Electric Vehicles
Electric Vehicles 35 Years Away From Mass Market Says VW CEO

Alt Dot Energy
March 17, 2009

Although the technology for electric vehicles is progressing rapidly, no country
has the infrastructure to support them, according to Stefan Jacoby, CEO of
Volkswagen America. Jacoby’s comments essentially echo what his boss, VW Group
Chairman Dr. Martin Winterkorn, recently outlined when he said electric vehicles
are “very far away” from mass production. He told a group of reporters that
electric cars are an important piece of the puzzle when it comes to the greening
of our transportation industry, but just not any time soon.

“What would happen if 50 million new electric customers would plug their
electric cars in an electric socket?” he said, “There is no country on earth
that is really properly prepared for electric cars.” He added it could take 35
years for electric vehicles to gain a significant global market share.

Jacoby offered efficient gasoline and diesel engines as an interim. “We have to
live for a certain period with fossil fuel engines,” he said, “The good news is
that the existing engines can be dramatically optimized.” Jacoby predicted these
engines will reach 70 mpg within 10 years.

VW’s European efforts aren’t far off — the upcoming Passat BlueMotion returns 48
mpg with the aid of start-stop technology, longer gears, low-friction
driveshafts, low rolling resistance tires and lightweight wheels. And other,
smaller vehicles like its Golf BlueMotion are reportedly capable of 60-mpg or more.

Currently, of the millions of automobiles sold worldwide each year, only a tiny
percentage are powered by electrons. Even after new vehicles like the Chevy Volt
come online, it will take a number of years before their combined sales get even
close to that of the gasoline or diesel engine. It seems hard to believe it will
take 35 years, but all the progress going on with alternative automotive
technology is very encouraging.


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