Has Obama Made a Smart Investment in the Electric Car?

President Barack Obama
Photo by: Pete Souza
President Barack Obama

President Obama travels to Holland, Michigan today to discuss the economy and hail the development of the electric car industry.

His appearance at the groundbreaking of an LG Chem battery plantwill include mentioning the hiring of 300 employees.

He'll no doubt say this is another sign the Federal government made a wise decision investing tens of millions to develop the American electric car industry.

But is that true?

Put aside your political views for a moment and honestly ask yourself if you think the Federal money allocated to LG Chem, GM, Ford, and scores of other auto companies is money well spent? Yes, it's led to the addition of thousands of jobs. And yes, it's spurring the advancement of battery packs and other technology critical to the burgeoning electric car market.

All that said, the electric car market is still in its infancy.

The Nissan Leafand the Chevy Volthit showrooms later this year, and more EV models are on the way from other automakers in the next couple of years.

Exciting? Yes. But keep that enthusiasm in perspective. J.D. Powersays by 2015 global sales of electric vehicles will hit 500,000. That's global sales, not here in the U.S.

The reason I bring this up is because I've heard from more than a few people who have asked the rhetorical question, "Is spending the money developing the electric car a smart investment?"

I already know what the extremists on this issue are going to say.

The tree huggers will bash me for ignoring the fact we need to develop cleaner cars and trucks. On the other side, the gas guzzlers will tell me the government should take the EV money and spend more developing America's diesel market or to make the internal combustion car more efficient.

But what about the rest of you?

Do you think the Federal money being spent on developing the electric car industry is money well spent - take our poll and let me your thoughts-leave a comment in the comment section.


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