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The DOE plans to focus more on EVs in the future   (Source: Tesla Motors)
The Quadrennial Technology Review will be used to steer spending for fiscal 2013, and a budget proposal will be released in 2012

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has released a new "Quadrennial Technology Review," which reveals the government's alternative energy plans for fiscal 2013.

The Quadrennial Technology Review pushes alternative energy technology that can be commercialized in a 10-year period, and according to its first report, the DOE wants to focus more of its $3 billion research budget on the adoption of electric vehicles and the modernization of the power grid.

The review noted that the DOE "underinvested" in transportation in fiscal 2011, where only 26 percent of spending was dedicated to this particular area. Nine percent went to electric vehicles in fiscal 2011, 4 percent went to adding fuel efficiency to vehicles, and the rest went to alternative fuels.

"Currently, DOE focuses too much effort on researching technologies that are multiple generations away from practical use," said The Quadrennial Technology Review.

The DOE now plans to concentrate on advanced biofuels as well as "technology that does not require new fuel-station infrastructure."

Much of fiscal 2011's budget was devoted to clean electricity at 51 percent of spending, but in addition to transportation, the DOE will put aside more funding in the future for the modernization of the power grid, carbon capture/storage research, building and factory efficiency and technology that can be operated using less water like wind and solar photovoltaic.

The DOE is currently facing scrutiny for a government loan to solar company Solyndra, which recently filed for bankruptcy. The government reportedly knew the company was destined to fail, according to emails the FBI found when raiding Solyndra in early September. The Quadrennial Technology Review does not address loan guarantees private-sector companies, which was a $180 million program in fiscal 2011.

Source: Automotive News

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By Solandri on 9/30/2011 6:42:41 PM , Rating: 3
Car sharing is another area where electric cars would be very successful, rent a car for a couple hours for ~20$, pay close to nothing in fuel and get your errands done.

This is something that's puzzled me too. People see $20 to use a car for a day's errands and think "Are you nuts?" They compare to using their own car "for free", and ignore the costs of actually owning the car.

If you buy your car for $25k, use it for 60k miles, and sell it for $10k, that's $0.25 per mile. A $35 oil change every 3500 miles adds $0.01 per mile. A $600 overhaul every 15k miles adds $0.04. $120 annual license and registration adds $0.01 assuming 12k miles/yr. And $400 for new tires after 50k miles is another $0.008. $600 insurance for a year would be $0.05. Add in misc expenses (e.g. car washes) and all told you're looking at about $0.40 per mile to own this car.

Gas at $3.50/gal and 28 mpg is $0.125 per mile. So owning the car costs more than 3x as much as the gas you put into it. Financially, most people should be more concerned about the car's ownership costs than its gas mileage.

Combined you're looking at about $0.525 per mile to drive a car you own. In other words, $20 will get you about 38 miles in a car you own. I'm not saying short-term rental is for everyone. But it seems to me renting $20 only on days you actually need a car, or $50-$75 for a weekend getaway, would make a lot of financial sense for many people. Except people don't think of this because they view any miles they put on a car they own as "free".

"A politician stumbles over himself... Then they pick it out. They edit it. He runs the clip, and then he makes a funny face, and the whole audience has a Pavlovian response." -- Joe Scarborough on John Stewart over Jim Cramer

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