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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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Rare Earth Metals
By Spookster on 2/1/2013 2:10:13 PM , Rating: 2
Unless they plan to invade China and take over their rare Earth metal mines so China no longer controls most of the world supply and run the prices up anymore then I don't see how that will happen.

RE: Rare Earth Metals
By dgingerich on 2/1/2013 2:34:40 PM , Rating: 2
There are already plans in the works for reopening the rare earth mines here in the US. It's just going to take about 5 years.

RE: Rare Earth Metals
By jimbojimbo on 2/1/2013 4:14:08 PM , Rating: 2
The sad thing is environmentalists will delay opening of the mines because mining is so decremental to nature. The environmentalists want us to walk barefoot everywhere. The US is so tied up with litigation everything takes forever and even if mining convenes due to the litigation costs the prices of those mined minerals will be raised much higher than the prices from China.

RE: Rare Earth Metals
By Mint on 2/1/2013 6:05:43 PM , Rating: 2
The rare earth metal problem is blown totally out of proportion.

Their biggest use in hybrid cars was in NiMH batteries, but they've now been replaced by lithium ion.

DC motors need some for magnets, but modern electronics make induction motors almost as competitive, and they have no magnets.

The Tesla Model S, for example, doesn't use any rare earth metals in the drivetrain.

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