The Detroit Free Press reports that the Obama administration will bring leading automakers together today to explore how the industry can best launch electric vehicles with the aid of utility companies.
Several people familiar with the event told the newspaper that auto industry task force chief Ron Bloom will oversee the meeting, which will include the Detroit automakers, Honda Motor Co. and electric vehicle startups Fisker Automotive Inc. and Tesla Motors Inc.
Obama has been a strong supporter of electric vehicles. As a presidential candidate he campaigned on a pledge to push for 1 million plug-in hybrid vehicles on U.S. roads by 2015, and last year the White House announced $2.4 billion in grants to automakers and suppliers for electric-vehicle efforts.
While electric utilities have generally backed automakers' push toward battery-powered vehicles, both industries have lingering concerns about the availability of charging stations and how much energy demand such vehicles could create for the grid.
A group of electric wholesalers covering two-thirds of the United States and Canada released a study Wednesday that stated that plug-in hybrids could boost electric demand by 10 percent in some areas only if all were charging during peak hours. If charging were staggered throughout the day, the study found minimal boosts in energy demand.