As Electric Vehicles "Lose Their Spark" State Governments Try to Give a Jump-Start

Kirk Kardashian examines the headwinds confronting the much-hyped, but poorly selling, E.V. industry in the aftermath of a disappointing year. Meanwhile California, New York and six other states have announced plans to help energize sales.
October 28, 2013, 7am PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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Despite substantial government and private sector investment, the 45,000 in annual electric car sales in the U.S. lags far below the Obama administration's goal of one million vehicles sold by 2015. Kardashian identifies the underlying problem with electric vehicles: "the cost and ineffectiveness of their batteries." 

"Meanwhile, gasoline-powered cars are becoming more efficient all the time," he adds." That’s good for the environment and consumers, but probably frustrating for E.V. engineers, as their central competition—internal-combustion engines—is better funded, improving quickly, and supported by a hundred and sixty-eight thousand quick-charge spots known as gas stations."

Last week, a group of eight states announced a partnership to help improve E.V. infrastructure and boost sales. According to Matthew L. Wald, "The states, which represent more than a quarter of the national car market, said they would seek to develop charging stations that all took the same form of payment, simplify rules for installing chargers and set building codes and other regulations to require the stations at workplaces, multifamily residences and at other places," with the goal of selling 3.3 million zero-emission vehicles by 2025.


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Published on Wednesday, October 23, 2013 in The New Yorker
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