Thursday, August 4, 2011

Obama's Electric Car Fantasy

Just 4 months ago, President Obama predicted that there will be 1 million electric cars on the American roads "by" 2015 and that this will help to significantly reduce our dependence on imported oil. Of course, this comes from the same person who said his Stimulus Package would keep unemployment below 8%; and, who said his Home Affordable Mortgage Program (HAMP) would keep 9 million families from losing their homes to foreclosure when only 600,000 have been saved so far; and, who declared last summer as the "Summer of Recovery" when, in fact, things only seemed to get worse. Also, let's not forget his comment that closing Gitmo was "easy."

But, what's really laughable about the President's electric car prediction is that it doesn't track with the facts on the ground. So, here's a message from earth to Obama.

First, there are really only two major manufacturers who are selling any mass-produced EV's (electric vehicles) in this country: Chevy, with its Volt, and Nissan, with the Leaf. Noticeably missing is the Toyota brand and they probably won't introduce an EV until late 2012 or 2013 and that car is expected to be based on their microcar, the "IQ" model, which they are currently selling in Japan. Aside from that, Toyota's lateness to the EV game speaks volumes as to how they view the future of the electric car. Obviously, their plan to intro a micro/commuter car says that they only see a niche market for electrics as short hop vehicles. Further, my guess is that Toyota EV sales won't actually be additive to the overall EV market. Instead, Toyota will probably eat into existing Chevy/Nissan sales. We'll just have to see.

Secondly, the current vehicles are just not selling. Last month, the Chevy Volt and the Nissan Leaf saw the lowest sales since either car began selling in earnest. In the first half of 2011, only 2745 Volts had been sold and, for Nissan and their Leaf, the total was somewhat better at 3875 units. However, if you combine those sales numbers and, then, annualize them, it means that fewer than 14,000 total Chevy/Nissan EV's will be sold this year. At that rate, it will take a total of 71 years to reach Obama's million cars on the road. Even if EV sales could be tripled immediately, it would still take another 23 years to reach that magic million car number. I really can't see that happening in any foreseeable future with the current sales now slumping (Click here to See Story: "Chevy Volt Sales Plummet as the Electric Car Market Slumps").

As with everything about Obama, he doesn't know what he's talking about; and, he proves that time and time again. He's the consummate man of false promises. No one in their right mind is going to pay $41,000 for a glorified golf cart or a commuter car like the Volt; unless, of course, you're a screaming greenie and you just want to prove to all your friends how green (and stupid!) you are. In terms of making a dent in our imported oil, we are a country of more than 250 million vehicles on our roads; with that number growing by another 3.69 million vehicles per year as new drivers and added vehicles hit the roads. So, having one million EV's in use within the next 3-1/2 years barely matches the number of vehicles we will add to our roads in just the next 3 short months. As I have said many times, the gasoline powered vehicle will be around for a very long time. Despite higher gasoline prices, hybrids, today, are still only 3% of new car sales and electric sales are barely negligible. Even in Europe, where gasoline prices are double ours, hybrids only make up 6% of new car sales.

The only real way to make a dent in imported oil is to drill for our own oil. However, this President has done nothing but block any new oil production.

1 comment:

Carry Bacot said...

On 2015? I wonder whether this prediction would take place, or just turn out to be a hoax. Yes, failure is part of being a president, but that is all the more reason to support him and hope for the best.