Print 50 comment(s) - last by jack daniels e.. on Feb 12 at 11:37 AM

Chu promises big battery price cuts, but doesn't say how

The Obama administration continues to push electric vehicles despite the fact that they have sold very poorly around the country. There are number of reasons why consumers haven't adopted electric vehicles in larger numbers, the biggest of which are the cost of the vehicles and range anxiety. The component that adds the most cost to EVs is undoubtedly the battery pack.

U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu has announced that the federal government is working to dramatically reduce the cost of battery technology for electric vehicles. Cheaper batteries would mean that automakers could [ideally] sell their EVs and hybrid vehicles that utilize rechargeable battery packs at a lower price.

President Obama wants 1 million plug-in electric vehicles and hybrids on highways around the United States by 2015. Currently, the federal government offers a $7,500 tax credit for people who purchase electric vehicles and Obama has been pushing to increase the tax credit to $10,000.

"It's ambitious, but we'll see what happens," said Chu during a talk with reporters during the Washington Auto Show.

"For the engineers in the room or those who follow this, you might be saying to yourself, 'What are they smoking,'" Chu said about aggressive plans to cut the price of batteries. "We're not smoking anything…. They are ambitious goals but they are achievable goals."

The original report from Washington supporting the goal of 1 million plug-in vehicles on the roads by 2015 expected Ford to sell 20,000 Focus EVs in 2012. Ford sold fewer than 700 of the vehicles and has resorted to significant price cuts to spur demand. Chevrolet also sold only 24,000 Volts in 2012 while the report had predicted 120,000.

Source: Detroit News

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By DaveLessnau on 2/1/2013 10:34:04 AM , Rating: -1
I guess it's that darn Constitution thing again: what in the world does the Federal government have to do with EV battery prices? I mean, it tells you something that our government thinks it should do things like this. Heck, it really tells you something that they think they should BOAST about this.

Even ignoring that pesky document (as seems to be the popular thing to do these days), how could the feds have any impact? Are they going to price-fix battery suppliers or everyone in the battery logistics chain? Or, are they planning on the ol' hidden cost thing (again) of giving tax breaks to the few people buying these things and leaving the rest of the country holding the bag for the true cost?

By Dr of crap on 2/1/2013 1:01:02 PM , Rating: 2
The govt throws rebates and other money at the industry to make the batteries APPEAR cheaper, it's just you and me and our taxes paying the "hidden" higher cost.

IF there was a freaking demand for these things that might be another thing, but they are NOT selling. WHY DOES THE GOVT WANT US driving these battery powered things?

WHY not push and throw money at ALL alternative powered cars, instead of focusing on just battery power??????
By that I mean bio-diesel, CNG, fuel-cell, and the other pieces that the good old ICE can use that I've read about that could make the mpgs higher than they are now. But no they ONLY FOCUS on battery power, good for only a small part of the populous!

By Mint on 2/1/2013 5:34:40 PM , Rating: 2
but they are NOT selling
Why are you so desperate to push this falsehood?
EV sales TRIPLED last year. The Volt's sales in the last two years almost matched all of GM's other hybrids. Price reductions and awareness are only going to increase sales further.

WHY not push and throw money at ALL alternative powered cars, instead of focusing on just battery power?????? By that I mean bio-diesel, CNG, fuel-cell, and the other pieces that the good old ICE can use that I've read about that could make the mpgs higher than they are now.
Fuel cell doesn't have significant refueling infrastructure, so it will need a much larger investment to get off the ground. Expanded biodiesel use is a fuel production issue, and there is money being invested into it.

I'll agree that CNG is something worth considering, but prices are really volatile. Many experts are saying the current price glut is only temporary. The natural gas Civic costs more than the hybrid while giving much lower mileage, so even today's $2/gge doesn't save much, unless you pump at home, which involves a costly install.

EVs have a couple inherent advantages to other alternative fuels. Night-time electricity will always be much cheaper than gasoline. Basic infrastructure is already in place at every home.

By Stan11003 on 2/1/2013 2:37:06 PM , Rating: 2
The same can be said for Oil, Corn and most crops, beef, etc. The Federal, State and local governments have been investing in business for a long time. This is really not different.

By Rukkian on 2/1/2013 2:54:04 PM , Rating: 2
Not sure how it is different from just about any other industry. Why does the goverment subsidize people buying houses (mortgage interest deduction), giving to charity (another deduction), etc, etc, etc.

Throughout our history, the government has been pushing agendas. I do not agree with the tax breaks on these cars, but not because I do not think the cars are a good choice, it is that the government should not be picking winners and loosers. There should be no tax breaks, it should be a flat tax (with a floor), but no ceiling, with no deductions, credits, breaks, etc.

By Mint on 2/1/2013 3:48:46 PM , Rating: 2
The gov't can't make EVs a winner. All it can do it give it a nudge to give it a chance when nobody wants to take the first step due to risk (and other companies profiting down the road from their pioneering investment).

By the time the EV subsidy expires, we're looking at around $7B. Total auto sales will be around $3T in that time. Gov't influence is a drop in the bucket (not even close to 1%), but it's enough to get the ball rolling.

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