Since the U.S. imports approximately 45 percent of the oil used in the transportation sector, there is an economic imperative to move toward electricity generated at home as an alternative to oil. The CRS estimates that the U.S. will pay $451 billion for imported oil in 2012, $30 billion more than 2011.
“With electric drive technologies – hybrids, plug-in vehicles and fuel cells – electricity displaces oil and reduces its stranglehold on our national security and our economy,” Wynne said. “Electric drive is a real solution that is here now, and the industry continues to expand.”
There are now currently more than 40 hybrid vehicle being sold in the U.S., and manufacturers are planning to increase available plug-in vehicles from ten this year to more than 20 – at multiple price points – in the next two years.
The electric car charging market is also growing, as U.S.DOE has documented more than 4,000 public charging stations across the country. Pike Research predicts that by 2017 there will be more than 1.5 million charging units in the U.S. Partnering with federal, state and local entities to research and develop electric vehicles and infrastructure is accelerating the growth of electrification. For example, through VTP, the U.S. DOE has worked with industry partners to decrease the cost of lithium ion batteries by a third since 2008. In addition, ongoing collaborative efforts with industry and the U.S. DOE have resulted in fuel cell vehicles meeting aggressive costs, performance and deployment milestones for commercialization in 2015.
Collaborative deployment efforts are also yielding substantial results. The U.S. DOE Clean Cities program works with more than 100 regional coalitions to help deploy alternative fuel vehicles and infrastructure. Since its inception in 1994, Clean Cities has saved more than 3 billion gallons of petroleum.
There are also numerous state and local efforts involving utilities, manufacturers, local business and city planners who are helping promote electric drive investments. To encourage advanced transportation options, states and communities across the country are establishing policies such as access to High Occupancy Vehicle lanes, permitting for recharging infrastructure and parking incentives for electric vehicle drivers.
“The return on public government investment in advancing electric drive is a nation that is less dependent on foreign oil and spends its energy dollars domestically,”Wynne said. “We must be able to compete effectively in the global market with these advanced technologies.”