U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu estimates that plug-in vehicle battery costs will have dropped 70 percent between 2008 and 2015 and will fall another 58 percent between 2015 and 2020, giving hope to electric-drive vehicle advocates that the price premium for plug-ins relative to conventional vehicles will narrow during the next few years. Chu also said that the U.S. Energy Department is opening a research center dedicated to improve battery and energy-storage technologies for the transportation industry.

The advanced battery competition is a race the United States can and should win - Stephen Chu

Chu, in a speech at the Detroit Economic Club during the Detroit Auto Show (he's pictured above, right, speaking with Nissan's Mark Perry while checking out the Leaf), said that a plug-in hybrid-electric vehicle battery that can provide 40 miles of all-electric range will cost $3,600 in 2015, down from $12,000 in 2008. That battery's cost will fall to just $1,500 by the end of the decade, Chu added. "The advanced battery competition is a race the United States can and should win," Chu said.

Greater adoption of electric-drive technologies will likely be necessary for the U.S. to meet proposed CAFE standards for light-duty vehicles of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025, which is equivalent to about 40 miles per gallon measured by EPA standards. That would still be almost an 80 percent jump from 2010 model-year fleetwide fuel economy in the U.S.

Last year, Colorado-based Pike Research said Americans will buy about 300,000 BEVs and PHEVs in 2015, up from about 50,000 in 2011, while Michigan's Center for Automotive Research projected in early 2011 that U.S. electric-drive vehicle sales will increase to about 140,000 units in 2014 from about 30,000 last year.

This is not the first time Chu has strongly supported the idea of a plug-in vehicle, not by a long shot. As he said at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Cancun in late 2010, battery-electric vehicles could be competitive with gas-powered cars within five years as technological advancements and greater BEV adoption helps push down battery costs and increase single-charge ranges.


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  • 58 Comments
      goodoldgorr
      • 3 Years Ago
      Many good news about batteries today, the new ones from ibm then the old ones getting cheaper. Im becoming more and more interrested to buy but for now no one is offering something to buy in montreal canada. Also if ever some green car find their way into winterized canada then i might wait another year to see if they perform well in snow ice and cold. I will buy the same thing as santa claus that live in the north pole, nothing less, no fuel and flying capability.
        Dave D
        • 3 Years Ago
        @goodoldgorr
        ROFLMAO!!! Thank you Gorr, that was great!
      • 3 Years Ago
      This is probably evidence that is IS easier to go electric than biofuels (being that batteries are like 50 times more efficient than the growing of energy crops). Coupled with an advanced molten salt or molten metal reactor (an already proven concept 50 years ago), could power many times the current store of hydrocarbons! Heck, we should use LFTR (the liquid fluoride thorium reactor) or similar to power robotic factories that make solar panels... hundreds of thousands of square miles of them... just to address the jobs issue!
        • 3 Years Ago
        I forgot to add... Wasn't Chu a major in biology?
          DaveMart
          • 3 Years Ago
          No. 'Steven Chu was born in St. Louis, Missouri, on February 28, 1948. He attendedthe University of Rochester, from which he received a B.S. in physics and A.B. degree in mathematics. He then continued his education at the University of California at Berkeley, which awarded him a Ph.D. in physics in 1976. He remained at Berkeley for two more years, then accepted a position at Bell Laboratories in New Jersey. In 1983, he was appointed head of the quantum electronics research departmentat the AT&T Bell Laboratories in Holmdel, New Jersey. It was during thistime that Chu conducted the experiments for which he was awarded the 1997 Nobel Prize for Physics.' http://www.madehow.com/inventorbios/79/Steven-Chu.html
      ____|____
      • 3 Years Ago
      Chu, LOL This is the same guy that lost 1/2 billion at Solyndra.
        lne937s
        • 3 Years Ago
        @____|____
        Although Solyndra lost money, the program is doing what it is supposed to be doing. Find any major emerging technology fund that hasn't lost money on one of its investment. DOE's track record has been pretty good overall. The downfall of Solyndra is due in part to the success of the program. With the loan guarantees, they sought to both increase US production and support technologies that reduce the cost of solar panels to a point that they are economically viable without subsidies. That reduction in panel cost is happening far faster than anyone could have anticipated, with the price dropping more than 50% last year alone. With the establishment of an industry and dropping costs, there will be some consolidation-- Solyndra is an example of that. On the flip side, First Solar (one of the other loan recipients) has developed a highly automated manufacturing process that is not labor intensive (which is essential to compete with countries with low labor costs like China) and has reached the point where installations are profitable without subsidies, relying on guys like Warren Buffet for funding rather than DOE loans. Solar installations were up 54% last year globally, despite a reduction in subsidies. DOE loan guarantee recipients kept this country competitive that industry. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-01-12/clean-energy-investment-rises-to-a-record-260-billion-on-solar.html However, in the big picture, $500MM (a little over a $1 per person) is not that much money compared to other government spending and the potential long-term benefit to this country of renewable energy. And remember that the government gets back ~1/4 of the revenue made by companies that manufacture and assemble systems in the US (largely through taxes paid by/for employees), so the potential manufacturing revenue of the successful companies that recieved loan guarantees will undoubtedly lead to more tax revenue in the long run... Not to mention all the other benefits of renewable energy to this country.
          brotherkenny4
          • 3 Years Ago
          @lne937s
          The cost of Solyndra was not the half a billion everyone says it was. That was the loan guarentee amount which is different than what the Feds will end up paying. No one has reported the true cost because it is still being worked out. But to say that it was a half billion is either ignorant or intentionally dishonest. Because, what we do know is that there was some equity there, and that they had not spent a half billion. But this is boring you all isn't it. These facts that just don't fit into a rant very we'll. I know some of you just go with what information is in the press, but you have to realize that we don't have a press any more. We have propaganda machines that work for the highest bidders.
          Gabbo
          • 3 Years Ago
          @lne937s
          WOW - what a spinmeister ! Solyndra went BANKRUPT, son ... our money has been flushed -half a billion dollars of it, and it is Obama and Chu's fault. With power comes responsibility ... all you give us is rhetoric.
          lne937s
          • 3 Years Ago
          @lne937s
          No major investment bank has never lost on an investment. Every major nations' military has lost a battle. No major sporting team has never lost a game. Every major car company has introduced a car that has failed. Any time you try to do anything, there is a chance of failure. When you invest in emerging technologies, there is the potential for loss. If you evaluate things a failures based on your perspective of never having a single loss, then the US military is a failure, every investment bank is a failure, every sporting team is a failure and every car company is a failure. Taking that perspective, early man would have never crawled out of his cave. You need to evaluate programs based on overall results. Any time you are investing in emerging technology, there is tremendous potential for gain, but also potential for loss. The failure of Solyndra is the result of them not being able to compete on cost due to the success of other solar manufacturers who reduced costs faster, resulting in more successful solar installations with less in subsidies. For some of the DOE loan guarantee recipients to truly succeed and compete globally, it may end up with the failure of other loan guarantee recipients, but the overall result is tremendous progress for a fraction of what we spend on fossil fuel or nuclear subsidies (there have also been a number of cancelled nuclear plants that were funded with DOE loans), what we have spent on cancelled weapons programs, or what we lose in tax revenue from petroleum imports (the majority of the trade deficit). In the end, the reduced cost of panels from DOE funding will lead to reduced cost for installed solar, reduced or eliminated subsidies, reduced pollution (and taxpayer-funded health costs), etc. We have made major progress through many successful DOE investments, despite the failure of Solyndra. The $500MM figure only really impresses people with no idea how big our economy truly is or people who have trouble with math.
        PR
        • 3 Years Ago
        @____|____
        Hey ass-crack (that's what ____|____ stands for, is @ss crack, right?) -- What does the prices of batteries have to do with Solyndra? Zippo. Zillch. Nadda. But thanks for flagging yourself as a closed-minded political hack with your off-topic mention of them.
          EZEE
          • 3 Years Ago
          @PR
          I prefer to see boobs....
        Ford Future
        • 3 Years Ago
        @____|____
        I always recommend to right wingers 3 web sites to de-program yourselves out of the Fox-Limbaugh phyop's you've been brainwashed by. - Scientific American - http://www.physorg.com/ - The Financial Times. Read those for 3 months, then come back. Thanks
          ____|____
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Ford Future
          Gabbo, it's the Democrat battle cry. It's makes it easier to spot them. They jump to flinging insults and making random unrelated anologies. A particular favorite diversion tactic is to mention a shock jock radio host in Florida. I have no clue what that reference has to do with Chu blowing 1/2 billion dollars, not Chu giving favor in the contracts to making sure the campaign donors backing Solyndra got their money paid back instead of the tax payers loan. Fordinsight, care to link my comment and how it relates to the shock jock you mentioned. I don't listen to him, so not sure the correlation.
          Gabbo
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Ford Future
          Always some smug, smarmy attack from this poster - she must be overdue for some lovin !
          Ford Future
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Ford Future
          Gabbo, if it's not Limbaugh, then tell us who does your brainwashing?
      Dan Frederiksen
      • 3 Years Ago
      60km range never did cost 12k$ in 2008. he's clueless as usual. the 3600 is about what it costs now, not in 2015 and it could be much cheapter than that if the damned car wasn't so stupidly heavy Chu.
      reconfreya
      • 3 Years Ago
      Why is this guy still in this position. He needs to resign NOW, at the very least. Better yet, arrest him for crimes against the taxpayers. What a fraud.
        Joeviocoe
        • 3 Years Ago
        @reconfreya
        Why? Because he doesn't think Global Climate change is a hoax to steal your monies?
          Dan Frederiksen
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Joeviocoe
          ferd, you might try sites like nasa and ipcc. man made global warming has been an obvious fact for over 30 years
          Ford Future
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Joeviocoe
          I hope it's not the Climate Change thing. The stat's are in, and it's bad. Here's a place you can see with your own eyes. http://www.worldviewofglobalwarming.org/pages/glaciers.html
          Dan Frederiksen
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Joeviocoe
          ah never mind. I thought you were a denier
      reconfreya
      • 3 Years Ago
      Why is this guy still in this position. He needs to resign NOW, at the very least. Better yet, arrest him for crimes against the taxpayers. What a fraud.
        Dan Frederiksen
        • 3 Years Ago
        @reconfreya
        he should be fired but probably not for the reasons you think. even assuming you have reasons in mind.
        EZEE
        • 3 Years Ago
        @reconfreya
        actually, I am not a fan of chu, but, listing your reeasons might be cool. Agree or disagree with all the kids on this site, most are somewhat researched, and some (PR and Marco) are scary researched. Doesn't mean we have to agree with either, but, you will be ripped apart if you cannot back up your position. Now...you already have people agreeing..,but...why?
          Dan Frederiksen
          • 3 Years Ago
          @EZEE
          Marco polo is deranged
          Ray Blackburn
          • 3 Years Ago
          @EZEE
          I always start out my, "Point, Counter Point", with, Dan you ignorant slut! Same as Dan Aykroyd in, "Saturday Night Live".
          EZEE
          • 3 Years Ago
          @EZEE
          deranged or not, he does research most of his posts. Besides, one doesn't have to agree to realize a person has their point backed up. It is always good to hear all points on an argument. Hence, I like realclearenergy.org. Usually there are two articles on a subject (at least). Good to see the talking points, if for nothing else's to see how to argue back. Or, if a person just wants to be obnoxious, then they will always have a counter point, regardless of the argument...
          Letstakeawalk
          • 3 Years Ago
          @EZEE
          Dan F is deranged.
      Smith Jim
      • 3 Years Ago
      It seems that cars and politics are things that people are passionate about. I apologize to anyone I offended with my retarded comments.
      Gabbo
      • 3 Years Ago
      Then again, you might want to take this clowns expertise with a grain of salt - he's the one who just blew over $500 MILLION on the Solyndra payoff scandall ! Where do you libs keep finding these crooks ?
        Ford Future
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Gabbo
        Solyndra is nothing compared to the Fracking Damage to fresh water, and cancer clusters in Pennsylvania and across the country.
          lne937s
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Ford Future
          Here is some more info on fracking pertaining to contaminated groundwater and radioactivity: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-01-11/fracking-s-political-support-unshaken-by-doctors-call-for-ban.html http://blogs.reuters.com/muniland/2012/01/13/frackings-externalities/ http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/N/NY_GAS_DRILLING_NY_EPA?SITE=ILBLO&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT
          DaveMart
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Ford Future
          Its a bit much keeping on posting the same nonsense, with absolutely no grounds given, simply your own prejudiced and misinformed opinion when you have been pointed time after time to reputable sources laying bare the gross exaggerations in those claims. For the benefit of anyone who wrongly thinks you have any idea what you are talking about, here is yet another link, this time the British Geological Society: http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn21341-fracking-risk-is-exaggerated.html
          DaveMart
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Ford Future
          Ine, My intention was to critique posts which simply make declarations rather than present an argument. It is a fairly difficult format here to get into very detailed discussion, but although the industry needs proper regulation especially in respect to disposal of waste water and what fluids you can use for fracking there would not appear to me to be any show stoppers. The biggest reason for this is that the fracking happens at around 2 kilometres below the surface, and drinking water supplies usually come from around 50 metres below the surface. Other than leaks in the casing or improper disposal of waste water, which is no greater in volume than that from many other industrial processes, there is really no way for the fluids to make their way up into the drinking water supply.
      Dave
      • 3 Years Ago
      I hope he's right. But we've heard these battery promises for 100+ years.
        Letstakeawalk
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Dave
        Well, batteries have made remarkable achievements in that time.
        Smith Jim
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Dave
        The reason I asked how old you are is your statement, "we've heard about these battery promises for 100+ years". I want to know your secret to living past 100. (It was a joke not meant to insult you, I promise)
        JakeY
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Dave
        More process had been made in the past 20 years (moving from lead-acid/nickel-cadium to Nimh and lithium-ion), than in the previous 100+ years. And that's in the consumer market, not just promises.
        Smith Jim
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Dave
        How old are you?!
          Dave
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Smith Jim
          Old enough to know how to read: "Electricity is one of the oldest automobile propulsion methods still in use today; it predates the invention of Diesel's and Benz's Otto cycle-engines by several decades." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_electric_vehicle
      • 3 Years Ago
      Everybody hopes that drop of battarries' prices would be there even earlier. Then EV prices would drop significantly down. Find your charging station www.evmaps.info
      Smith Jim
      • 3 Years Ago
      Before reading any of these comments I knew there would be people bashing Steven Chu. This Nobel prize-winning physicist is about fifty times more knowledgeable about energy than all of us combined. I'd bet that every one of the Steven Chu critics have not taken even one college level physics class. For those of you who do support non-polluting energy you might find this interesting. http://www.earthtechling.com/2012/01/obama-drives-clean-energy-boom-on-public-lands/
        Dave D
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Smith Jim
        Smith Jim, Great link! Thanks.
        PR
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Smith Jim
        Not only is Chu a Nobel prize-winning physicist, he also has access to confidential information from the car manufacturers that none of us here have. No matter how brilliant we all are, insider information like Chu has access to means he knows what we don't know. Sadly, this site has now successfully been infiltrated by enough pro-oil politically motivated people that anything related to Obama gets the blind hate treatment.
          ____|____
          • 3 Years Ago
          @PR
          SUV tax loop hole was created in 1997 under the Democrat President Bill Clinton.!!!!!!!!!!!!!
          Gabbo
          • 3 Years Ago
          @PR
          What the ...?? Are you just gonna give him a free pass for blowing half a billion dollars ( when kids are hungry) on Solyndra ? Come on - he not only BLOWS the money, he blows it by paying off major donors to the DNC and OWEbama. Fisker, anyone ? And you call this clown brilliant ?
          Ford Future
          • 3 Years Ago
          @PR
          I think it's just Gabbo with 5 fake accounts.
          Ray Blackburn
          • 3 Years Ago
          @PR
          Gabbo, wouldn't it be great to have Bush Jr and Cheney back, they would be creative and invite the oil CEO'S to develop a energy policy that would help send this country into the greatest recession since the 30's. Bush's policy of giving 100k dollar tax breaks for Hummers showed extreme foresight and was a wonderful experience for him at the end of his term.
          Letstakeawalk
          • 3 Years Ago
          @PR
          Yep, Dan F is obviously a pro-oil partisan - his hatred of Chu is proof of that! OTOH, while I don't always agree with the decisions Chu makes, I certainly respect his judgement and his expertise. As you state - he has access to proprietary info that regular people don't. Maybe that's why the DoE used a hydrogen fuel cell to power their Christmas tree? LOL.
          PR
          • 3 Years Ago
          @PR
          LTAW -- I wasn't talking about Dan. Dan is dan. That's just what Dan does. I was talking about the steady stream of new politically motivated anti-Obama folks that flush through here.
          Dave D
          • 3 Years Ago
          @PR
          Yeah, I've noticed that Gabbo can say the most asinine things and suddenly get 8+ votes in the next 5 minutes. I've seen people say things on here that EVERYONE agrees with and not get those kinds of votes so fast. Gabbo is clearly stuffing the ballet box.
      Ford Future
      • 3 Years Ago
      The Lead in Reverse Koch Brother funded Republicans will do all they can to stop this kind of progress. I don't know why.
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