Experts mixed on whether Obama's goal of 1 million electric cars by 2015 can be reached

Apr 14, 2011 by Bob Yirka report
Experts mixed on whether Obama's goal of 1 million electric cars by 2015 can be reached

(PhysOrg.com) -- A recent report by the Department of Energy (DOE) stating that the United States is well on its way to meeting President Obama's goal of having at least one million plug-in electric cars and trucks on our nation's highways and byways by 2015 is in direct conflict with a another recent report from Pike Research suggesting that while worldwide sales of electric vehicles will likely pass the million mark, sales in the United States likely won't grow fast enough to reach much higher than 850,000 units by that date.

In its report, the DOE, (backed up by a statement from Assistant David Sandalow) predicts that sales of plug-in electric (which excludes hybrids) vehicles will be sufficient between now and 2015 to take us over the million mark, to somewhere in the neighborhood of 1.2 million vehicles; more than enough to fulfill the president’s goal.

The president’s goal has been widely criticized as far too optimistic, especially in light of the recent recession, and production problems with the Nissan Leaf (partially due to the earthquake/tsunami in Japan) one of the all electric vehicles expected to be among the leading sellers in the near future. Adding to the fire is J.D. Powers, which came out with predictions of just 750,000 electric vehicles by 2015.

Other critics have pointed out that the issue is rather moot though, since a million electric vehicles running by 2015, would still account for less than one half of one percent of all operating vehicles by that date. Others however, point out that by passing certain milestones, become ever more of a viable choice for American consumers, thus, paving the way for a boon in sales in later years.

What’s not included in either report, unfortunately, due to the time frame in which they were created, is the current cost of gasoline and the possibility that it could reach $5 gallon in this country before the summer is out. While still not nearly as much as consumers are paying in Europe, it could provide a catalyst for change, and swifter acceptance of all-electric vehicles, as consumers find they have few other alternatives.

After all is said and done, it appears that despite the massive amounts of money being spent to create their projections, by both government and those in the private sector, there are just too many variables involved to accurately predict where car sales are headed; so, in the end, we’ll all likely just have to wait and see how things develop.

Explore further: Morocco wind farm, Africa's biggest, starts generating power

Related Stories

4.7 million EV charging units expected by 2015

Jun 08, 2010

The first affordable mass-produced electric vehicles will hit the streets of America later this year. Once the Nissan Leaf begins to make its way from dealerships to consumers, the electric vehicle charging revolution will ...

Toyota's hybrid sales top 3 million units

Mar 08, 2011

Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) said Tuesday it had sold more than three million hybrid vehicles, a key pillar of its earnings, thanks to the global popularity of the Prius model.

NREL Estimates U.S. Hybrid Electric Vehicle Fuel Savings

Jun 21, 2007

Hybrid electric vehicles have saved close to 230 million gallons – or 5.5 million barrels – of fuel in the United States since their introduction in 1999, according to a recent analysis conducted at the U. S. Department ...

Nissan Leaf deliveries 'see slow start'

Jan 18, 2011

Nissan Motor had delivered only 60 units of its Leaf electric vehicle in Japan as of Friday, Kyodo News reported, despite already taking 6,000 orders due by the end of March.

Toyota unveils hybrid car push

Nov 18, 2010

The world's top automaker Toyota Motor plans to launch 11 new hybrid models by the end of 2012, the company said Thursday, as the race to build more environmentally friendly vehicles heats up.

Recommended for you

Switch on sunlight for a brighter future

5 hours ago

Imagine sitting in a windowless room yet having the feeling of the sun shining on your face. This unique experience is now possible thanks to the COELUX EU-funded project which recreates the physical and ...

US urged to drop India WTO case on solar

21 hours ago

Environmentalists Wednesday urged the United States to drop plans to haul India to the WTO to open its solar market, saying the action would hurt the fight against climate change.

Is nuclear power the only way to avoid geoengineering?

Apr 23, 2014

"I think one can argue that if we were to follow a strong nuclear energy pathway—as well as doing everything else that we can—then we can solve the climate problem without doing geoengineering." So says Tom Wigley, one ...

Finalists named in Bloomberg European city contest

Apr 23, 2014

Amsterdam wants to create an online game to get unemployed young people engaged in finding jobs across Europe. Schaerbeek, Belgium, envisions using geothermal mapping to give households personalized rundowns of steps to save ...

User comments : 24

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

John_balls
1 / 5 (1) Apr 14, 2011
Of course you can have 1 million electric cars by 2015. Get the price down to their ICE counterparts and you can double that number.
Quantum_Conundrum
2 / 5 (3) Apr 14, 2011
Doesn't matter.

Until someone quits sabbotaging U.S. automobile industry, I don't see how it will matter too much.

I saw a commercial on television yesterday, I think, about a new hybrid car, and it only gets 32mpg...

Wow, my old 1988Mazda got something like 33 to 35mpg even after it was 10 to 13 years old.

So these allegedly "energy efficient" cars and trucks are actually losing mpg compared to 20 years ago, and for THAT they expect people to pay 50% to 100% more for an automobile?
Quantum_Conundrum
1.7 / 5 (3) Apr 14, 2011
While still not nearly as much as consumers are paying in Europe, it could provide a catalyst for change, and swifter acceptance of all-electric vehicles, as consumers find they have few other alternatives.


there is no electric auto on the market that I am aware of which can make the average commute in Louisiana and still have energy left over to do other things you need to do: grocery shopping and other shopping, visit friends/date, well, anything really. Even if it does exist, it costs more than it's lifetime energy savings are likely to pay back, AND higher purchase costs means higher insurance costs, making it even worse.
J-n
not rated yet Apr 14, 2011
Was that commercial for the 2012 infinity M Hybrid? I believe that is the only care i've seen offering 32mpg and a hybrid.

I suspect the reason for this "loss" in MPG is due to the fact that it offers 360 horsepower. From their advertising i've seen they claim it's the only 350+ horsepower car that gets over 30mpg.

I think if you compare apples to apples things are getting better for fuel economy.
J-n
5 / 5 (1) Apr 14, 2011


Average commute in Lousiana is at 22min each way, which at 50mph (which, i think we both know, most commutes do not happen at max speed)is still less than 50 miles. Seeing as how, for example, the Nissan Leaf claims 100 miles as a 1 charge distance, this would seem to offer Double what you would need for your commute, giving you tons of charge for your shopping, date, etc.
desotojohn
3 / 5 (1) Apr 14, 2011
The Tesla Roadster battery weighs about 900 pounds. I don't know how many pounds of lithium are used in each battery, so lets assume 50%. One million electric vehicles would require 450,000,000 pounds of lithium. Most of the world's reserves of lithium carbonate are located in Chile, Argentina and Bolivia. Can they produce enough lithium to meet the demand (approx 100 million pounds/year for next 4 years)?
J-n
not rated yet Apr 14, 2011
The only place i could find an ammount of lithium in an electronic car battery stated it was around 34% of weight.

--- From "The Wiki" for "Lithium" ---
According to the US Geological Survey, Bolivia's Uyuni Desert has 5.4 million tonnes of lithium.[62][63] China may emerge as a significant producer of brine-source lithium carbonate around 2010. There is potential production of up to 55,000 tonnes per year if projects in Qinghai province and Tibet proceed.[60]

Worldwide reserves of lithium are estimated to be 23 million tonnes.[64] Using the battery efficiency figure of 400 g of lithium per kWh,[65] this gives a total maximum lithium battery capacity of 52 billion kWh which, assuming it is used exclusively for car batteries, is enough for approximately 2 billion cars with a 24 kWh battery (like a Nissan Leaf [66]).
bfast
1 / 5 (1) Apr 14, 2011
Electric cars will be short-lived. We are going to revert to steam power. See wikipedia entry: energy catalyzer, new cold fusion of nickel will be powering our world in 10 to 20 years. To see what this will look like, check out nickelpower.org. This blog discusses the technological, economic and social impacts of Dr. Rossi's energy catalyzer.
Gammakozy
2 / 5 (4) Apr 14, 2011
This goal will be added to the non-existent list of Obama's other substantive achievements. No matter. For him, the pronouncement is the achievement. He will get praise and adulation from his media groupies, and maybe even a Nobel prize in Chemistry or Physics for merely saying the words. His words are empty. But for him follow-through and and actual results do not matter. Just look at his record. His only real accomplishment has been to get elected. And he only accomplished even this by hiding who he is and lying about his intentions. As president he has done nothing that he promised. No matter. He continues to be adored by so many of the willfully blind.
Fionn
not rated yet Apr 14, 2011
Nope.wav

More idiotic energy policy. A better approach would be a mix of hydrogen, natural gas, higher mpg requirements(35 for sedans, 25 for SUVs and trucks) and requiring all new gas/diesel cars be flex-fuel, plug-in hybrids and removal of all tariffs on foreign ethanol. That would be feasible with current technology and expectations about car usage. Battery power can't cut it, and won't cut it for the immediate future.
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (3) Apr 14, 2011
Must not be very good experts.

Where are those turbo diesels that get 50mpg?

VW Rabbits used to get that.
ECOnservative
2.3 / 5 (3) Apr 14, 2011
A couple of issues with Mr Obama's plans:

1) Air conditioning is rarely calculated into MPG. Here in the SW, it's not just a good idea, it's a requirement. Every electric vehicle I've seen so far comes up short in this area. Either they don't have it, or it eats the range 20% or more.

2) Command economies don't work.
Quantum_Conundrum
1 / 5 (1) Apr 14, 2011
Average commute in Lousiana is at 22min each way,.


Let me guess...

You googled that?

You believe everything you read, eh?
unknownorgin
1 / 5 (1) Apr 14, 2011
If the cost of an electric car from showroom to wreaking yard is divided by miles driven is not less than a gasoiline powered car people will soon stop buying them. Most people need to have at least a 300 mile range and the idea of having to hunt for a charging station every 100 miles and planing your trip around charging station locations is a big problem. What if the electric car blows a chip in the middle of montana, who would be able to repair it? The electric car and the country are not ready for large scale use of this new technology.

Vendicar_Decarian
not rated yet Apr 15, 2011
"there is no electric auto on the market that I am aware of which can make the average commute in Louisiana and still have energy left over to do other things you need to do: grocery shopping and other shopping, visit friends/date, well, anything really." - Lousiana Tard

The average one way commute distance for Americans is 16 miles. Well within the range of electric vehicles in production. Since we can expect symmetric distribution on either side of that average, we know that a very large percentage of the U.S population (very approximately 50%) have commuting distances that are under the 16 mile mark.

My one way commute is 8 miles.

The Average commute distance for Louisiana is than the American National average by about 5%.

http://factfinder...at=US-30

Vendicar_Decarian
not rated yet Apr 15, 2011
"What if the electric car blows a chip in the middle of montana, who would be able to repair it?" - Tardball

All modern cars have engines that are electronically controlled. So the question is... What if the standard car blows it's CPU in the middle of Montanna? Who would be able to repair it?
Vendicar_Decarian
not rated yet Apr 15, 2011
"You believe everything you read, eh?" - Quantum Tard

The information comes from the U.S. Census bureau.

Choke on it Tard Boy.
Vendicar_Decarian
not rated yet Apr 15, 2011
"Here in the SW, it's not just a good idea, it's a requirement." - Lardboy

Open a window FatAss.
Vendicar_Decarian
not rated yet Apr 15, 2011
"Battery power can't cut it, and won't cut it for the immediate future." - American Fool

The people of Nissan are vastly smarter than fat Americans.
Vendicar_Decarian
not rated yet Apr 15, 2011
"Most of the world's reserves of lithium carbonate are located in Chile, Argentina and Bolivia." - Desto-whatever

Lithium is the 25th most abundant element in the earth's crust, on par with Nickel and Lead.

Vendicar_Decarian
not rated yet Apr 15, 2011
"Wow, my old 1988Mazda got something like 33 to 35mpg even after it was 10 to 13 years old." - Quntum-Tard

Conservative America is pure failure.
ryggesogn2
2 / 5 (4) Apr 15, 2011
"Here in the SW, it's not just a good idea, it's a requirement." - Lardboy

Open a window FatAss.

120 deg F in shade equates to higher temps inside a car in PHX in SEP.
Right, open a window. Careful the seat belt buckle doesn't burn you.
Car batteries don't do well in the heat. How will electric car batteries withstand +150F temps?
Skeptic_Heretic
not rated yet Apr 15, 2011
While still not nearly as much as consumers are paying in Europe, it could provide a catalyst for change, and swifter acceptance of all-electric vehicles, as consumers find they have few other alternatives.
there is no electric auto on the market that I am aware of which can make the average commute in Louisiana and still have energy left over to do other things you need to do: grocery shopping and other shopping, visit friends/date, well, anything really.
Average daily commute in Louisiana is under 16 miles.
Even if it does exist, it costs more than it's lifetime energy savings are likely to pay back, AND higher purchase costs means higher insurance costs, making it even worse.
Not really. The purchase price doesn't determine the cost of your vehicle insurance by itself. You have to factor in the repair costs, the prevalence of theft, the prevalence of the ability to catch or be set on fire, and the prevalence of accidents.
Duude
1 / 5 (2) Apr 16, 2011
Of course they can reach the goal. All that is needed is for the government to buy 1 million electric vehicles for their federal employees. I'm not suggesting that would be a wise idea. I'm only stating the obvious.

More news stories

Facebook buys fitness app Moves

Facebook has bought the fitness app Moves, which helps users monitor daily physical activity and their calorie counts on a smartphone.

Genetic code of the deadly tsetse fly unraveled

Mining the genome of the disease-transmitting tsetse fly, researchers have revealed the genetic adaptions that allow it to have such unique biology and transmit disease to both humans and animals.

Ocean microbes display remarkable genetic diversity

The smallest, most abundant marine microbe, Prochlorococcus, is a photosynthetic bacteria species essential to the marine ecosystem. An estimated billion billion billion of the single-cell creatures live i ...