How’s the Stimulus for Electric Vehicles Working Out, Mr. President?

by Marlo Lewis on December 8, 2011

in Features

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In his January 2011 State of the Union speech, President Obama called for “more research and incentives” so that America could “become the first country to have 1 million electric vehicles on the road by 2015.” In yesterday’s Washington PostCarol Leonnig and Joe Stephens report that the Obama Administration “has poured roughly $5 billion dollars in taxpayer funds into the electric car industry, offering incentives to manufacturers, their suppliers and even car buyers who might want to go green.” This included $2.4 billion in Stimulus support to develop advanced batteries for all-electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles.

How’s it all working out — will America have million electric vehicles on the road by 2015? It’s doubtful we’ll see anything close to that.

A million vehicles may sound like a lot, but it’s actually just 1/234th of total light-duty vehicles (passenger cars, SUVs, pickups, vans) registered in the United States in 2009. Nonetheless, sales are not on track to reach the 1 million goal. According to Leonnig and Stephens, sales of electric vehicles this year “stand at 16,800 — roughly two-tenths of 1 percent of 2011 domestic auto sales.” Sales would have to increase almost 60-fold over the next four years to reach the 1 million vehicle goal by 2015.

From the Post article:

Obama predicted in 2008 that green cars would create thousands of new U.S. jobs as demand soared. But in recent months, production lines and sales expectations have been dramatically scaled back.

A123 Systems, a battery maker that received $380 million in government support, announced recently that declining orders had forced layoffs. Instead of up to 3,000 new Michigan jobs as Obama and the company had predicted, it now has 690 employees.

Battery maker EnerDel, recipient of a a $118 million federal grant, took a hit when its key customer, electric-car maker Think, declared bankruptcy this year. Johnson Controls, which received a $299 million stimulus grant, opted to build one factory instead of two because of lower-than-projected demand, a company official said, and that one is now operating at half capacity.

California electric-car maker Aptera announced it was shutting its doors because of problems raising capital. And General Motors — whose moderately priced Volt was supposed to drive Obama’s push for 1 million alternative vehicles by 2015 — revealed last week that it would fall roughly 38 percent shy of its goal of selling 10,000 Volts this year.

 

 

 

 

John Roddea December 12, 2011 at 7:10 pm

Socialist interference in the economy, like subsidizing electric cars, always degrades the economy – why haven’t theses people learned the lesson from history, especially the USSR? It just gives taxpayers’ money to those with their hand out.

Geoff Sander December 15, 2011 at 7:22 pm

Well said; this money could have been doing some actual good in the world, helping real people with real needs. Or, it could have been left in taxpayers pockets where it belongs in the 1st place. Electric cars don’t reduce emissions anyway, the electricity is produced by burning coal! The entire environmental movement is in over-drive on the way to stupid-ville. All of their predictions, just like global warming, never materialize. Check out Kids Before Trees, an e-book that exposes all the lies.

Jeffrey Eric Grant December 27, 2011 at 8:42 am

Just a thought…..BEFORE you give away our money to your friends, Mr President, do a little research. What is needed is a replacement fuel that exceeds the current fuel, so that we can drive further between fill-ups. That can only be done with a fuel source that packs the energy in. Batteries won’t do it. Fuel cells might do it. Nuclear WILL do it. Put my research dollars there.
In the meantime, build me a car that uses LNG and I’ll be happy!
If you can’t, I’ll vote for someone who can. Hope & change is not cutting it.

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