Speaking at a Daimler truck plant in North Carolina, Obama set a 2022 goal of having the U.S. produce a five-passenger electric vehicle that would provide both a payback time – thanks to lower refueling costs – of less than five years and an ability to be recharged quickly enough to provide enough range for the typical American driver. Obama highlighted Envia Systems, which he said may be able to halve the cost of an EV battery providing a 300-mile single-charge range. The DOE notes that, since electricity beats gasoline on cost to power your car including savings on fuel costs, added convenience, and reduced maintenance costs. Electricity is cheaper than gasoline to power a vehicle and EVs "can also be more reliable, require less maintenance, and offer the same or better driving performance compared to today's gasoline-powered vehicles" this is a technology worth pursuing.
EV Everywhere is part of a plan the White House announced this week as part of its pitch for $4.7 billion to accelerate advanced-powertrain development. The Obama Administration proposed spending $3.7 billion on tax credits for alternative-fueled vehicles like compressed natural gas (CNG) cars and another $1 billion directed to a dozen or so local communities for infrastructure improvements that will speed up alt-fueled vehicle adoption. The White House specifically noted that driving an EV would save the typical American driver about $100 a month in refueling costs.
Such advances may allow automakers to meet more stringent greenhouse-gas emissions standards the White House set last year. President Obama last July reached a tentative agreement with the major automakers that would establish a 54.5 mile-per-gallon Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standard for passenger vehicles – or about 40 miles per gallon in real-world EPA standards – in 2025. The White House is pushing for 5 percent annual fuel-economy increases in passengers cars starting in 2017, while light trucks would be subject to slightly less stringent standards.
As the Democratic presidential candidate in 2008, Obama set a goal of getting Americans to buy 1 million plug-in vehicles annually by 2015, and reiterated those goals in his late January State of the Union address.
Goal to develop electric vehicles more affordable and convenient than gas-powered vehicles for the average American family within a decade
Mt. Holly, N.C. – At an event today at the Daimler Truck factory in Mt. Holly, N.C., President Obama launched EV-Everywhere, the second in a series of Energy Department "Clean Energy Grand Challenges" aimed at addressing the most pressing energy challenges of our time. The EV Everywhere Challenge will bring together America's best and brightest scientists, engineers, and businesses to work collaboratively to make electric vehicles more affordable and convenient to own and drive than today's gasoline-powered vehicles within the next 10 years.
Today's announcement is part of President Obama's all-of-the-above approach energy strategy to protect American consumers from high gas prices over the long-term by offering consumers cost-effective alternatives to gasoline-powered vehicles and helping to reduce the country's dependence on foreign oil.
"The Energy Department's Clean Energy Grand Challenges will engage America's scientists, engineers and young people to solve some of the nation's biggest energy challenges and make clean energy technologies affordable and accessible to the vast majority of American families and businesses," said Secretary Chu. "The EV-Everywhere Challenge is focused on advancing electric vehicle technologies and continuing to reduce costs, so that a decade from now, electric vehicles will be more affordable and convenient to own than today's gasoline-powered vehicles."
Electric vehicles can offer consumers significant advantages over gasoline-powered vehicles, including savings on fuel costs, added convenience, and reduced maintenance costs. Electricity is cheaper than gasoline to power a vehicle – generally equivalent to less than $1 per gallon – and consumers are able to conveniently fuel up at home. Electric vehicles can also be more reliable, require less maintenance, and offer the same or better driving performance compared to today's gasoline-powered vehicles. And winning the EV-Everywhere Challenge will put the U.S. in the lead to manufacture and export the next generation of advanced electric vehicles and electric vehicle components, creating good paying manufacturing jobs and stimulating the American economy.
American automakers and automotive suppliers are currently pioneering the way forward in getting the first wave of electric vehicles into the hands of a significant number of U.S. drivers. But today, the prices of these cars are still out of reach for the majority of American families. This Department-wide initiative, which will bring together DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy's Vehicle Technologies Program, the Office of Science, and ARPA-E, will aim to make electric vehicles affordable to the average American family by specifically targeting dramatic technological and cost improvements in batteries, electric motors, power electronics, light-weight structures, and fast charging technology.
The aggressive goal of this initiative is, by the year 2022, to enable companies in the United States to be the first in the world to produce a 5-passenger affordable American electric vehicle with a payback time of less than 5 years and sufficient range and fast-charging ability to enable average Americans everywhere to meet their daily transportation needs more conveniently and at lower cost.
The Challenge will involve working with industry, universities, our national laboratories and government partners to set technical goals for cutting costs for the batteries and electric drivetrain systems, including motors and power electronics, reducing the vehicle weights while maintaining safety, and increasing fast-charge rates. As part of this process and to inspire and recruit the best and brightest American scientists, engineers, and businesses to tackle this electric vehicle grand challenge Secretary Chu and the Department of Energy will be organizing a series of EV-EVerywhere Challenge workshops across the country over the next few months.
With support from the Energy Department, private industry and DOE's national laboratories have already achieved significant advances in electric vehicle and advanced battery technologies, reducing costs and improving performance significantly from even a few years before. For example, one of the Department's grantees, Envia Systems, announced last week at the ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit that they have achieved a major breakthrough in battery R&D: doubling the energy density for lithium-ion batteries and setting the world record for energy density in rechargeable lithium-ion batteries. The breakthrough could result in a 50 percent reduction in the price of the battery on a 300-mile range electric vehicle, and came several years ahead of initial projections.
The EV-Everywhere Challenge is the second of the Energy Department's Grand Challenges, following the model of the $1/watt SunShot Challenge, which seeks to make solar power directly cost-competitive with electricity from fossil fuels by the end of the decade. Over the next few months, the Department of Energy will announce a series of additional Grand Challenges, each focused on pursuing technical innovations and reductions in cost that will enable clean energy technologies to compete directly, without subsidies, with the energy technologies that are currently in wide use today.