US support cuts cost for electric vehicles

The cost is for a battery that would propel a car for 100 miles, explains Recovery Act Investments: Transforming America's Transportation Sector.

The higher-volume domestic manufacturing that is incented by the Act will reduce the cost of that battery to US$16,000 by the end of 2013 and US$10,000 by 2015, “dramatically driving down the cost of an electric vehicle and greatly expanding the domestic market.”

The report documents how funds from the Recovery Act are creating jobs, constructing new plants, adding new manufacturing lines, installing electric vehicle charging stations and helping to build the emerging domestic electric vehicle industry.

Among key highlights in the report:

  • Before the Recovery Act, the US produced 2% of the world's batteries for advanced vehicles; investments under the Act means the USA will have capacity to produce 20% of batteries by 2012 and 40% by 2015;
  • All of the 9 new battery plants opening as a result of Recovery Act investments have started construction and four will be operational by the end of this year. Another 21 plants will make battery or electric vehicle components with the help of federal grants;
  • Before the Recovery Act, there were 500 electric vehicle charging locations across the USA; Recovery Act investments will boost this number to 20,000 by 2012; and
  • For every dollar of the US$2.4 billion in seed money provided by the Government for advanced battery and electric vehicles, private companies have matched it dollar for dollar.

The report was released in advance of President Obama's official groundbreaking of the Compact Power plant in Michigan. It received a US$151m grant under the Recovery Act to manufacture batteries to support 52,000 Chevy Volts each year and to supply batteries for the new electric Ford Focus.

As part of DoE’s US$12bn investment in advanced vehicle technologies, it is investing US$5bn to electrify the transportation sector. It has provided US$2.6bn in loans to Nissan, Tesla and Fisker to establish electric vehicle manufacturing facilities in Tennessee, California and Delaware.

Within the next few years, domestic manufacturers will produce batteries that last up to 14 years, the report explains, assuming drivers charge their vehicles 1.5 times per week.

“This should give consumers confidence that electric vehicle batteries will last the full life of the vehicle. In addition, longer lasting batteries reduce the potential for used batteries to become waste material.”