Secretary Chu Says 1 Million EVs by 2015 Is "Ambitious"
Speaking at the Washington Auto Show, Steven Chu, the current Secretary of Energy, hinted that the Obama administration’s goal of having one million electric vehicles on the nation’s roadways by 2015 would not be possible. “It’s ambitious, but we’ll see what happens,” Chu said, according to a report by The New York Times.
Instead, Chu stressed that exact timetables were less vital than the progress already being made in getting more eco-friendly vehicles into the U.S. market. He singled out strong sales of the Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid, along with a much lower base price for the 2013 Nissan LEAF EV, which was recently announced at the Detroit Auto Show, as proof the country was moving in a positive direction.
If the price of electric cars continues to drop, Chu believes federal subsidies might no longer be necessary to lure car buyers into them. "We can get to $20,000 (per car) with no subsidies by 2022. This would be very exciting. When you get close to that—even when you get to $25,000—the market will speak for itself," said Chu, in comments published by TheHill.com.
For the moment, however, Chu emphasized that there would be no changes to the current structure of EV subsidies. He also announced an effort to get large companies to install charging stations at workplaces, in a bid to make EVs more practical for people living in apartments, or who otherwise don’t have the option of recharging an EV overnight at home.
One subject Chu managed to avoid entirely was the question regarding whether or not he will soon step down from his position atop the Department of Energy. The move is widely expected, especially with last week’s announcement that Ray LaHood would be stepping down as Secretary of Transportation. Yet Chu stuck to his electric vehicle talking points and chose not to discuss his future.
Update: The Energy Department said Friday Chu has offered his resignation to President Obama.
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