U.S. Most Likely to Lead Electric-Car Revolution

Chevrolet Volt
There are many news stories and studies that discuss America’s loss of competitiveness, so it’s nice to see a study that says we’re at least winning at something: electric-vehicle development. 

The U.S. is the most likely to spearhead a movement toward electric cars from gasoline-driven cars as a means of mass transportation, according a newly created research index from McKinsey & Company, a global consultancy firm. McKinsey’s electric-vehicle index gauges nine variables including consumers’ favorability toward electric cars, a segment where America ranks highly. 

The U.S. ranked first in the electric-vehicle index. It’s ahead of France, Germany, China and other Western European countries, which have all invested heavily into the development of green energy technologies.

While the U.S. is usually behind the curve when it comes to industrial policy (public investment in strategically important economic sectors), the country remains the only one to use public funds to spur the development of EVs thus far. 

In 2007, Congress set aside $25 billion in Department of Energy low-interest loans to encourage the advancement of alternative-fuel vehicles, including EVs. 

The DOE has made $8.5 billion in loans to Nissan, Ford, Tesla Motors, Tenneco and Fisker Automotive. President Barack Obama also earmarked another $2.4 billion in grants for battery-makers and other electric-vehicle component-makers in 2009. GM has used some of that money to build a plant in Michigan to build Chevrolet Volt batteries. The stimulus package also includes a $2,500 to $7,500 tax credit to consumers who purchase EVs. 

While only a few thousand electric cars are on the road today, including the Tesla Roadster and Mini E, the number will most certainly skyrocket in the coming years with the launch of the Volt and Nissan Leaf. Combined, Nissan and General Motors are estimated to have the capacity to build 195,000 electric vehicles a year in the U.S. by 2012. 

Some, including The Economist magazine, question the actual success rate of government bets on future technologies. After all, it was only a few years ago that the government was pushing ethanol and hydrogen as the future of mass transit. 

US tops electric-vehicle index (Financial Times)

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Comments 

Tony

"It’s ahead of France, Germany, China and other Western European countries..."

I didn't know China was in Europe.

But seriously. We will be a country with few rich and many poor. Who is going to pay for those 40k cars?

Ziggy

As the infrastructure develops and the cars become more mass produced the prices will become more inline with what we pay for gas powered.

Tony, most people don't buy brand new cars, so once it's used it will be a lot cheaper, maybe around 20 something thousand. Attainable for most people.

qdp

Just A Big Joke.

When Prius or Hybrid Camery is equiped with a bigger battery, say 40 mile-capacity battery, Volt is basically a piece of junk, money- and technogical-wise. The key question is: how much mpg at what top speed Volt can achieve when its battery is completely deplete? This is something GM has been hidding from public, which GM knows is much inferior to Toyota's hybrids.

Zack

"While the U.S. is usually behind the curve when it comes to industrial policy..."

What is the basis of this biased, anti-American statement? We're so behind the curve people from every country want to move here.

The US is the number one economy, but more importantly number one in innovation. No other country comes close. Please delete the offending line or offer something to back it up.

Jason

Patriotism...

qdp


Toyota Hybrid cars were introduced to the world market in 1997. Until now, no other auto makers have even come to close that competing technologies. Ford's hybrid technology is licensed from Toyota. Even in conventional engine technologies, Japanese are at leat 5 to 6years ahead those of US. Patiotism is what we are, but should we belive the BS for the sake of it? Is the best interest of public or UAW? What if it turns out a complete failure or lie when all patriotic money is poured in. Woke up.

@Zack I’m not sure you understand the definition of industrial policy. It has nothing to do with how big or well our economy performs. Yes, the United States is the largest economy in the world.

For more information about what IP actually means I’ll allow you to do your own research.

As far as U.S. industrial policy is concerned, the country lacks an official industrial policy: That is a fact.

We have bits and pieces such as D.A.R.P.A., the S.B.A. and the military/space industrial complex, but those do not represent a cohesive IP institution akin to something like Japan's Ministry of International Trade and Industry, Britain’s Strategic Investment Fund or China’s National Development and Reform Commission.

Unlike those countries (and there are plenty more), our trade officials are scattered across a myriad of federal agencies. Even today, America does not have a comprehensive economic strategy at a national level.

Zack

Colin,
First, I appreciate your responding to my comments.
You define industrial policy as "public investment in strategically important economic sectors," and stated the US is usually behind the curve. That wasn't the case when the US implemented the Marshall Plan, an amazing investment of US dollars that rebuilt the economies of Europe after our country demonstrated an effective enough "industrial policy" to win World War Two. We rebuilt Germany's industrial sector, allowing them to produce the goods they do today. I would contend the US invented the concept of industrial policy, and the last time I checked no other country has put a man on the moon, a feat we accomplished less than 10 years after the goal was announced. All those other examples you cite in Britain, China and Japan were designed to help those countries compete on a level with US industry. There's no doubt those countries have been effective in grabbing lots of production that used to take place in the US. But I read this week that some companies like GE and Arctic Cat are pulling parts of their manufacturing that had been done in the far east back to US shores.

Zack I don't think that U.S is great in innovation, at that point China is a leading country. Economy wise you are right that U.S. is the best. Whatever the fact may be but the electric cars are really awesome to ride.

Tony

Zack,

I can disagree with much of what you've said. Especially that people from everywhere what to move here . This is simply not truth. I know many people who wants to move from here and a few who actually did. The only reason all of them didn't do is because they have 12-16 yo children. For the children it would be hard. Hey, Giuseppe Rossi is number one example.

And the economy thing as well. Unfortunately our economy is a big balloon, because we don't support our currency with gold or diamonds. We don't produce and sell enough goods. Our money are fake and printed out of nowhere. Our wealth sits on financial sector. We have stock market, which creates this fake value. The moment China will stop buying our debt we will be on the level of Albania.
You are being fooled by the rich and the government and your statements about greatest economy is simply not true. America is a parasite country because we consume more then we produce and this will not continue indefinitely. Like every empire before us, we will fail.

Zack

Tony,
You're wrong. America's best days are ahead and our ingenuity and innovation are the envy of the world. It seems ironic that people are using the Internet, invented by Americans, to disparage American innovation.

Tony

Oh Zack,

you probably forgot that a lot of American innovation was created by foreigners who came here. But now there is no reason for them to come here anymore. Chinese scientists used to come here to learn and stayed here to work but today they go back because in China they get better lab and today they are innovators. American children want to make money when grow up. Foreign children want to achieve things, like something in science.

All you need to do is to walk into any lab in the US and see were those people who works there from. You will not see too many Americans.

Tony

Ah, yea... America's best days. You and I, we will not see them.

navsto

@Zack
You don't read much do you? Patriotism ca be blind......

Dander

Yeah, zack only points out errors in posts that he DOESN'T read. You don't think much do you navsto?

Matt

Tony, you are contradicting yourself:

'I can disagree with much of what you've said. Especially that people from everywhere what to move here . This is simply not truth.'

This does not correspond with:

'All you need to do is to walk into any lab in the US and see were those people who works there from. You will not see too many Americans.'

So which is it?

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