10 years, minimally, before the plug-in revolution gears up?
The battery-powered world according to DOE secretary Chu
In the next 10 years, automakers will probably sell at least 150 million new vehicles in the US alone. Most of them will be traditional gas-guzzlers, although many will be turbo charged, fewer cylinder-engined guzzlers — a positive step at least. Nevertheless, many of those 150 million new guzzlers; however, will be on US roads for up to another 2 decades. Guzzling. Guzzling. Guzzling.
That paints a pretty sad story of US foreign energy dependence for at least the next 3 decades — a terrible tale that is supported by the latest suggestions from Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu.
According to recent statements by Chu, new prototype batteries for plug-in vehicles that will be equal to non-plug-ins in terms of costs should be available by the ’20′s. Prototypes.
But let’s just ignore the ‘prototype’ aspect of that statement.
Obviously, just because a plug-in is cost-equivalent to a non-plug-in doesn’t mean that consumers will flock en mass to such vehicles. Scaling takes time. Likewise, a huge percentage of Americans can’t even plug-in during off-peak hours. Also, does plug-in cost-effectiveness include all vehicles, or just passenger cars?
What about crossovers, pickups and SUVs?
Regardless, considering that US auto sales will average around 150 million vehicles per decade, that’s a pretty scary story. Consequently, if it takes several years more to scale these “prototype” batteries into a mainstream solution over the course of the ’20′s, 2, 3 or even 400 million additional gas-guzzler sales are inevitable BEFORE the plug-in revolution really even begins. Again, those are guzzlers that will be on US roads for an additional decade or two after sale — dependent upon gasoline for decades longer.
At least that’s the latest word from a well-educated, well-positioned plug-in optimist.
And I’m the pessimist?!