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Click above for more shots of the Ford Escape PHEV

In what seems like a convenient answer to Mark Fields' request just yesterday for government assistance for the development of plug-in hybrids, the Department of Energy has just announced that it will be granting up to $30 million for just this type of vehicle. Not that thirty-mill is a small sum or anything, but that amount of money will be spread rather thin, being divided across three separate projects from three different manufacturers. Ford is one of them, while General Motors will receive funding for battery development and Chrysler, in partnership with General Electric, will also get some love.

The end-goal of this funding is a plug-in hybrid vehicle that is capable of traveling 40 miles on electric power alone. The DOE hopes that these specifications can be cost-effective by the year 2014 with vehicles on the road around 2016. We're a little puzzled, however, by the relatively small amount of money being handed out to reach these goals. Hydrogen fuel cell technology has received over four times as much funding and is nowhere near as close to production as PHEVs. Regardless, we look forward to seeing some of these investments bear fruit as soon as possible.

[Source: DOE via Green Car Congress]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 7 Years Ago
      And I can't even spell 'how'.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Your tax dollars at work to help corporations create new ways to get the rest of your dollars. Brilliant.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Perhaps if Americans like Prescott Bush weren't proping up Hitler in the first place with money and help keeping the US government off his back.... Ah forget it, you're obviously clueless on history.
        • 7 Years Ago
        It is a very odd trait of Americans to feel the need to honor their war profiteers. I hope I'm around in 40 years when people will start telling me to buy Haliburton because they where there for us, proving $25 rolls of toilet paper in Iraq when we really needed them.
        • 7 Years Ago
        You're not quite right in the head are you boy? Necessary war? Are you joking?
        • 7 Years Ago
        "During the Pacific War (World War II) the company was dedicated to truck production for the Imperial Japanese Army. Because of severe shortages in Japan, military trucks were kept as simple as possible. For example, the trucks had only one headlight on the center of the hood. The war ended shortly before a scheduled Allied bombing run on the Toyota factories in Aichi." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toyota_Motor_Corporation

        "However, on December 7, 1941, Japan rushed headlong into the Pacific War. Tokai Seiki was placed under the control of the Ministry of Munitions. In 1942, Toyota took over 40% of the company’s equity and Honda was “downgraded” from president to senior managing director. The male employees gradually disappeared as they were called up for military service, and both adult women and female students began to work in the factory as members of the “volunteer corps.” Mr. Honda would calibrate the machines himself and took pains to ensure that the manufacturing process was made as safe and simple as possible for these inexperienced female workers. It was at this time that he devised ways of automating the production of piston rings."

        Toyota making machines that Honda was calibrating all to destroy the United States of America.

        So, not only did Toyoda/Toyota and Honda not help the U.S. to not fall under enemy control but those two were responsible for actions against the U.S. If it wasn't for GM, Ford and others we would have been defeated (without those very important war machines.)

        My point is that unlike Honda and Toyota, GM and Ford and others were there for us. Therefore, I have no problem being there for them what-so-ever. Any American that sees otherwise has something wrong with them.

        Only Chrysler has asked to be bailed out by the gov't in the past and they paid it back early with interest.

        • 7 Years Ago
        Sorry, I have to spell it out for you. I think my description conveyed my intentions but since you need it spelled out and complete the sentence for you...

        A necessary war TO JOIN once it was already started by others, not us.

        There are wars (most the U.S. has been in) that if we did not join in we would still be a sovereign country after the war. Then there are wars like WWII where it was necessary to participate or else the outcome could be that you are taken over by the other country. A direct attack by a legit military with the potential (given a few years more or less bad choices on the German's part and their technology would be able to hit us much more effectively.) You knew what I meant but you had no decent reply so you thought you'd try and make it sound like I was stating something like it was necessary to start the war or something. But you knew what I meant (or else you are brain dead.)

        But you spin as much as Toyota (and as easy to see right through it, BTW.)
        • 7 Years Ago
        • 7 Years Ago

        "war profiteers"? The American companies built more war machines faster than any other in the history of the world. They deserve their profits. Matter of a fact, if they had been as inefficient as the Japanese and Germans at making things then we know what the Germans would have done to all the people that weren't perfect in their eyes.

        But I think you lost all credibility when you compare a 100% necessary war (WWII) and what was accomplished then to Haliburton and wars against people that have no chance of taking over the country. Yes, 100% certain that there was a chance that if Japan didn't attack the U.S. and we stayed out and let Germany and Japan win and then regroup against us, no, WWII was necessary. Haliburton not.

        Are you really that dumb? Seriously?
      • 7 Years Ago
      Just think, had Bush spent that Half Trillion Bucks on things like this, infrastructure (like failing bridges), and social redeeming projects INSTEAD of his "WAR" on terrorists in Iraq just think what benefit there would have been for the Taxpayers.

      So, now McCain wants to continue (for a hundred years) the war in Iraq at billion$ a month and he has support of taxpayers????


      .....a Republican
      • 7 Years Ago
      I'd rather my tax dollars go to car companies than poor people, but I'd prefer the Automakers not using it for fuel-efficient cars. Make an H1 replacement already, sheesh...
        • 7 Years Ago
        "Or maybe we'll just use some of that money to continue funding undeclared wars. Or maybe shoot more rockets to other planets in the hopes of finding proof of life there while not utilizing those same resources to nurture and protect it here."

        I like both of those options, but I'd rather we find other intelligent life before we start launching rockets at random planets. How do you expect to create an Intergalactic Empire by just throwing rockets away like that? Rockets aren't cheap, and nuclear warheads are becoming ever more scarce.
        • 7 Years Ago
        *Yaaaaaawn!* Are you still here?
        • 7 Years Ago
        Ease up, Yar. Being poor is not an option one generally elects to pursue.

        As for tax dollars being used to help sponsor and develop more fuel efficient and environmentally friendly vehicles, what do you want? More gas guzzlers that people really no longer want or can afford to operate?

        Or maybe we'll just use some of that money to continue funding undeclared wars. Or maybe shoot more rockets to other planets in the hopes of finding proof of life there while not utilizing those same resources to nurture and protect it here.

        The Department of Energy's $30 million grant to the automakers will not solve all of our automotive energy needs, but it's a good starting point.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Injun Joe, I don't think you quite grasp some of the subtleties of this whole conversation. Heres a quick hint:

        I can make a pop-up book explaining the whole matter, if you like.
      • 7 Years Ago
      "Hydrogen fuel cell technology has received over four times as much funding and is nowhere near as close to production as PHEVs."

      It figures that this administration would piss away the taxpayers money to its friends. Government has to be willing to help what ever new fuel source or new technology that whines us off of Oil.

      Hydrogen fuel cell Technology does not need to be research any more. Years of research have shown that vehicles can run on hydrogen and store it as safely as fuel. The only thing hindering a "Hydrogen Future" is the delivery system; actually making hydrogen stations more available throughout the nation.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Hydrogen technology shouldn't get any funding whatsoever. Electric with solar power is the wave of the future, not hydrogen.
        • 7 Years Ago
        My point was, it works in situations where large capacitors (or however, you plan to store the energy) are needed, energy is still needed to make energy in large quantities, and I'm not all that confident that in certain areas, the surface of the solar panel would trap enough energy to make whatever was needed to power an entire home, depending on its size. I never said solar was a bad thing. I just don't think it should be the ONLY thing.

        Feel free to disagree, but sarcasm is unnecessary.
        • 7 Years Ago
        And what about parts of the world that see less than 5 hours of daylight often times or areas in the US where snowfall is extremely heavy? There are other alternatives that would work better in those situations.
      • 7 Years Ago
      "....new technology that whines us off of Oil."

      Sorry! I meant "wane us off of Oil".

      As I know that we can never be Oil free, just lowering our dependency will be a good thing.
      • 7 Years Ago
      If small business and entrepreneurs are already making plug-ins a possibility, how hard is it for automakers to do it? Battery powered vehicle designs have been around for over 100 years, plugging them in seems to be a natural step. However, hydrogen power is still very new, it make sense to spend more R&D money on things that are new. While I'm highly pessimistic on the future having hydrogen powered vehicles, batteries won't save us completely.
        • 7 Years Ago
        These are different kinds of plug-ins.

        The Prius can't (for some definition of can't) go more than 45mph on electric power only. So no matter how much electricity you put in through a cord, it's going to use fuel to go places.

        Those are the limitations of these conversions.

        The plug-ins being developed by GM (and presumably Toyota) will have true all-electric operation up to highway speeds (but don't expect to go 80).
      • 7 Years Ago
      Wow, the way the 30 mil is divided is 13 mil GM, 10 mil Ford and 7 mil Chrysler.

      Was it really worth it? The freaking signing bonus just for Mullaly to accept the job was 9 million back in 2006.

      The amount is too small to compensate for the bad image of automakers begging for taxpayer money. Specially to subsidize making a product there is an overwhelming demand for.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Government subsidies have no history of working, but if they're going to give it out, give the lump sum to Tesla. I bet you'd actually see it put to use. They produce cars people want but they're left to compete with market forces while the floundering major companies spend their money on lobbying for lower CAFE standards.
        • 7 Years Ago
        "Government subsidies have no history of working,"

        It helped the Prius get profitable faster than without (not from Japan, from American tax breaks, no different than a subsidy.) Subsidies probably stopped a ton of farmers from selling their land to builders during the real estate boom. Can you imagine if many of the farmers decided to cash out for the land and not produce food we need. I bought property about 9 years ago that more than quadrupled in price during the boom. Pretty tempting. Though mine wasn't a farm. Anyway, the gov't subsidizes student loans and grants. SBIR is a subsidy. That blanket statement isn't all true.

        "but if they're going to give it out, give the lump sum to Tesla."

        Genius. A company that has delivered all of a handful of cars to customers. A company that had another company (Lotus) engineer 80% or more of their product. A company that employs tens of thousands less Americans than any ONE of the big 3. That would be smart. GM's two mode hybrid system, the closest thing technology-wise you can get like it is the $115K Lexus but with only one electric motor in the transmission instead of two. GM was the first major manufacturer to announce series hybrid production. How much easier is it going to be to convert a 5 year old Volt to an all electric vehicle than even a Prius? Please think about the 45mph limit in the Prius electric motor before you answer (to throw the engine and the motor out to convert it)

        "They produce cars people want"

        Sure, everyone wants a $100K car so they can flaunt their money. 100% Lotus body work. Yeah, I could pay Lotus a boat load and have a car people want too. Throw in an electric kit motor. Sure, it probably won't get 200mile range but it would be a car "people would want."

        "but they're left to compete with market forces while the floundering major companies spend their money on lobbying for lower CAFE standards."

        Like Toyota? I don't think Toyota is begging for any harsh standards. http://www.autoweek.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070730/FREE/70730006/1024

        But that would be smart. Subsidize a $100K 2 seat sports car over a over say the Volt. I know, whitestar is coming. GM is much farther along with the Volt than Tesla with whitestar. Heck, GM is almost as far along with the Volt as Tesla is with the Roadster. I mean, GM might have as many Volt/Flextream prototypes out there as Tesla has Roadsters.

        • 7 Years Ago
        I can see why your reply went into my junk mail box. I would ask if you could make your point without insults, but I see from your other posts it would be too much to ask.
      • 7 Years Ago
      As much as I hate corporate welfare this is good for the country so the investment isn't entirely wasted. And its not being given to healthy companies that don't need someone else to fund their R$D.

      'Government has to be willing to help what ever new fuel source or new technology that whines us off of Oil.

      Don't you mean ween? Or is it whene? Hos do you spell that word anyway?

      We will never be 'off' oil. At least not for a real long time if we can just stop wasting that awesome resource by burning it up in our cars. We'd get almost half of every barrel of oil back into other uses.
      • 7 Years Ago
      To Honda no, but to Toyota, being a business conglomerate that still works under the Japanese government (as most Japanese car makers are), yes. That said, I'm not at all convinced certain technology is actually Toyotas, despite the patents...
        • 7 Years Ago
        That's what I figured, but wanted to make sure. Even then, I thought I read somewhere that Toyota is finally making money on their hybrid program. I could be wrong though.

        The point behind my post above, is that while corporate handouts aren't at the top of the list of things I feel the government should do, in some circumstances they are necessary (or at least helpful). Besides if they didn't toss that 30 million dollars to the automakers, it probably would have gone towards gov't waste anyhow.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Sorry my reply was to psu48187
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