Other countries ahead of U.S. on electric cars

A demand seems to have surged in America: people want clean energy and fuel-efficient cars. Americans appear to be getting tired of relying on oil. To meet that demand, U.S. auto companies are striving to prove to the public that electric car technology is feasible. 

But it looks like other countries are leading America by example. 

Japan's Oppama factory in Tokyo manufactures Nissan's electric, eco-friendly Leaf car. According to the Economist, Nissan plans to make 50,000 Leafs in Japan this year. The Oppama plant employs around 2,100 workers, about two-thirds of whom are full-time, full-benefit employees that have been carefully trained. 

In Scotland, thanks to a $172,000 low-carbon vehicle grant from the Scottish government, social workers in the Scottish Borders will be given a pool of electric cars to use, reports TheGreenCarWebsite. These cars will most likely be Nissan Leafs. The remaining portion of the funding will pay for a small network of charging points for the vehicles. 

According to Jim Fullarton, executive member for roads and infrastructure on the Scottish Borders Council, "It's a great trial for social work." He cited the low cost "to fill the tank of the car, compared with the current fuel prices." 

Finally, according to People's Daily, China plans to make a million electric vehicles a year by 2015. China's new plans for the auto industry will make electric vehicles a national priority, the report says. 

So where are we in regard to progress in the U.S.? 

California-based Tesla Motors plans to launch its new Model S., a full-sized battery electric sedan, in 2012. United Auto Workers Region 5 Director Jim Wells emphasized, "Tesla should hire the workers who give it the best chance for success: the workers whose productivity has garnered awards for the facility and who have turned out highly profitable automobiles. That means they understand how to work smart and work safe." 

In New Jersey, lawmakers are expecting a surge in electric cars in the next two years. On February 14, a bill to set up charging stations along New Jersey's toll highways cleared a state Senate committee 3 to 2. Legislators and environmentalists agreed that public charging stations are key to cutting pollution. The stations would be built on parking lots in most of the service areas of the New Jersey Turnpike, the Garden State Parkway, and the Atlantic City Expressway. 

Even so, it's apparent that America needs a stronger spark to get the country going in developing electric car technology. 

In his State of the Union address President Obama noted, "We need to get behind this innovation. And to help pay for it, I'm asking Congress to eliminate the billions of taxpayer dollars we currently give to oil companies. I don't know if you've noticed, but they're doing just fine on their own. So instead of subsidizing yesterday's energy, let's invest in tomorrow's."


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  • The US would eventually catch up with the demand of electric cars. I know that here in the UK and in other first world countries known for car manufacturing like Japan and Korea have already ventured in the electric cars market long before everyone else. But the demand would eventually grown in the US sooner or later. However, in the UK, contrary to a number of predictions, the demand for the EVs are still not on the levels expected. I guess people need to understand better the advantages of EVs rather than non-EVs.

    Posted by Peter Mould, 06/10/2013 4:26am (3 years ago)

  • As much as I support the electric car, I think that the media has inflated how much of a success electrics and hybrids are becoming. The investments that Obama has made into electric vehicle companies are not paying off. What needs to change more, are people's attitude towards clean energy.

    Posted by Thomas, 08/23/2012 3:12am (3 years ago)

  • How about, for a change, those who want plug-in electric cars pay a tax that will go toward installing all of the recharging stations. We taxpayers are already being bent over the table to pay the huge tax credits and rebates for purchasers of these cars -- let the buyers put their own money where their mouth is for a change, instead of relying on the rest of the taxpayers who just cannot afford a $41K Chevy Volt.

    Just a thought from an over-taxed payer.

    Posted by anthony aaron, 06/05/2011 5:46pm (5 years ago)

  • what about the chevy volt? and is this the answer? won't we b using more electricity? what type of fuel will b used to generate electricity?how about fuel cells?

    Posted by jim, 06/04/2011 9:52am (5 years ago)

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