Electric-vehicle sales figure still far from reaching Obama’s target for 2015

Article by Anita Panait, on October 18, 2012

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.

Powering the Tesla Model S are two motors with one being placed in the front and the other positioned in the rear. Because of this, the Model S is able to both independently and digitally control the torque not only on the front wheels but even for the rear wheels. As such, traction control is considered as unmatched no matter what the condition may be.

Further, many standard all-wheel drive models available on the market generally offer increased traction at the expense of fuel efficiency. The Electric All Wheel Drive system from Tesla does it differently as it increases the efficiency instead. Tesla revealed that the Model S is the fastest four-door sedan ever made as it can go from 0 to 60 mph in 2.8 seconds.

With the battery pack placed in the middle of the axles and along the vehicle’s floor pan, it has a very low center of gravity. As a result, handling is at an exceptional level. Indeed, the Model S remains to be the sole production car with ideal mass positioning and proportions so as to ensure that handling is optimized. Since the Model S utilizes electric motors rather than an internal combustion engine, it meant that there was extra space for cargo.

In fact, it even resulted in the cabin offering enough space to accommodate five adults and two children, sitting in the rear-facing jump seats. Another feature in the Model S is the 17-inch display with touchscreen capability.

Positioned in the center, this touchscreen is able to incorporate effortlessly into a single intuitive interface various features like cabin control, communications, media, and navigation. A number of other functions have been mirrored on the vehicle’s instrument panel and they’ve even been voice-activated in order to ensure that the attention of the driver is always on the road.

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