President Barack Obama has invested $5 billion in taxpayer money to achieve a goal of having a million electric vehicles plying on the streets of the United States by 2015. However, official figures say that less than 50,000 electric vehicles have been bought from 2011 to September 2012, which is around 5 percent of the president’s 2015 target. Why? According to Brett Smith, co-director of manufacturing, engineering and technology at the Center for Automotive Research, reality shows that a business model for electric vehicles is not there yet. Smith said there is yet no business model for volume and reaching the mass consumer. He forecasted that a business model for electric vehicles would not be there for awhile. The $5 billion investment that the current administration includes loans and grants to car makers and battery producers, spending on charging stations and $7,500 tax credits to car buyers. Companies who received loans and grants include: Nissan Motor Co., Fisker Automotive Inc., Tesla Motors Corp. and A123 Systems Inc. Lithium ion battery maker A123 recently filed for bankruptcy protection in Delaware after revealing that its cash coffers have been running out in the past few months. Johnson Controls Inc. agreed to purchase A123's automotive business for $125 million. Obama's $5 billion investment in electric cars is compared with around $4 billion spent to deploy or improve 72,152 miles of network lines, aimed at increasing the use and availability of high-speed Internet service.
Gallery: Nissan Leaf