Electric cars could comprise 64-86% of US light vehicle sales by 2030, provided that consumers don’t have to buy the high-priced batteries themselves and an infrastructure can be built to maintain and manage them, according to a new study from the Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology at University of California, Berkeley.
To build the infrastructure for battery charging and swapping systems over the next few decades, the cost may exceed $320 billion, the study (pdf) found. However, that cost could be offset by societal health-related savings of $205 billion, as less vehicle pollution reduces the incidence of asthma and other respiratory diseases, writes Environmental Leader.
Vehicle-related emissions could be reduced 62% from 2005 levels, provided electric vehicles are powered by clean sources of electricity, the research said. The implications for a reduction in oil imports shows that up to 3.7 million fewer barrels per day could be brought in. That is about the amount the US currently imports daily from the Persian Gulf and Venezuela.
The study also predicts a net gain of up to 350,000 new jobs by 2030 through adoption of electric vehicles.
The results of the study are heavily predicated on pay-per-mile programs whereby consumers don’t have to pay for the cost of the batteries, which may themselves exceed the cost for the rest of the vehicle.
Considering current battery prices and federal tax incentives for buying electric cars, the study finds switchable battery vehicles, when they come to market in 2012, will cost $7,500 less than similar gasoline-powered cars. The total cost of ownership of switchable-battery electric vehicles is expected to be 10-13 cents lower per-mile than gasoline-powered cars, depending on the future price of oil, according to the release.
In late June, the Obama Administration showed its support for electric vehicles.
Nissan (OTCPK:NSANY) North America will receive $1.6 billion in federal funds to retool its Smyrna, Tennessee, factory to build advanced electric automobiles and an advanced battery manufacturing facility; and Tesla Motors will receive $465 million to manufacture electric drive trains and electric vehicles in California.
Renault-Nissan is working to establish vehicle recharging infrastructure around the US, including:
- Sonoma County and San Diego in California
- Phoenix and Tucson, Ariz.
Around the world, Renault-Nissan is setting up infrastructure in Japan, Israel, Denmark, Portugal, Monaco, the UK, France, Switzerland, Ireland, China and Hong Kong.
Mitsubishi also is working with New Zealand on its own electric-car pilot.