According to the recent Reuters article below, the US government is undeterred by lower than expected sales of plug-in hybrids and are focusing on lowering the cost of batteries.
Industry and government are on track to bring down the cost of batteries to power hybrid and electric cars, which is crucial for improving commercial appeal of those vehicles, U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu said.
Chu said at the Detroit Economic Club the Obama administration is not deterred by soft sales of plug-ins in their first full year in showrooms, nor does it worry about the potential for overcapacity in battery production.
And, he said, the administration is sticking to its goal of seeing up to 1 million electric and plug-in hybrids on U.S. roads by the middle of next decade -- a goal industry insiders believe is over-optimistic.
"If you look at what they've done, they've done it wisely," Chu said of measured initial production of the mostly electric Volt by General Motors (GM.N) and the fully electric Leaf, made by Nissan (7201.T).
The two sold fewer than 20,000 of those vehicles combined in 2011, fewer than expected.
The government has spent more than $2 billion under the Obama administration to underwrite domestic battery production, and billions more to finance electric car development to cut U.S. oil imports and reduce pollution.
Government and industry officials say bringing down battery costs is critical to meeting those goals, and Chu cited aggressive steps and measurable progress.
Chu said batteries suitable for plug-in hybrids four years ago cost about $12,000 to produce.
"That's pretty expensive. We think we're on target by 2015 so that the cost of that same capacity battery will be reduced to $3,600, a really aggressive step in the right direction," Chu said.
The goal, he added, is to more than halve the cost by 2020.
"Once you get a battery that's $1,500 and much less expensive electric motors, which we are also working on, then you get to a very exciting price point," he said.
For more attend Electric Vehicles Land Sea Air USA 2012 ,where uniquely we reflect the new realities that there are now six key enabling technologies and they are competing in all forms of EV, hybrid, pure electric and land, water and airborne, manned and unmanned. Speakers from ten countries detail the situation in their parts of the world including SYNPER 3 from Singapore, first to fly an electric helicopter recently, showing how up to 35% of helicopter crashes could be avoided with hybrid electric technology. Sun Yat-Sen University China and Germany Trade & Invest detail their national situations. Next generation batteries are covered by Robert Bosch (Bosch Group) of Germany, Oxis Energy UK, IBM USA and others. OLEV Technologies will show how to continuously pick up power, Schneider Electric of France how modern charging infrastructure is a system not boxes. There will be two presentations on supercapacitor breakthroughs - here is the future. See the full picture, with best-in-class speakers from across the whole world - Slovenia to Gibraltar, China to Canada, each carefully chosen by IDTechEx because of their leadership. There are two presentations on agricultural EVs and five on electric aircraft including Boeing and Airbus involvement. Other presenters include BMW (cars etc), Mitsubishi Motors (small commercial vehicles and cars), Daimler AG (commercial and military vehicles and cars) and Toyota (leader in electric forklifts, electric cars and buses but also presenting on its fuel cell vehicle program.) Uniquely, a large number of electric vehicle manufacturers not seen in conventional EV events will present including iRobot Corporation Autonomous Underwater Vehicles AUVs (better known for EVs as robot vacuum cleaners). Mission Motors and two others focus on electric motor cycles. Many manufacturers of industrial, commercial, military, cars and other EVs will be there. Come to this event where you avoid the usual speakers with nothing new to say and meet people new and useful to you without doing a lot of travelling to find them. You can also apply for an award.
Also read Car Traction Batteries - The New Gold Rush 2012-2022 and Electric Vehicle Industry Profitability 2012 - Where, Why, What Next.