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News Link • Transportation

Too Many Battery Factories, Too Few Electric Cars

•, Kevin Bullis
 In August 2009, President Obama announced a $2.4 billion grant program designed to create an electric vehicle battery industry in the United States. Three years on, the factories funded by those grants are sitting idle or operating well below their originally intended capacity.

The problem is simple. People aren't buying enough electric cars, and most of those that are being sold contain batteries made by established battery makers in Asia.

It's still early days for electric vehicles, but the idle factories point to the difficulty of starting a new high-tech industry from scratch.

The first chart, top left, shows the gap between the planned capacity for 2013 and the demand for batteries, based on estimates from Menahem Anderman at the consulting firm Advanced Automotive Batteries. The projected shortfall will happen even if the number of vehicles that use those batteries grows dramatically between 2012 and 2013, as is shown in the estimates in the second chart, below.


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