The Automotive Task Force assigned by President Obama, has come under fire for its findings regarding electric vehicles and the impact they will have on the car market in the next few years.
According to the task force, electric vehicles are too costly to be competitive with gasoline powered vehicles without huge incentives from the government. Incentives to automakers, consumers, and power companies are necessary to make electric vehicles feasible and profitable.
This statement has come under fire in the past few days. Several groups, including California based advocacy group CalCars have stepped forward and stated that much of the findings are based on flawed information. These groups believe that electric vehicles can and will be profitable in the near future and insist that the findings of the task force are not consistent with President Obama's goal of 1 million plug-in electric vehicles on the road by 2015.
The task force went on to say in response to GM's recovery plan released in January that the Chevy Volt will be too pricey to be a viable product and even suggesting or at least indicating that GM possibly delay or drop production of the Volt entirely.
GM responded by stating that it will continue with production plans for the Chevy Volt regardless of viability or profitability.
Under heavy criticism, the task force made a statement regarding their findings and their suggestions. They said, "According to our projections, sales of 3 million electric and 11 million hybrids by 2020 are realistic under reasonable incentives and fuel cost assumptions. As the report makes clear, our view is that all automotive manufacturers need to include rechargeable, or plug-in, hybrid-electric vehicles in their fleets. But unless governments intervene with strong incentives for car maker, power companies and consumers, key auto markets will remain dominated by internal combustion engine based cars."
Profitability for electric cars may be several generations away. Right now the government must help the automakers by providing incentives to produce electric cars in hopes that future generations of electric cars can be profitable on their own. Over time, the costs to produce electric cars will come down and profits will be realized, but for now it's a money losing gamble that some automakers don't want to take on.