WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama's target of having a million electric vehicles on the road by 2015 won't be achieved unless the administration and the electric-vehicle industry can turbocharge sales efforts, an industry advocate said.
"I don't think meeting the 2015 goal is going to happen unless we do something different," said Brian Wynne, president of the Electric Drive Transportation Association.
EDTA members include traditional automakers, EV makers, suppliers, government organizations and energy companies.
"It requires the industry and government to collaborate and move faster,'' Wynne said in an interview last week at an EDTA conference here. "The White House is doing its best to move forward, and we'll do our part."
Wynne said he and other association board members met with White House staff on Tuesday, April 19, to request appointment of an interagency task force to help manage federal efforts to promote development of plug-in hybrids and EVs.
At the one-hour meeting, both sides agreed that electric-vehicle manufacturers have an opportunity to expand their markets if they can persuade state and local governments to buy more EVs for their fleets, Wynne said.
Wynne said the White House has been responsive to industry requests, including one seeking a second task force to advance public and private collaboration.
The White House declined to comment.
EDTA board members who attended the White House meeting included lobbyists for Toyota, Nissan, Chrysler and Honda, a list of participants showed. Three White House staff members attended, including presidential assistant Heather Zichal, who also is overseeing development of 2017-25 fuel economy and emission standards.
Obama said last month that starting in 2015, all new cars and trucks bought by the federal government would be hybrids, EVs and other alternative-fuel vehicles. U.S. agencies operate more than 600,000 fleet vehicles.
State and local agencies together have many more vehicles than that, Wynne said.
Luis Manuel Ramirez, CEO of GE Energy Industrial Solutions, said the government and the private sector also need to develop national and international industry standards if Obama's goal is to be reached.
The standards that need to be developed would cover a range of matters, including batteries, vehicles, charging infrastructure and electric grids, said Ramirez, who is not on the EDTA board and did not attend the White House meeting.
"The administration gets it," Ramirez said at the conference last week.
In February, an Indiana University study headed by retired Ford executive Germinder Bedi found that the United States may already lag behind Asia in EV development. Absent greater federal intervention, there may not be a million EVs on U.S. roads by 2020, let alone 2015, the study said.