The "real" scoop on the future of electric vehicles -- National Research Council Report

Hi folks -- there is so much hype right now about electric vehicles and their future. This hype has become more intense as Detroit Auto Show opens today, and copmpanies like GM and Chrysler are working public relations to defuse any thoughts that they might not have a rosy future.

However, if we are to believe a report by the National Research Council, subsidies of "tens to hundreds of billions of dollars" will be needed over several decades to spur development and deployment of plug-in hybrid vehicles. The problem is one of the cost of batteries. Consequently, a PHEV may cost $18,000 more than a similar internal combustion engine powered car. It is the lithium-ion batteries that are the main reason for the price differential. According to the report, battery technology is developing at a rapid pace, but marked cost reductions won't take place anytime soon. These lithium-ion batteries are especially important for cell phones and laptops, but of course are much smaller.

There still is hope for a breakthrough that will drive down costs. In the end some 13 million electric cars are projected to be on the roads of America by 2030, These vehicles can be serviced by the power grid so long charging takes place at low load times of the day.


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