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US backs away from 1 million EV goal by 2015

The US seems to be backing away from its goal of putting one million electric vehicles on the road by 2015, as it starts to look increasingly unrealistic.

Last night, the country’s Department of Energy outlaid its strategy to promote electric and other low emission vehicles and lower their cost over the next nine years.

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However there seemed to be hesitancy in reaffirming the goal stated by President Obama during his 2011 State of the Union address.

"Whether we meet that goal in 2015 or 2016, that's less important than that we're on the right path to get many millions of these vehicles on the road," an Energy Department official told news agency, Reuters.

The new plans outlined by Energy Secretary, Steven Chu in a speech in Washington, are seen as a pragmatic approach to encouraging electric car uptake.

With more stringent CAFE standards coming into force, the carmakers in the US will need electric cars to help them meet the fleet average of 54.5 mpg by 2025.

Overall, US federal policies to promote electric vehicles will cost $7.5 billion by 2019, the Congressional Budget Office confirmed last year September.

According to Reuters, that includes $2.4 billion in grants to lithium-ion battery makers and projects to promote electric vehicles as well as $3.1 billion in loans to carmakers, to spur production of fuel-efficient vehicles.

Although sales of electric cars in the country have been showing strong growth, they remain behind the current target. In 2012, around 50,000 fully electric cars sold in the US, when the Energy Department had expected that around 200,000 would be sold.

It seems the electric car revolution will take just a little longer after all.

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Faye Sunderland

Filed under: Electric cars

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