- Written by webmin
It’d be nice if, when we all agreed there was a problem that we could also all agree on what to do about it. Like oil. We don’t know anyone who says that using a lot of Middle Eastern oil is good. But we don’t really know any two people who agree on a solution, either.
As a result, there’s still a lot of flailing about, more than 35 years after OPEC I embargo first got us thinking seriously about foreign oil. We’d say we should trust the private sector to work it out, but average fuel economy has been stuck in the 19-22 MPG range for the last 25 years. There’s been progress lately, but every time gas prices dip, interest in fuel-efficient cars plunges.
When it comes to fully electric cars, the news is even worse. We can’t find anyone who’s compiled sales figures for 2009, which is surprising, because you can count them on your fingers: Tesla, by far the largest manufacturer of 50-state street legal electric automobiles in the US, had sold less than 1,000 cars, total, by the end of 2009. Not counting home-built or converted cars, nor specialty, low-speed vehicles (LSVs) such as the Zap electric truckling, weren’t 1,000 sold last year, and the forecast for 2010 – cheap gas, remember – is worse than for 2009.
With S.3495, “A bill to promote the deployment of plug-in electric drive vehicles, and for other purposes,” AKA “Promoting Electric Vehicles Act of 2010,” the Senate is taking a flail of its own.
Introduced June 15 by Sen. Byron L. Dorgan (ND), S.3495 lays out $4 billion (down from $11 billion in the original bill) with the aim of creating a National Plug-In Electric Drive Vehicle Deployment Program within the DOE. The Deployment Program would be responsible for creating an entire national framework for pure EVs, including $1.5 billion annually in research, and a $10 million battery prize.
Last Wednesday, July 21, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee passed the bill overwhelmingly, and Dorgan and cosponsor Sen Jeff Merkley (OR), are working on getting to a Senate floor vote. It’s not likely it will get there, though – this one is bound to die in committee, and even it did, a massive new Federal program is not going to get approved before the next Presidential election.
UPDATE: WSJ has a nice update on the state of the electric car market.