Secretary Chu Says 1 Million EVs by 2015 Is "Ambitious"

By · February 01, 2013

Steven Chu and Chevy Volt

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.

Comments

· · 1 year ago

He has not stated that he is stepping down. That should make the climate change deniers happy.

· · 1 year ago

I need to proof read better. He has now stated that he is stepping down.

· · 1 year ago

I'm happy.. Now what creep is going to replace him?

This guy has been as effective as Dick Cheney in that there is still no requirement that Hydrofracking companies disclose the filth with which they are polluting our ground water. And the radioactive radium in the fracking water entrails from Pennsylvania is dumped in my state due to another conveniently placed Loophole.

How can he supposedly worry about Global Warming Fairy Tales, when he doesn't give a thought to a 50 year life Nuclear Plant generating 5000 years of waste? The Westinghouse AP1000 reactor he is so found of has no room for error in its containment design, but then, many existing 'foolproof Containments' are leaking anyway.. And now they are in many plants uprating these designed for 40 year lifetimes either 60 or 80 year certifications, plus running them Hotter and Harder than the engineers originally designed.

(Full Disclosure: I make money when people use Solar Panels, so, some here will no doubt say I have a conflict of interest. Well, may be) ...But a Solar Panel does not have the ability to Destroy a Country, as we are in the process of seeing AGAIN. The NY academy of sciences has just stated the number of fatalities from Chernobyl will ultimately be 985,000. Seems to me that Fukushima will be 3 times as bad, seeing as the Complex has already experience 3 China Syndromes (i.e. MeltDown, then Melt-Through). How wonderful that we still hae 23 -32 (depending on who is counting) Fukushima style Nuke plants in the US.

· · 1 year ago

@Bill

Since you are such a proponent of solar energy I was wondering why you keep on badmouthing your utility company from time to time? Why not generate all the energy that you need including your cars from your roof?

I did it here in the bay area with an 11.8 KW system and do not pay for any energy anymore in day to day living. Is it is hard to do that in your part of the US? As far as
I am concerned my utility company PG&E can go climb a tree. :)

· · 1 year ago

Well for one thing My area is not ideal, but the way I've handled the problem is the majority of my usage is for my two electric cars. The rest of the house runs on gas to the extent conventionally possible. Last month, the marginal cost of gas here worked out to 2 2/5 cents / kwh. Thats about 1/5 of my electric marginal cost. EV's are cheaper 3 of the 4 seasons. Its only when running my electric heaters in the car that EV's are more expensive than gasoline. I like to think I'm doing my part toward using domestically produced energy as opposed to encouraging Foreign Wars.

The subject is a bit too hot to talk about in this forum, but suffice it to say the less petroleum I use the better I feel about it. And I would pay more for methane if it would mean stopping the well water contamination going on , and radioactive radium fowling of NY State waters from Pennsylvania fracking operations.

I dont really bitch about utilities as much as I do my Property Taxes. All the utilities combined are only about 20% of my property taxes.

As far as a solar panel installation I have to say I'm considering it. Step one would be a solar water heater, since its the biggest bang for the buck, even with our cheap methane currently. We do have net metering here, used to be 10 KW, but knowing national grid they've probably tried to back this off to 3 kw or something, which would still be ok. I'll have to investigate and get back to you. For residence its a full one to one reimbursement, or at least it used to be. Commercial was horrible. They'd only buy back the juice at 10% of what they sold it for.

· · 1 year ago

Well for one thing My area is not ideal, but the way I've handled the problem is the majority of my usage is for my two electric cars. The rest of the house runs on gas to the extent conventionally possible. Last month, the marginal cost of gas here worked out to 2 2/5 cents / kwh. Thats about 1/5 of my electric marginal cost. EV's are cheaper 3 of the 4 seasons. Its only when running my electric heaters in the car that EV's are more expensive than gasoline. I like to think I'm doing my part toward using domestically produced energy as opposed to encouraging Foreign Wars.

The subject is a bit too hot to talk about in this forum, but suffice it to say the less petroleum I use the better I feel about it. And I would pay more for methane if it would mean stopping the well water contamination going on , and radioactive radium fowling of NY State waters from Pennsylvania fracking operations.

I dont really bitch about utilities as much as I do my Property Taxes. All the utilities combined are only about 20% of my property taxes.

As far as a solar panel installation I have to say I'm considering it. Step one would be a solar water heater, since its the biggest bang for the buck, even with our cheap methane currently. We do have net metering here, used to be 10 KW, but knowing national grid they've probably tried to back this off to 3 kw or something, which would still be ok. I'll have to investigate and get back to you. For residence its a full one to one reimbursement, or at least it used to be. Commercial was horrible. They'd only buy back the juice at 10% of what they sold it for.

· · 1 year ago

Good news and bad.

The good news is they will accept up to 25 kw. Bad news is they sell it to me for 12 cents / kwh but will only buy it back for 6. So obviously if I could use the energy while its generated the value of it would be 12 cents/ kwh. If I have an excess, then the excess is only worth 6. Of course, its a bit phony in that the electricity they are buying for 6 is immediately sold to my next door neighbor for 12 !!!

· · 1 year ago

Well 25KW is more than enough for your needs. A solar system is now at $2/watt after state and federal rebates if you ignore the cost of money. I ignore the cost of money as mortgage rates are at 2.5% with 40% tax break in interest. Using a 25 year life the cost of solar power in your area (NY?) is about 7c/Kwh. Now if you install a geothermal heat pump like waterfurnace you will gain a 5X efficiency in energy over gas powered solutions. That means effectively 1.4c/Kwh which is cheaper than gas. The geo system will cost money off course and that 2.4 c for gas will increase very soon as the evils of fracking become more evident. Do the math and size your system to just take care of your yearly needs.
You may be surprised. Then you can say bye bye to your utility company forever.

· · 1 year ago

My Leaf costs 3.2 cents per mile on wind energy. I will never purchase another vehicle that doesn't plug in.

igh,

The cost of solar in my area, St. Louis, Missouri is about $5 per installed Watt ($1.50 after tax credit and $2 per Watt Ameren-Missouri rebate). Living in an apartment is the ONLY reason I'm not buying solar at this time. Fortunately, wind energy is 9.5 cents per kiloWatt-hour in Missouri.

Geothermal heat pumps are amazing thermodynamic machines but they're quite expensive. That money might be better spent retrofitting a house to be extremely energy efficient. Another reason geothermal heat pump might not be worth the extra cost is air-to-air heat pump efficiency has increased to almost geothermal heat pump levels. The Carrier Infinity 20 has an HSPF of 13. That's 3.8 X energy efficiency (380% efficient).

The important thing to remember is: Any type of heat pump running on wind or solar energy has an EXTREMELY small carbon footprint.

· · 1 year ago

Yes the geo costs money but may make sense in more severe winters like upstate NY. I live in the bay area and could not justify the geo. In fact air heat pump + extra solar offset was cheaper than any geo + solar. My Rheem is at HSPF 10 only and I could easily achieve energy neutral status. But the aux heat does turn on from 15 Dec to 15 Jan and then it becomes an energy hog. In upstate NY this problem will be more severe.

· · 1 year ago

@igh

Thanks for the advice. I'd need a pretty big solar array to run all the equipment you are talking about. As I say, since solar water heaters are more efficient than solar cells at this point in time, I'll go with solar water for starters. Even at a COP of 3.8 as you mention with the most expensive water furnace, It will currently still be more pricey than my Natural Gas, unless of course I have the huge solar cells, etc.

And its true, since the solar water heater is just displacing cheap gas, the savings are not currently huge, but should gas get pricey in the future, then i'm prepared.

Great Stuff to think about...Enough people and businesses are purchasing solar cells otherwise that it doesn't really matter whether I personally have them. But its fun to go over the various permutations.

· · 1 year ago

The environmental cost of natural gas is enormous. Wind and solar energy have life cycle greenhouse gas emissions that are 1/10th to 1/50th that of natural gas assuming the natural gas leakage rate is zero. Because methane is a powerful greenhouse gas (25 times more heat trapping than CO2 over 100 years) natural gas has the same warming effect as burning coal if the leakage rate is between 2% and 3%. Some experts believe the leakage rate is 4% or higher but nobody knows for sure. The natural gas industry is suing the EPA to keep NG leakage data from being made public.

· · 1 year ago

@igh

"As far as I am concerned my utility company PG&E can go climb a tree. :)"

Don't be so arrogant. Unless you have a grid-free system (which I doubt), you are extremely dependent on PG&E to be a 'battery' for you. You trade daytime power you generate with them for night-time electricity at night. Without them, your system would be much more complicated and expensive.

· · 1 year ago

I love the natural gas argument made with a myopic lens
Please note this is a finite resource
If we magically convert manufacture a substantial number of cars trucks to nat gas
Simultaneously building massive infrastructure to hold and transport this fuel
Then we increase the number do nat gas cars every year what will happen to this finite resource price.
That is we increase demand for finite limited resource.

Yes nat gas we have a lot of it
Yes nat gas is cheap now
NO this will not stay at low prices for the next 10 years

I think the volatility of nat gas price is never emphasized
Everyone has rose colored glasses on regarding this thinking it will stay low forever

Of course electrical grid has been built
We have very god long term data on Kwh prices I
As noted on many other posts consumers can become producers with small scale solar or even wind

Hands down EV wins over nat gas for great majority of vehicles

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