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Cost, charging infrastructure and battery concerns are all reasons for the slowed adoption

Electric vehicles (EVs) are not taking off quite as expected, and if sales numbers don't start turning around, this could spell long-term trouble for the industry, according to a new report from The Detroit News.

Back in 2009, the Obama administration awarded $2.4 billion in stimulus grants for EVs and advanced batteries. The investment seemed promising, since gas costs continued climbing. Who wouldn't want an EV in the days of paying $5 per gallon?

The answer is, apparently, most people. Pushing EV adoption has been difficult for a few reasons, including cost (despite huge federal tax credits and incentives, EVs are more expensive than gas vehicles), slow deployment of charging infrastructure and battery worries.

Right now, the federal tax credit is $7,500 per EV in the U.S. President Barack Obama has proposed upping this figure to $10,000 in order to make EVs more affordable. He also proposed a $1 billion budget for speeding up EV deployment and charging infrastructure in 15 communities.

Despite these efforts, and the fact that EVs can lessen the U.S.' dependence on foreign oil and reduce global warming, there was one issue that likely scared many customers off: lithium ion battery problems.

One such instance was the Chevrolet Volt's battery fire in May 2011, where a Chevrolet Volt underwent a series of tests at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) facility in Wisconsin. Three weeks after a side-impact crash test on May 12, the Volt caught fire while parked in the testing center.

Fisker Automotive has recalled its EV batteries for the Karma due to recent troubles, and the Nissan Leaf recently experienced some issues with the Arizona heat.

2012 Chevrolet Volt plug-in and 2012 Nissan Leaf sales have been all over the map over the past year. In 2011, 7,671 Volts were sold while 9,674 Leafs were sold. From January to September 2012, Leaf sales dropped to 5,212 while Volt sales jumped to 16,348.

According to The Detroit News, this is because the Volt has an auxiliary gas engine that kicks in when the battery is drained. To some degree, it still relies on gas, and the U.S. just isn't ready to take gas completely out of the equation yet.

Nissan hoped to sell 20,000 Leafs this year, but clearly, that is unlikely to happen.

A recent hit to the EV industry was A123 Systems' bankruptcy filing earlier this week. A123 made EV batteries and developed advanced battery technology.

There are some bright sides to the EV industry, though. Ford just added 60 new EV engineers and doubled in-house battery testing, and Toyota is talking plans for new EVs and hybrids.

The adoption of EVs may just take some time, and could likely get a boost in the coming years as the CAFE standards for gas-powered vehicles continues to increase. The Obama administration just recently finalized the 54.5 MPG CAFE standards for 2017-2025 model years.

Source: The Detroit News

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RE: There is a rumor
By macca007 on 10/18/2012 11:45:06 PM , Rating: 2
Not quite worldwide, Australia has weathered the storm for the second time.
But yeah these economic lows won't help these EV's, Small I.C.E. cars are so damn efficient and cheap to buy it will be a while before EV's can compete. They are way overpriced down here like everything else.

RE: There is a rumor
By StevoLincolnite on 10/19/2012 1:43:58 AM , Rating: 3
Australia has weathered the current and past storms.

But the Australian Government also went from having a 20~ Billion dollar surplus to being who-knows-how-much in debt.

End result from the debt is more taxes, Australian's already pay the highest amount for electricity in the world, the carbon tax increases that, so the people are being hit pretty hard. - Thankfully the average wage is 50% higher than the US, so it's not as bad as it seems in reality.

However, one great thing the Australian Government didn't do was spend money bailing out companies, they instead used the money to build and improve infrastructure and other "nation building" projects which directly made jobs.

The problem though with Electric vehicles is you are essentially moving the carbon production from the vehicle itself to the power plants, more energy is spent producing the actual vehicle and more rare earth materials are needed from places like China.

So attempting to remove the foreign oil dependency problem may work, but you instead shift to foreign everything-else dependent.

The USA actually has allot of resources available to it, amazes me though how unwilling the US is to actually mining it, where-as Australia capitalized on it's vast mineral wealth and became filthy rich.

RE: There is a rumor
By bobsmith1492 on 10/19/2012 6:46:20 AM , Rating: 1
US is hampered by relentless environmentalists. A few rare rats can halt a billion-dollar mine...

RE: There is a rumor
By bupkus on 10/19/2012 9:19:35 AM , Rating: 2
Bats are responsible for keeping the number of insects in check. Without bats it would be harder still to protect food sources.

Can I now imagine you covered with insects damning environmentalists for removing DDT from your shopping list?
See: Feeding and diet

RE: There is a rumor
By Spuke on 10/19/2012 9:55:47 AM , Rating: 1
Can I now imagine you covered with insects damning environmentalists for removing DDT from your shopping list?
I'd rather have the DDT honestly. Extremists of ANY form are a hindrance to society not a help. Without you people, we'd have a ton of nuke plants AND we'd have more alternative energy sources. Who knows, we might have had the infrastructure to support EV's!

RE: There is a rumor
By bobsmith1492 on 10/19/2012 10:29:28 AM , Rating: 2
Environmentalists can't read either, clearly. ;-)

RE: There is a rumor
By jimbojimbo on 10/19/2012 10:58:50 AM , Rating: 1
He said rats, not bats. And he's right. We have tons of rare earth metals we can mine but we can't because the companies have to get the approval first and one complainer with a lawyer can hold things up for years. It's a shame.

RE: There is a rumor
By bupkus on 10/19/2012 2:47:08 PM , Rating: 2
This comment is apparently spam and we do not allow spam comments.

RE: There is a rumor
By Nutzo on 10/19/2012 11:42:17 AM , Rating: 2
Actually the banning of DDT has led to the death of millions of people around the world. Just another typical environmentalist success story.

The problem with DDT was the way it was used, with massive spraying of farms and wetlands.
We really should bring back DDT for limited use such as spraying in homes (especially in the 3rd world) as it’s safer for people than most the alternatives.

RE: There is a rumor
By bupkus on 10/19/2012 3:06:05 PM , Rating: 2
Banned in the US in 1972,[5] DDT was subsequently banned for agricultural use worldwide under the Stockholm Convention, but its limited use in disease vector control continues to this day and remains controversial

RE: There is a rumor
By FITCamaro on 10/22/2012 7:21:59 AM , Rating: 1
DDT was banned by an activist judge that completely ignored ALL of the evidence of testing that was done. There was absolutely no evidence of what the environmentalists were claiming (that DDT weakened the egg shells of birds) and he just banned it anyway. DDT is why Florida isn't just a big swamp riddled with disease anymore.

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