The Wall Street Journal yesterday reported that the Big Three have asked the federal government for a $500 million helping hand to develop advanced batteries for use in future vehicles, like the Chevy Volt that has made so much news recently.

And here's the interesting part. This request, which GM, Ford Motor and DaimlerChrysler AG's Chrysler Group say they need in order to keep up with the Japanese car companies in battery technology, is not new. Instead, it was submitted sometime last month. It was a follow-up to the November meeting between executives of the Big Three and President Bush. My question is why haven't we heard about this until now? Was it supposed to be secret? Did no one think it was important to talk about until the Volt made headlines?

For now, a technology advisor to Bush and the Department of Energy is reviewing the proposal. Neither the White House nor the DOE would comment on the story to the WSJ.

An AutoblogGreen reader let us know about this story, and had some good comments:

First of all, Tesla did it with venture capital alone. Second, why should the feds bail them out, just because they missed the bus? And third, if it's so critical for Detroit, then surely they can justify investing heavily in it themselves, right?

[Source: Wall Stree Journal, thanks to Anon. for the tip!]

UPDATE: Reader's name removed for privacy

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