Government assistance will be required if auto makers are to perfect plug-in hybrid vehicle technology, saysMotor Co.â€™s North American chief.
Speaking at a conference in Washington, Mark Fields says a government program to accelerate the development of PHEVs would help fast-track the technology.
â€śTax breaks for hybrid technology proved to be an incentive of early adopters of hybrid vehicles leading to greater consumer acceptance,â€ť Fields says. â€śIn the same manner, incentives for plug-in hybrids will need support if they are to be developed for commercial viability.â€ť
isnâ€™t the only auto maker to call on the U.S. government to provide assistance in the development of alternative powertrains.
In an April interview,LLC Vice Chairman and former Motor Corp. board member Jim Press told BusinessWeek the Japanese government had subsidized â€ś100% of the research and development costsâ€ť of the auto makerâ€™s hybrid technology.
later disputed the claim, saying it received no assistance from the Japanese government.
Fields also says the U.S. is falling behind in the development of advanced lithium-ion batteries needed to power PHEVs.
â€śItâ€™s also important to note most battery supply is currently being developed in Asia,â€ť he says. â€śFor those looking to plug-ins to answer our energy security concerns, we must ensure a domestic battery supply. Moving from imported oil to imported batteries clearly would not address this growing concern.â€ť
Fields says â€śbold and dramaticâ€ť incentives are needed to accelerate the commercial development of high-energy batteries in the U.S.