Electricity as an abundant, economical and domestically available resource can address foreign oil dependence and enhance the economy of the United States, testified Brian Wynne, President of Electric Drive Transportation Association (EDTA), during a hearing of the U.S. House of Representatives Science Committee (Subcommittee on Energy and Environment).
The hearing analyzed the activities of the Vehicle Technologies Program (VTP) of the U.S. Department of Energy. Since nearly 45% of the oil utilized in the US transportation sector has been imported by the country, it is important to shift towards domestically produced electricity as a replacement to oil. The CRS predicts that the country will spend $451 billion to import oil in 2012, a $30 billion increase from 2011.
Wynne informed that electricity replaces oil and loosens its iron grip on the country’s security and economy, thanks to electric drive technologies such as fuel cells, plug-in vehicles and hybrids. Electric drive is a valuable solution available now and the industry is growing strongly.
At present, over 40 hybrid vehicle are being sold in the country and manufacturers intend to increase the availability of plug-in vehicles from 10 to over 20 in the coming two years. The electric car charging market is also witnessing a strong growth. According to U.S.DOE, there are over 4,000 public charging stations throughout the nation, and Pike Research estimates that the number of charging units will be over 1.5 million in the country by 2017. The collaboration between local, state and federal organizations advances electric vehicles and infrastructure promotes the expansion of electrification.
For instance, the U.S. DOE and industry partners have teamed up through VTP to lower lithium ion battery cost by one-third since 2008. Moreover, continuous joint efforts of the U.S. DOE with industry partners have facilitated fuel cell vehicles in fulfilling performance, implementation and cost goals for commercialization in 2015. The U.S. DOE Clean Cities program joins forces with over 100 regional coalitions to facilitate the deployment of alternative fuel vehicles and infrastructure and has saved over 3 billion gallons of petroleum since its establishment in 1994.
To promote sophisticated transportation, states and communities throughout the nation are designing policies like access to high occupancy vehicle lanes, parking subsidies for electric vehicle drivers, and permission for recharging infrastructure.