The U.S. Department of Energy announced a $30 million push to help get plug-in hybrids to market. Seven million will be coming this year, and the rest over the next two years. The $30M, which will be matched by the auto industry for $60M total, is to be used to improve PHEVs and high-power batteries to make a 40-mile EV-only range possible on commercially-ready PHEVs in 2016. DOE Under Secretary Bud Albright announced the matching grants at the Detroit Auto Show on Thursday.

The exact wording of the DOE's statement says that the "DOE will participate in a cooperative, pre-competitive research and development alliance – known as the U.S. Automotive Partnership for Advancing Research & Technologies – or USAutoPARTs. ... This $30 million Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) seeks projects that will find solutions to improving battery performance so vehicles can deliver up to 40 miles of electric range without recharging, and address critical barriers to achieving DOE's goal of making PHEVs cost-competitive by 2014 and ready for commercialization by 2016."

Let's see: $60 million in the next three years for cars that will be out in eight. Not bad. More and sooner is certainly going to be heard somewhere on the Internet, but this is certainly good news.

[Source: DOE, AP]

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