Energy Secretary Chu on the Future of EVs

Lowenthal, at podium, Sec’y Chu, right, Mayor Villaraigosa, left

U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu deserves his Nobel Prize just for his stance on EVs, alone. Chu said a few words at a recent L.A. press conference announcing installation of Coulomb Technologies’ 500th charger. Mayor Villaraigosa was there to bask in the green glow, as was Coulomb’s founder & CTO, Richard Lowenthal.

The day after the press conference, President Obama called for opening Alaska’s national petroleum reserve to blunt criticism that he’s not doing enough about rising energy prices. Not good news. But Chu’s remarks were heartening, at least. The highlights:

“I’ve never been more excited about the possibilities for EVs,” he said, reflecting momentarily on the EV1 days, then explaining his current enthusiasm: “The batteries are getting better and better.”

Indeed, the Dept. of Energy (DOE) believes that the cost of EV batteries will “be dropping by 50% in the next few years,” Chu said. What’s more? The DOE’s goal is to see an EV start testing in the next five or six years that’s priced around $25,000–without subsidies–and can make the 300-mile drive from L.A. to Las Vegas on a single charge. That may sound “magical,” Chu acknowledged, but the race to electrify transportation is “like the space race, but the stakes are much higher.”

Speaking of high, gas prices may go up, then down, up and down, but they are on an inexorable rise, never to drop to $50-per barrel again, he said, and “the world knows it.”

Plug In America knows it, too. So, go electric now. The faster we electrify the fleet, the less, we hope, we’ll have to drill domestically.

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