The ambitious project of installing 1 million electric vehicles on American highways by 2015 is ambitious and also achievable based on steps already taken as part of the Recovery Act and additional policy initiatives proposed by President Obama, the US Department of Energy said in a statement today.

President Obama's goal of putting one million electric vehicles on the road by 2015 represents a key component of our strategy to dramatically reduce America's dependence on foreign oil and ensure that the U.S. leads the world in the growing electric vehicle manufacturing industry, said DOE Assistant Secretary for Policy and International Affairs David Sandalow.

This is a race America can win - if we answer the President's call to out-innovate, out-build, and out-compete the rest of the world, he further added.

The current market outlook indicates that manufacturers are planning to produce in the range of one million electric vehicles by 2015. While industry-wide, manufacturing capacity is not likely to be the limiting factor in reaching the President's goal, additional policy steps are needed to further drive innovation, reduce costs, and spur consumer demand, Department of Energy said.

Combined global sales of hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) and battery electric vehicles (BEVs) are expected to total 5.2 million units in 2020, or just 7.3 percent of the 70.9 million passenger vehicles forecasted to be sold worldwide by that year,  according to a recent report from automobile market research company J.D. Power & Associates.

Various other measures taken by Obama's administration is to encourage electric vehicles by supporting advanced technology vehicle manufacturing and adoption in the U.S. through new consumer rebates, investments in R&D, and competitive programs to encourage communities that invest in advanced technology vehicle infrastructure, 

This plan will drive demand and position the United States as a global leader in manufacturing and deploying next-generation vehicle technologies. The strategy includes:

1. Make electric vehicles more affordable with a rebate up to $7,500: The President is proposing to transform the existing $7,500 tax credit for electric vehicles into a rebate that will be available to consumers immediately at the point of sale, instead of having to wait for tax returns to be filed.

2. Advance innovative technologies through new R&D investments: Building on Recovery Act investments, the President's FY2012 budget proposal will include enhanced R&D investments in electric drive, batteries, and energy storage technologies.

3. Reward communities that invest in electric vehicle infrastructure through competitive grants: To provide an incentive for communities to invest in EV infrastructure and remove regulatory barriers, the President is proposing a new initiative that will provide grants to up to 30 communities that are prioritizing advanced technology vehicle deployment.

The Department of Energy said it is investing $2.85 billion in electric vehicles of which $2 billion will go to help US carmakers produce advanced vehicle batteries and drive train components. Around $400 million will be invested to buy, test, and deploy different types of electric vehicles in the marketplace, and $300 million in cost-share projects under the Clean Cities program.

According to a recent report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance, plug-in electric vehicles, including plug-in hybrids and battery electric vehicles, have the potential to make up 9% of auto sales in 2020 and 22% in 2030 (1.6 million and 4 million vehicle sales respectively).