Group asks US government to invest more in electric cars
WASHINGTON - A group of businessmen launched a coalition yesterday to urge the federal government to make a major investment in electric transportation, pointing to electric cars as the best way to confront the nation’s dependence on imported oil.
Top executives with more than a dozen companies, including battery maker A123 Systems Inc. of Watertown, Mass.,
The coalition urged Congress to pass tax credits and loan guarantees to bring 14 million electric cars to the road by 2020 and more than 100 million by 2030. The group envisions a network of electric vehicles in six to eight cities in the short term and an expansion across the country, making 75 percent of all vehicle miles traveled powered by electricity by 2040.
“There’s no pie-in-the-sky here,’’ said Frederick W. Smith, FedEx’s chairman. “It’s simply a matter of organization, a matter of will, and a matter of execution.’’
Participants acknowledged the proposals would be expensive and require a major commitment from Congress. The group’s blueprint would cost more than $120 billion over eight years and would promote tax credits for the installation of advanced batteries, loan guarantees for the retooling of plants, and tax credits for public charging stations and home charging equipment.
“Ultimately the consumer will make the judgment about where this country goes, but from the standpoint of public policy we can set the stage,’’ said Senator Byron L. Dorgan, Democrat of North Dakota, who joined the group for its announcement.
“The time is right for electric cars - in fact the time is critical,’’ Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn said.
Ghosn said the world market of 600 million vehicles is expected to expand to 2.5 billion vehicles in 2050 with growth in developing nations such as China and India, making electric cars a must.
Nissan is releasing the Leaf, an all-electric car, in limited numbers next year and plans to put the vehicle into mass production globally in 2012.