2010 Will Not Be the Year of the Electric Car, Consultants Contend

The National Research Council and Pike Research forecast the plug-in electric car adoption won't happen for years, though others disagree.

Published: 31-Dec-2009

first electric cars are expected to hit U.S. showrooms by the end of 2010, a major step in the reinvention of the automobile. But hopes for a fast transition away from oil are looking premature.

Two new reports — one from the National Resource Council (NRC) and a second from consulting firm Pike Research — question whether the high costs of lithium-ion batteries, which power most plug-in electric hybrids (PHEVs), such as the Chevy Volt, and all-electric cars, such as the new Nissan LEAF, can drop fast enough to achieve mass-market adoption.

The industry will know by 2012 what is possible, Pike Research suggests.

By then, the "passionate early adopters" will have purchased their first electric cars, thanks in part to the federal government's current electric-car tax credit of up to $7,500. But after 2012, the consumer incentive could disappear — along with at least some of the billions in government grants now being dished out to automakers and battery manufacturers.

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