The Department of Transportation and NHTSA have announced that a "technical symposium" will be held on May 18th "to discuss safety considerations for electric vehicles powered by lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries." In addition to NHTSA's presentations, the Department of Energy, automotive manufacturers and battery makers will participate. Given the bias of the participants, the symposium sounds like it is going to be less informational and more infomercial.
Now that Nissan believes it has captured all the “early adopters” of its all-electric Leaf, its North American subsidiary plans to market the 73-mile-per-charge (they used to say it was 100 miles) vehicle to “pragmatists.”
These practical patrons, according to Executive Vice President Andy Palmer, will not be drawn from the limited ranks of environmental activism, but instead will consist of everyday Joes “who will see the dollars-and-sense benefits of driving one,” reportsUSA Today.
Last week's earnings report from General Motors revealed a troubling statistic for shareholders. GM's market share for North America shrunk from 18.3% a year ago to 16.7% for the latest quarter. Not coincidently, a survey by Yahoo Autos revealed that a full 13% of consumers would now "never" consider purchasing a GM vehicle while another 15% are less likely to purchase. A negative perception of the auto bailout process and the continued political overtones at GM are the reasons for the boycott.
A couple of stories surfaced recently that should be of concern to voters that are analyzing how a Romney presidency would differ from the current administration. President Obama has a track record that can be examined to get a grasp of his agenda, but Governor Romney needs to further explain his positions on two key areas that many voters would expect to see a divergence with our present leader. The reports bring in to question whether or not Romney would be any different from the administrations over the past 12 years when it comes to dumping billions of taxpayer dollars into subsidies and bailouts.
A Jacksonville.com report gives a good explanation for why some Florida localities are purchasing Chevy Volts. When Jacksonville's chief of fleet management, Karim Kurji, was asked what the advantage of going green by purchasing Volts was he hit the nail on the head when he replied, "Federal money." The story goes on to reveal that the total federal taxpayer money used to subsidize one Chevy Volt purchased by Atlantic Beach was over $33,000. It now appears obvious that the Obama Administration and General Motors are willing to pay just about any price, even if the taxpayers are footing the bill, to see the Chevy Volt "succeed."
The Obama Administration has over-stimulated the electric vehicle battery market, as companies inspired by the flow of federal stimulus support don’t have enough customers for their products.
The government promise of a coming electric car (and truck) revolution, thanks to moves such as President George W. Bush’s signature to approve a $7,500-per-electric-vehicle tax credit and Congress’s passage of the Recovery Act, instigated a buildup of capacity and inventory for batteries. Now putrid EV sales – including the newly introduced Ford Focus electric – have put their battery makers in peril, according to the Detroit Free Press.
General Motors has been quick to allay concerns that the Chevy Volt had anything to do with an explosion at a testing facility that appears to have injured five workers, one possibly seriously. The explosion has been attributed to gases from a lithium-based prototype battery being developed at GM's tech center. While the incident should not serve as an indictment against the Volt, concerns about volatile lithium-ion batteries are legitimate.