Delphi is one of the auto industry's top suppliers.  The U.S. government is offering it $89M USD in grants to develop new components for electric vehicles.

Meanwhile, Ed Montgomery, executive director of the White House Council on Automotive Communities and Workers, will be visiting General Motor's new plant in in White Marsh, Maryland.  While GM will buy battery cells from suppliers like Compact Power, it will assemble its own battery packs and supporting systems in house at this new plant.  GM is receiving $241M USD in federal funding for its EV efforts in total, including $106M USD towards this new plant.

Charlotte, North Carolina-based Celgard will be receiving a visit from Labor Secretary Hilda Solis.  Celgard will receive $49M USD in stimulus money, which will allow it hire 100 employees, open a plant, and reach production.

While grants to promote the actual manufacturing of electric vehicles and their battery systems are one key aspect of Obama's efforts, another major component is the creation of electrical vehicle charging stations.  By spreading EV chargers out like gas stations, the range of EVs can effectively be extended.

Companies like Coulomb Technologies will be deploying the stations across the country later this year and next year.  New York-based Coulomb is receiving a $15M USD stimulus grant to spread 4,600 such stations in nine cities by September 2011.  That's a big chunk of the 20,000 station Obama hopes to deploy by 2012 (there are currently 500 such stations in the U.S.).

The goals are lofty -- Obama is shooting for over 20,000 electric vehicle stations, 1 million EVs on the road, and bargain EV prices of $10,000 per vehicle by 2015.  In short, he's trying to completely reinvent the American auto industry, much of which essentially collapsed during the recent recession.  

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EV charging stations
By DigitalFreak on 7/14/2010 10:14:06 AM , Rating: 2
By spreading EV chargers out like gas stations, the range of EVs can effectively be extended.

Except for the fact that it takes at most 5 minutes to fill up your gas tank. How many hours would it take to charge an EV? Not even close.

RE: EV charging stations
By Pirks on 7/14/10, Rating: 0
RE: EV charging stations
By Shadowmaster625 on 7/14/2010 11:01:17 AM , Rating: 2
There is no way that the energy efficiency savings from using an EV can ever make up for the costs of infrastructure like that. Filling a gas tank is easy. The infrastructure for building thousands of gas pumps already exists and is not even running at capacity. To push all that aside and implement totally new infrastructure is foolish unless the savings are an order of magnitude greater. They are not. Lack of education is really killing this country... from the flagellar motor to "fossil" fuels, our ignorance is costing us so dearly.

RE: EV charging stations
By Pirks on 7/14/10, Rating: -1
RE: EV charging stations
By ebakke on 7/14/2010 2:20:12 PM , Rating: 2
Pirks, did your little brother just post with your account?

RE: EV charging stations
By marvdmartian on 7/14/2010 11:25:44 AM , Rating: 2
We'll just have to design better quality electricity pumps then, won't we?? ;)

I really can only see this as being feasible around larger metropolitan areas. At least until they get better battery packs or more efficient motors that can give longer ranges.

Really too bad that no one can design replaceable battery packs that can be quickly changed out. Then you don't worry about how long to charge the just swap your depleted unit for a fully charged unit, and be on your way, while the recharging station puts that depleted battery back on a charger, for someone to use once it's regained it's charge.

Only problem with this is that you'd have to limit the size/shape of the batteries, and every vehicle designer would have to conform to that....fat chance of that happening, since we can't even get the cell phone companies to go to one universal charger plug design!

RE: EV charging stations
By taber on 7/14/2010 1:00:48 PM , Rating: 2
Really too bad that no one can design replaceable battery packs that can be quickly changed out

That's the way I see EV tech going if it ever gets mass adopted, otherwise you're limited to commuter or hybrids. The government could standardize battery packs like they do gasoline now. It could be somewhat similar to how propane tanks work.

RE: EV charging stations
By tng on 7/14/2010 1:42:14 PM , Rating: 2
So my trip from central California to Southern Oregon (about 400 miles), it would me take 3 days just to arrive...... If there are any charging stations in the Southern Cascade/Northern Sierras.

My commute to work (50 miles) means that if I don't have a full charge, I may not make it home......

Great idea, this will go over allot better than all of the EV concepts that have came out over the last 20 years. ;)

When will these people learn that to make this marketable the range has to be comparable to an equivalent gas powered car

RE: EV charging stations
By clovell on 7/14/2010 1:54:12 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly, if Obama truly wanted a green revolution where he could handout billions of dollars to other people and watch the magic work, he'd fund T. Boone Pickens (much as dislike the guy). The grid is going to have to be upgraded before we can even talk about widespread charging stations.

This reeks of conflicts of interest.

RE: EV charging stations
By monkeyman1140 on 7/15/2010 11:55:42 PM , Rating: 2
It would be a boon to restaurants and coffee houses, where people stop for a pastry and a cup of joe while their cars charge.

You DO know that you can charge your car in the garage while ya sleep right?

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