Dec 152010
Electric Vehicle - Home Brew
Image by jitze via Flickr

Calling for what amounts to a Marshall Plan to start manufacturing plug-in hybrids and battery-electric cars, a group of executives from the auto and utility industries, and prospective plug-in fleet buyers laid out a strategy on Monday at a roundtable in Washington.

The new group, called the Electrification Coalition, envisions significant federal assistance in jump-starting what it calls “grid-enabled” vehicles.

Robbie Diamond, president and chief executive of the Electrification Coalition, refers to the slow proliferation of hybrid cars when discussing the need for government contribution in ramping up the acceptance and use of these vehicles. Even now, after years on the market, there are only 1.3 million hybrid cars on American roads. “If we want faster and more dramatic penetration than that for G.E.V.’s, we should have a concentrated effort of consumer incentives and government support,” Mr. Diamond said.

The coalition has 13 members, including Carlos Ghosn of Nissan; Kevin Czinger of Coda Automotive, a battery carmaker; David Crane of NRG Energy; and David Vieau of the battery maker A123 Systems. The group imagines a relatively rapid ramp-up for E.V.’s, starting with a concentrated start-up of 50,000 to 100,000 cars in each of six to eight United States geographic regions by 2013. That would put hundreds of thousands of vehicles on the road in four years, with expansion into 20 to 25 more cities (and a total of seven million plug-in hybrid or battery vehicles) by 2018. By 2040, the coalition hopes that 75 percent of the vehicle miles traveled will be in vehicles that plug into the grid.

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