Why Electric Drive?
America’s transportation is overwhelmingly reliant on oil, nearly 50% of which is imported. Aside from the national security threat this poses, oil dependence poses a serious economic threat. American drivers spent $448 billion on gasoline in 2011; many of those dollars went abroad. Oil-dependent transportation also has consequences for the environment, with emissions of harmful air pollutants.
Electric drive vehicles – hybrid, pure battery electric, plug-in hybrid and fuel cell electric vehicles – displace oil while relying on a domestic source of fuel: electricity, and increasingly relying on U.S.-based manufacturing of advanced electric drive technologies.
Working together, industry and government can accelerate the development and adoption of electric drive and help to establish energy security, economic competitiveness and a cleaner, healthier environment.
Building an electric drive fleet in the U.S. contributes to economic growth and for the country to build a competitive edge in the global race for advanced energy technologies.
New and expanded development efforts and manufacturing for vehicles, batteries, recharging infrastructure and other electric drive technologies are providing manufacturing jobs today and greater economic security for the future. By expanding support for manufacturing, U.S. competitiveness will increase while growing the advanced technology workforce.
Electric drive has the ability to reduce our reliance on foreign oil, enhancing our national security.
The U.S. relies almost completely on one single fuel source for its light-, medium-, and heavy-duty fleet: petroleum. The U.S. spends over $300 billion on imported foreign oil annually, which represents over 50 percent of the U.S. trade deficit. According to the International Energy Agency, oil demand from developing countries will cause prices to average $100 a barrel between now and 2015, and to double by 2030.
As an alternative to oil, we can fuel our vehicles with electricity, which is reliable, abundant, and domestically produced. In fact, a recent federal study projected that, with grid management, 73 percent of the light duty fleet could be fueled by electricity without having to add any new generating capacity. The change would displace an estimated 6.2 million barrels of oil a day, about 52 percent of current oil imports.
Electrified vehicles offer significant environmental benefits over conventional vehicles currently on the road. If 60 percent of U.S. light-duty vehicles were powered by today’s electric grid, greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector would drop by one-third.
City centers, where transportation is often congested and population is concentrated, see substantial air pollution improvement when electric drive vehicles replace conventional vehicles. Electric drive technologies reduce the levels of smog and other harmful airborne pollutants in our environment. As more electric vehicles are adopted and appear on our roadways, our air quality and public health improves.
Electric vehicles meet or exceed the stringent safety standards applied to conventional vehicles.
Electric cars must pass the same vigorous crash tests as “conventional” cars; their batteries undergo additional tests to ensure their safety. Electric vehicles also have several million miles of safe real-world driving experience. It has been documented through rigorous testing that electric vehicles do not pose a greater risk of fire than conventional gasoline-powered cars.