"We want diversity, but we also want critical mass. If we're going to address these problems (of dependence on foreign oil), we eventually have to build something."
David Shepardson - The Detroit News
- Mar. 25, 2009
Electric is a better long term solution that already has a "fueling infrastructure." --Ed.
WASHINGTON -- The Obama administration is shifting much of the government's focus and funding from hydrogen fuel cell vehicles to plug-in electric vehicles.
In 2003, after the Clinton administration spent $1.5 billion on a hybrid-electric sedan, the Bush administration touted $1.2 billion for hydrogen technology. Now, with Barack Obama in the White House, the pendulum is swinging back to plug-ins.
U.S. Rep. Brian Baird, D-Wash., chairman of a House subcommittee, said at the panel's hearing Tuesday that the Energy Department's vehicle research program "has been a victim of drastic swings in priority between administrations.
"As the (Obama) administration develops its own policies, I hope that we will avoid again putting all of the eggs in one technology basket."
As a candidate, Obama touted plug-in electric vehicles as a cornerstone of his energy policy, pressing for 1 million plug-ins on American roads by 2015. The $787 billion stimulus bill approved by Congress last month includes more than $2 billion in new battery research grants, which are vital to the viability of plug-ins, but no new money for hydrogen research.
General Motors Corp. is to start building its extended-range Chevrolet Volt next year; Chrysler plans to have 500,000 electric vehicles on the roads by 2013. Ford Motor Co. also is working on an electric vehicle program.
Steven Chalk, principal deputy assistant secretary of the Energy Department's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, said the Obama administration is deliberating how much of the proposed 2010 budget's vehicle research program should be... [Read More]