Nader's EV plan: Lower stickers, batteries come from utilities
Nader: Recruit the utilities.
Consumer advocate Ralph Nader has long been a thorn in the side of the auto industry, but he is a big supporter of plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles. But he worries that slow sales of EVs will cause automakers to reach a "here we go again" moment, where "they decide it's not profitable, and they dump it."
That's why Nader sent letters on Jan. 26 to General Motors CEO Dan Akerson and Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn proposing an idea. The letters, written with former utility executive David Freeman, say automakers could cut the price of the Chevrolet Volt or Nissan Leaf by $5,000 or $10,000 by having utilities supply the batteries at little or no cost to the consumer.
Wishful thinking? Nader and Freeman say utilities might go for the idea because they could recoup their expenses and then some through the increased use of electricity.
GM and Nissan acknowledged receiving the letters.
"We appreciate their insight and thoughtful recommendations to help accelerate market adoption of electric vehicles," GM spokesman Greg Martin wrote in an e-mail. "GM, too, is committed for the long term to growing this segment."