Obama's One Million Electric Car Goal: Three Percent Complete

In 2011, President Barack Obama set a goal of putting one million electric cars on American roads by 2015.  Currently, there are just 30,000 electric cars on U.S. roads. 

The abysmal numbers are even more surprising considering the government's efforts to prop up "green car" manufacturing.  Electric luxury car manufacturer Fisker, for example, was approved for a $529 million taxpayer-funded government loan; the federal government cut off the funds at $193 million after sales fell woefully short of required targets.  The struggling electric car maker recently recalled 2,400 of its Karma vehicles when one caught fire due to problems with its cooling fan.

In June, a CBS News report calculated projected electric car sales by Mr. Obama's 2015 date at 310,663.  That figure, while still less than a third of Mr. Obama's goal, may still be overly optimistic.  Reuters says industry experts predict that less than 200,000 electric vehicles will be on U.S. roads by 2015. 

Further exacerbating the challenge of meeting Mr. Obama's goal is the fact that taxpayer-funded electric car battery companies continue to flounder.  Last month, for example, struggling U.S. electric battery maker A123 Systems, which received a $249 million taxpayer-funded government loan, announced its plans to sell a controlling stake to Wanxiang, a Chinese company, for $450 million.

Similarly, lithium-ion battery manufacturer Ener1, Inc., which received a $118.5 million taxpayer-funded grant, filed for bankruptcy.  And Aptera Motors has already folded.

In February, Mr. Obama told an audience of United Auto Workers that after he leaves office he plans to buy a Chevy Volt electric vehicle.


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