Future of electric cars and energy management

Future of electric cars and energy management


We’re talking about electric vehicles and
the tie to the smart grid and management of energy in the future at the home level as
well as the international level. The issue of operating cost, of course, generally we’re
looking at a much lower cost for either a plug-in hybrid vehicle or an electric vehicle,
because electricity is quite inexpensive and already distributed widely in the United States.
It’s not a fuel that people are uncomfortable with. So, we think this is going to be convenient
and clean for the customer. You can go out and order an electric car, you can order a
hybrid car. The initial electric cars are more expensive because the batteries are more
expensive. We have a very focused program at D.O.E to bring down the cost of batteries
and we’re looking at reducing that cost substantially over our next, we would say, our target period
of getting down, to 2015 to 2020, getting that cost down to a third or a quarter of
what it is now. Which will be the biggest impact on the electric vehicle. So, we will
have the battery capacity to meet the President’s goal of a million vehicles in 2015. We’re
working with our partners now on vehicles that displace anywhere from 20 – 70 percent
of the petroleum that they reduce. And so the effective fuel economy for vehicles is
very high. I mean, generally, the cars coming on the market have an effective fuel economy
of over 100 miles per gallon. When you look at their total use of energy and the relatively
small amount of liquid fuel that you would have to put in a plug-in hybrid or, of course,
no fuel in an electric vehicle. So, we see a big impact on the air quality due to exhaust
emissions and the fact that if we can manage the loads at night, utilities can operate
at a more constant load and also reduce overall emissions. The European market, of course,
is very important not only to Europe, but to the U.S. and Asia, because of the products
that are developed by our multi-national companies. We share General Electric, General Motors,
Siemens, Bosch, Ford for example. So, what we’ve done is arrange to have very pointed
discussions on how we can work together on a technical basis and on a program basis to
demonstrate common technologies that can work in the U.S. and in Europe. This is very important
from a consumer confidence perspective. You have to know that this is reliable and that
if you buy a German car and use it in the United States, which is not uncommon at all,
that it will be able to work when you go up to a, let’s say, generic charging station,
that it will be able to work. Industry on both sides of the ocean are really coming
to the table and talking about this the way we need to: what do we need to do this year?
What do we need to do in the next two or three years? So, the catch phrase is near-term implementation
and long-term vision. We see those as being very closely tied now to show relevance to
industry and relevance to the national and global mission.