By on February 13, 2013

Those who watched the State of the Union address last night and have an interest in autos may have noticed a conspicuous absence; Barack Obama failed to mention his goal of putting 1 million EVs on the road by 2015.

Obama last mentioned the figure in 2011, stating

At the California Institute of Technology, they’re developing a way to turn sunlight and water into fuel for our cars. At Oak Ridge National Laboratory, they’re using supercomputers to get a lot more power out of our nuclear facilities. With more research and incentives, we can break our dependence on oil with biofuels, and become the first country to have 1 million electric vehicles on the road by 2015.

Since then, the figure has been absent from the address. In 2012 did see Obama promise to  “…not cede the wind or solar or battery industry to China or Germany…” Well, we all know what happened to A123 Systems.


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30 Comments on “1 Million EV Goal Absent From State Of The Union...”

  • avatar
    healthy skeptic

    Much snark has been made about the 1 Million Goal. In truth, it will probably come to pass in the next 7-8 years, so figure 2020. He was just wrong about the timeframe.

    I base my own prediction on including plug-in hybrids, such as the Volt. My guess is that they will sell in much higher volume than pure EVs. I also figure the ramp-up will be exponential, so the next 2-3 years might not see a dramatic increase.

    • 0 avatar

      Based upon what?

      Consumers are not waiting in the wings for EV prices to dip 5%-10% on higher production volume. EV’s will require a technological breakthroughs (e.g. massive decreases in charging time) to take off or a global oil catastrophe.

      • 0 avatar

        If a doctor told you you were going to die in six months, but you lived to 85, would you say, “oh well, he was just off on the time frame.”

      • 0 avatar

        Not if I was 84 at the time. ;)

      • 0 avatar

        The charging times are pretty reasonable for plug-in hybrid models right now. The C-Max Energi (plug in hybrid model) can run 21 miles on pure battery power, and can charge in 2.5 hours on 240 volts (around 7 hours on 120 volts).

        Even if you don’t pony up for the 240 volt home charge, it’s easy to just plug it in at night and wake up to a full charge in the morning. With my commute I could handle around 90% of my daily driving in pure electric mode.

        As more and more businesses start installing charging stations, more drivers will be able to potentially drive indefinitely without using the gasoline engine (well, until the car notices the fuel in the tank is getting old and forces the gas engine to run to burn it off before it becomes problematic).

        For pure EVs the charging times are certainly more problematic. Right now a pure EV can’t work as a long road trip car, and I’m not sure we’ll ever see charging times that rival a gasoline fill-up. Battery swap models similar to what that Israeli company is offering could work, but I still see pure electric vehicles without gasoline range extenders as being more proof of concept vehicles right now than practical everyday cars.

    • 0 avatar

      Between the Tesla Model S, Tesla Model X, Cadillac ELR and Volt redesign, I see it possible.

      The Tesla in particular has an excellent thing going.

      I used to be a staunch anti-EV troll and THEY WON ME OVER – making me give the Model-S 5/5 stars in multiple reviews.

    • 0 avatar

      I hope we never see a million li-ion powered cars. This is a DOA technology. li-ion is literally the worst option for powering a car. Something better has to be developed if pure EVs are going to replace the IC engine. It will be hard to compete with all the IC synthetic fuel options that are being explored. Unless of course, the US gets on the euro band wagon and starts basing taxes on carbon emissions.

  • avatar

    If you want 1M electric vehicles on the road by 2015, drop the base electric motorcycles by $5k & watch people buy them by the dozen.

    easy peasy.

    • 0 avatar

      It’s happening, though not quickly. Production OEM-quality electric motorcycles are approximately two years behind car EVs in development IMO, though they’ve been available for several years now in various stages of development.

      A reasonable comparison would be a 2010 Zero S to a 2013 Zero XU ZF2.8.

      The 2010 S has a 3.5 kWh battery, weighs 273 pounds, goes 0-60 in 11.9s, has a top speed of 67 mph, goes ~39 miles in city riding. MSRP was $9995.

      The 2013 XU has a 2.5 kWh battery, weighs 225 pounds, goes 0-60 in ~5.5s, has a top speed of 77 mph, goes 38 miles in city riding. MSRP is $7995. A bay for a 2nd battery is present that doubles range (76 miles city), adds a little top-end power.

      XU also has a quiet belt drive, regen braking, much better friction brakes, lower-maintenance motor, smartphone integration, optional 1 hour charging from CHAdeMO, better fit & finish, etc.

      Electric vehicles still are not inexpensive .. far from it .. but they are slowly improving with time. The flip side of the EV conundrum, charging access, is also slowly improving.

      All things in time.

      • 0 avatar

        Sorry, I was implying a tax credit. Most of the electric bikes that are somewhat practical are 9-13k. That won’t convince a ninja 250 buyer, but if the difference is say 5k new vs 4k new, I know I’d go electric.

      • 0 avatar

        Yep. I think a capacity-based approach similar to car EVs would have worked wonders to revitalize the motorcycle industry.

        2009 ACES act set the federal plug-in credit amount at $2500 for 4 kWh, +$417/kWh beyond that maxing at $7500 for 15 kWh.

        That would drop the 2013 lineup to the following prices:

        2013 Brammo Enertia Plus: $10995 -> $7578
        2013 Brammo Empulse R: $18995 -> $14285
        2013 Brammo Empulse: $16995 -> $12285

        2013 Zero S ZF11.4: $15995 -> $10993
        2013 Zero S ZF8.5: $13995 -> $10036
        2013 Zero FX ZF5.7: $11990 -> $9073
        2013 Zero XU ZF5.7: $10490 -> $7573 (cheaper than XU ZF2.8, which would not qualify)

        In one sense I get why it makes sense to limit it to four wheeled vehicles: motorcycles in the US are typically treated as a luxury good.

        On the other hand.. a 10 kWh bike goes approximately 20% to 50% farther than a 24 kWh car. So far more practical, at least for one or two people, with fewer resources.

        It’s all lobbyist money anyhow.

  • avatar

    Well, Toyota has at least 1-million Prii Hybrid EVs on the road and that’s a good start toward the Obama and the greenwienies’ goal.

    I’m not a fan of EVs because I’m not a believer and like most Americans I don’t care about fuel economy or the price of gas. You either buy gas or you don’t. Simple as that. I’m addicted to gas, so I’ll buy it until my money runs out.

    However, I do believe that EVs, Hybrids and the like should be available for anyone who wants to buy or lease one – but I do not want to have the taxpayers subsidize it.

    It was evident years ago to all but the rabid EV fans that EVs and Hybrids comprise but a minute sliver of the total vehicle market in America.

    Obama and his advisors pursued an imaginary ideal, but unrealistic goal, and even though they built it, they did not come. Maybe they have come to their senses now and are no longer leading this horse to water because the animal just won’t drink it.

    • 0 avatar

      The million Prii are not EVs, because for the power comes through the gas tank. They are gasoline-powered cars with a really clever transmission.

      There are a few plugin Prii out there, both conversions and now from Toytheyre but they’re a tiny fraction of the vehicles on the road.

      I’m a big fan of the Prius in my driveway, and selling a million of the things is a triumph of modern engineering and salesmanship. It’s also one of the greatest sensible little AtoB commuter cars ever made. But, despite the electric motors under the hood, it’s not an EV.

      • 0 avatar

        You are absolutely right, but even Hybrids go a long way toward the goal of Obama and the greenwienies. Their goal is to reduce emissions AND the use of fossil fuels (at all expense).

        Then again, the Volt, Tesla and Fisker all have on-board generators to recharge their battery once storage is exhausted. My brother tells me that in California some enterprising Leaf owners are towing a 60-amp inverter AC-generator (Honda or Yamaha) on a tiny trailer behind their Leaf. Some guy in San Francisco started that and is now making the plans available to other Leaf owners (I assume since it requires a knowledge of electricity and respect for storage batteries, while also voiding the factory warranty).

        If you have ever heard a Volt go up a long hill climb as I have going up US 82, the AC generator sounds like screaming banshee. I’ve passed one because it was too damn slow going up the mountain while I had my passenger side window down. That generator howls!

        So in that sense, even battery-driven EVs can burn gas to keep that battery charged. Pure EVs like the Leaf, which another one of my brothers owned in Manhattan, have fallen out of favor because of the lack of charging stations and, of course, the range-anxiety brought on by battery capacity.

        It’s a niche, because we have plenty of fossil fuels available in America and I look to natgas to be added to the list of transportation fuels.

        And people who want EVs badly enough will adapt and overcome the shortcomings of EVs. But I don’t see the economy of EVs if you have to pay more for the EV technology at purchase and then still need to put gas in it to keep the battery charged for jaunts over and above the limit of the battery capacity, i.e the Volt, Tesla and Fisker.

  • avatar

    I only care about getting one EV on the road by 2015. The one that’s going to be in my driveway.

    [Makes “metal” sign with his hand]

    Realistically, I might miss that target too. But when I buy my first new car, it will have an electric motor, or something equally cool, under the hood. Else, there’s no reason for me personally to drop new-car money on old tech.

    • 0 avatar

      Unless you can’t afford it or get to work some other way?

      • 0 avatar

        I earn a dot-com salary in a college town, I would be able to afford a new car easily. Except that I’m a dad, too, and daycare costs as much as my mortgage – we want a second kid before my wife finishes graduate school.

        My decisions, of course, and #firstworldproblems. But I do wonder why I having a kid requires an extra $12k/year (after taxes, +$18k/year salary) in income. Despite being a #firstworldproblem, it strikes me as a real problem and the main reason why educated couples who think ahead have so few children (relatively speaking), and I personally think that’s a bad thing.

        Anyway, #firstworldproblems! But daycare costs are literally the thing that’s holding up my personal EV adoption and keeping my using inefficient dirty-to-extract gasoline that is purchased through a global supply chain that is protected by the very expensive (and very competent) US military.

    • 0 avatar

      what’s with all the backslashes before quotes that have been showing up on the internet lately? Is everyone’s keyboard broken?

      • 0 avatar

        A quote mark is usually part of the syntax in most programming languages and other things, like database commands. In order to demonstrate that a quote mark is meant to be literal in quoted text, you usually put a slash before it when you store it in the database, or else whatever is interpreting the text string will think it’s a functional character.

        It must be a coding error — the output script isn’t stripping out the slashes.

  • avatar

    Mr. Obama did mention some mysterious research that will ‘make batteries 100 times more powerful’. He’s dreaming.

  • avatar

    In other breaking news…

    The senior editorial team of TTAC vows to beat this dead horse of a story one million times…one million times I tell ya.

    Oh and yeah, and the auto bailout was a massive failure, and pursuing any form of improved electric proplusion for cars is a fools bargain/ never gonna happen, etc etc etc.

    • 0 avatar

      Touchy much?

    • 0 avatar

      “The senior editorial team of TTAC vows to beat this dead horse of a story one million times…one million times I tell ya.”

      I agree. Who cares? I mean, really. Just takes up space. Normally I just skip these articles, but the constant dull roar means I glance at them once in a while, and nothing changes or advances in perspective. Just a merry chortle of anti-Obama anti electric car rabble-rousing.

      Ho hum.

  • avatar

    Will the author admit he was paid by the conservative koch-backed tea party groups I would listen to him more earnestly. Until then I’m just going to assume his journalistic integrity is overridden by his personal views.

    EVs are currently too expensive compared to the current traditional line ups. For the time being as long as the auto industry can meet CAFE standards with smaller motors and turbochargers they are going to. EVs are an eventuality if only because the standards aren’t going down. Bitch and moan in your cynicism. Well have plenty of EVs on the roads over the next 20 years.

    • 0 avatar

      -I see. Much better to get your news from a George Soros approved source than a Koch brothers’ approved source?
      -Automotive manufacturing attracts politicians of all stripes. Tariffs are enacted, “safety” regulations favoring domestic producers are created, chickens are taxed… It’s not politically biased to note that after billions in EV subsidies and mentions in previous State of the Union addresses, EVs were absent.

      • 0 avatar

        Nice you mentioned George Soros as if he is the equivalent of the Koch bros. investment. I would point out Soros has funded very little over the last few years and the sources I follow tend to be peer reviewed. But don’t let your false dichotomy get in the way of your personal views.

        So quickly….Tariffs are a form of protectionism that is merely a tool. You don’t profit from them being high or low. Ideology aside they can be useful if done right.

        Safety regulations like crumple zones, seat belts, and airbags save millions of lives.

        It is a state of the union address and is largely a popular agenda message. EVs are on the radar and are in the process of a slow roll out. Tesla is a serious player. Toyota & BMW just entered an alliance. EVs are coming. Nothing is changing that. Just because you’re a cynic and/or conservative doesn’t make it any less true.

  • avatar

    Im still trying to figure out the 54 mpg goal?
    54 mpg???? how the hell can any manufacturer do this?
    And this is supposed to be the ‘manufacturer average’…
    This is so ‘pie in the sky’ I cant even begin to believe its real.
    Actually the idea of illegal immigrants pulling rickshaws is more realistic.

  • avatar

    Those two guys behind him look so serious. Probably haven’t driven a Challenger SRT8 lately.

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