U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu has long been a supporter of electric vehicles (EVs). A big one. So let's consider his most recent pro-EV statements in that context. Speaking during the annual U.N. climate talks in Cancun, Reuters reports, Chu said that battery-powered cars will start being competitive with gas-powered ones in about five years:
It's not like it's 10 years off. It's about five years and it could be sooner. Meanwhile the batteries we do have today are soon going to get better by a factor of two.
Chu's list of improvements includes batteries that last 15 years, have five to seven times more energy storage capacity and are a lot cheaper – by a factor of three – than today's packs. That's a tall order, even for someone who has the funds to keep supporting further improvements. As regular readers know, the DOE has thrown a lot of money at plug-in vehicle companies, like Tesla, Nissan and Fisker. The DOE's Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy is also investing around $400 million in advanced automotive batteries. Chu told Reuters that even if only 10 percent of the projects in that program eventually appear on the scene, they'll play a big role in making the world more cleaner and energy secure.

UPDATE: Dan F. sent us a link to a video of Chu speaking at the conference. You can watch it after the jump.

[Source: Reuters via Treehugger]

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