President Barack Obama has announced the launch of two major electric vehicle programs that will help meet the president’s goal of putting one million plug-in hybrid vehicles on the road by 2015.
As part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the U.S. Department of Energy released two competitive solicitations for up to $2 billion in federal funding for electric-vehicle advanced batteries and related drive components, and up to $400 million for transportation electrification demonstration and deployment projects.
On the same day as his announcement, President Obama visited Southern California Edison’s plug-in hybrid and electric car test lab in Pomona, Calif., which includes the “garage of the future”, a grid-connected, solar-powered green car garage.
The utility company created the demonstration facility, called the Edison Electric Vehicle Technical Center, with Ford Motor Co. in 2007 to deploy a test fleet of plug-in Ford Escape Hybrid SUVs as part of the project.
The car maker says plug-in hybrids and battery electric vehicles will play an increasingly important role in transportation, and partnerships with electric utility companies are critical to bringing electric vehicles to market. Earlier this year, Ford announced plans to bring four new electrified vehicles to market by 2012.
Advances in electric-vehicle technologies have been slow at best with the latest announcements indicating low production capacity, lack of funding and late entry into the market. The trend may be changing as major car makers recently announced key expansions of their hybrid offerings with new innovations and improvements for 2009 and beyond.