• Jun 24, 2008
As expected, presidential hopeful John McCain outlined a plan yesterday which would offer a $300 million cash prize to the first company able to build a better automotive battery. The proposal is part of an effort to reduce the nation's petroleum usage, in this case, by furthering the development of electric cars. In what would must be the least shocking news of the day, McCain's rival for the White House, Barack Obama, isn't in favor of the Arizona Senator's plan, calling it a "gimmick" and suggesting that his plan to force automakers into a 50 mile per gallon fleet average by 2027 would be more effective.
One thing is certain: whomever wins the presidential election has plans to make drastic changes to the automotive sector with the express goal of reducing the nation's dependence on oil. What path that may take, though, remains to be seen and will likely depend on which candidate placed in office. It should be rather interesting to watch it all unfold.

[Source: The Detroit News]


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  • 109 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      I wouldn't trust either one of these clowns to watch my house.

      But Obama would rather tax and spend our way to the stone-age.

      His marxist comments should disqualify him from being the president of his local PTA, let alone the leader of the free world.

      McCain vacillates so much that who knows what he'll change his mind on next, or which side of the aisle he happens to be sitting on today.

      America is in BIG, BIG trouble if this is the best we can do.

      If someone steps up to the plate, and says:

      "My purpose as President will be to hold the government to the strictures of the Constitution, and GET OUT OF THE WAY of the American people's ingenuity and work ethic, and defend the integrity of the United States, as a country. That is all."

      They would get my vote, and my enthusiastic support.

      Insulating the american people from the consequences of government authoritarianism, and the people's own lack of self responsibility and accountability is not one of the enumerated powers, and is not a valid platform to run for office.

      That is my platform. But I am sure it wouldn't go over well with the Washington insiders. All of them would be out of their jobs, and might actually have to earn some sort of living, rather than grafting off the american taxpayer.
        • 6 Years Ago
        @mk

        I think the problem most people don't seem to understand isn't necessarily that he wants every American to come home forever. The biggest thing I take from his talks on foreign policy is this: we need to take care of our own problems before we go trying to take care of others' problems.

        I think that if we can begin working on our plethora of personal issues we have (as a nation), we can then go back out to the world and ask "hey, does anybody need any assistance?"

        We seem to goto a lot of unnecessary places. Why are we stationed in Germany still? I would think they could do pretty well on their own. Yet we're not sending troops/assistance to most places in Africa (Darfur or, more interestingly, Zimbabwe w/their possible corrupt election system). I'm not trying to make this a call for help for them, because they can do this on their own.

        Yes, I'm a Ron Paul fan, which means my words will soon be disregarded once most readers set their eyes upon this sentence.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Good comments, well thought out unlike many on here!

        Like the "Bush had a surplus" ones or "we've spent al our money not tax increase will fix it" comments.

        If they would look at something other than MSNBC they would see where Clinton got a lot of that money. He sold treasury bonds and then raised taxes which is fine but too bad China bought the bonds! Clinton didn't fix the problem but merely passed it on to the next president and beyond. The surplus wouldn't have covered half of the bonds price when it would be called and he knew it.

        For doubters do your own research, its pretty easy to find if you stop looking for anti-Bush or anti-Obama, etc, etc....
        • 6 Years Ago
        Dude, that will never happen. Unless we have some revolution. Your best bet is to go through the process and run for president with your secret agenda. Do what it takes to win. Then slowly change things around once you're in office. Otherwise you are just another loud mouth whiner. Nothing will get done because the people who have the real power to do it don't want to. They like how things are whether you do or not.
        • 6 Years Ago
        So you are going to write in Ron Paul? ( I am a big Paul supporter.)
        • 6 Years Ago
        You do realize that the republicans have cut taxes, only to go 2 trillion dollars into debt...

        Bush took office with a surplus...
        • 6 Years Ago
        I like Paul's and Barr's libertarian, small government domestic policies, they tend to be hands-off, as the federal government should be, to it's own citizens, and to individual people in general.

        The government isn't your caretaker. Take care of yourself, no one else cares enough about you particularly, to do a good job at taking care of you. Self reliance and responsibility used to be admirable traits.

        The federal government is for national security, objective high-order law creation, enforcement, and legal restraint outlined in the Constitution by the enumerated powers. The states are for smaller scope, more specific legal issues. The more that limited authority is aggregated low in the government, as close to the people as possible, the better.

        But Paul's, and even somewhat Barr's somewhat naive foreign policies are not tenable. We cannot retreat to our own borders and wait for the rest of the world to go up in flames, and then wonder what to do about it, once it is too late, and people elsewhere are dead or dying. Like Darfour, only covering the majority of the globe, under tyranny's thumb.

        As much as it feels good to say we need to keep to ourselves, that doesn't work, any more than you can refuse to interact with your co-workers, neighbors, freinds, or unwelcome aggressors, and hope it will work out well in the end.

        There is a debate about "how" foreign policy is to be handled, and perhaps it hasn't been handled the best possible way. But that is the past, and this is the present. I am disillusioned about the not-conservative GW Bush, as well, but he is done. Let him go.

        However, complete retraction of US influence in the world will only leave most of the planet open for tyranny. Tyrants do not keep to themselves, so neither can we. We don't want to reap that whirlwind when it comes after us.

        I am not a Paul supporter, (he's withdrawn anyway) and I am still somewhat unconvinced about Bob Barr.

        But I am certainly not going to vote for McCain, simply because he isn't Obama, and has abandoned almost ever conservative position there is. I don't care how many times he switches between "a Reagan revolution foot soldier", and "a maverick who can cross the aisle", and then sit down, and have lunch. McCain has NEVER reached across the aisle to forward a conservative goal with help from liberals. That is a one-way street, and it always has been.

        And there is NO WAY that I am going to vote for a Marxist like Obama, who says that the government needs to "re-distribute wealth more equitably." Among other communistic comments he has made about public policy and taxation. I can't afford to support Obama. LITERALLY, I can't afford the policies he is suggesting.

        I don't know who to vote for, for president. But I am VERY certain to vote for any other conservative I can find.

        No secret agenda, no hidden plan. WYSIWYG, it is all up front, and I always have been when talking about politics.

        I wish that were more common in our leadership candidates.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Tax & spend. Bahahaha. What is this 1970? The USA has so over spend it's tax money that no amount of tax increases would even put a dent in it, which is why Bush doesn't bother raising taxes. You'll never have to worry about higher taxes again, just inflation rates that'll make you beg to give 60% of your income to Uncle Sam for some relief.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I have a better plan... How about subsidizing hydrogen infrastructure and development.....
        • 6 Years Ago
        Of course Obama hates the idea, competition is against liberal ideals.
        • 6 Years Ago
        No that's a plan I could get behind.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Didn't he visit a Solar energy facility today, then immediately after that gave a speech about how Offshore Drilling wouldn't solve America's short-term problems at the pump?

      Yea, like practical Solar Power is right around the corner...
        • 6 Years Ago
        It's only topical.

        And besides, solar panels might not be mainstream but they can be easily implemented.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I really don't understand how America can be so high tech and scientifically driven and have people like McCain to propose something so unrealistic and unscientific.... seriously..
        • 6 Years Ago
        How many millions of innovations have come about in pursuit of the carrot of sales success in the free market place without government incentive whatsoeverl?

        Look at every other post on this blog. People would love, Love, LOVE to buy a car that gets great mileage.

        If a remotely practical (read: affordable and mostly works) new technology were offered it would sell by the millions with no help nor mandate from the government whatsoever.

        300 million tax dollars won't make an unviable design viable. But it will make finding a viable design that much more lucrative.

        And unlike the usual government grants Obama is propiosing it won't cost us a penny if it doesn't work. Welfare recipients on K street are deeply disappointed.
        • 6 Years Ago
        What? How many innovations happened with only market results to pay them off? Tons. How about the silicon chip? The personal computer?

        $300M isn't going to do much. There are almost 1 billion cell phones sold each year and each has a battery in them. And that's before you count anything else that uses batteries. There's already a ton of incentive to develop new batteries. $300M won't add much.
      • 6 Years Ago
      And by nothing will go as smoothly as promised, that relates to Obama's policy of throwing money at every facet of American society in slush funds and hoping for the best. Thats what 'fueled by hope' apparently means. Hope is money. Now you know.

      And if anyone bothered to read carefully, the Detroit News article did not say McCain's reward will go to the 'company' that creates a better battery. It says 'anyone who can design a battery.' That means its not for automotive R&D specifically. It could be a national team of graduate students and professors that develop the technology to do so. This could be a pre-award for a pattent purchase.

      Indeed, the automakers would just fund the building project themselves.

      And anyone who'd bother to check Obama's site would see, as usual, he's promising to throw even more money at such off-chances. $150 billion I think it was.

      So, yeah McCain tries to stimulate invention and he gets ridiculed by those who support 50x more of the same. Odd.
        • 6 Years Ago
        'lame duck' could mean a president on his way out that enacts policy he otherwise would not.

        That does not sound like Bush. He pretty much gave it to us straight what the hardships would be. And he's following through on what we voted for in 2004.

        Stop blaming/credidting presidents for the state of the economy would be my first advice. Thats futile.

        Obama is promising results, instead of policy. Though his policies don't look like they'll achieve those results. If he does what we think he intends(looks busy), we still won't get the results we voted for. That does not mean lame duck, (one who inacts unpopular policy for self-benefit on their way out of office). Thats just gross incompetence, which was the intended and stated meaning.

        Our definition of 'lame duck president' is kinda stupid considering the older term describes one who has lost political power. And frankly, there is too much power in the Executive Branch. We hinge our entire perception of our country on one man. We might as well elect a King. Its rediculous.

        I think Congress needs to re-establish that the president's powers are more limited than we perceive them to be.

        Since the President is basically ineffective at changing economic factors without the approval of Congress, put it in words. Get Americans to realize they shouldn't be voting with their wallets to no avail.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Yep -- its a giant douche versus a turd sandwich again this year..
      • 6 Years Ago
      @desiauto,

      Those figures are including all mfg's I do believe. So your assumption that it's excluding non-US based mfg's would be incorrect.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I don't support McCain, but I do agree somewhat with his plan.
      I think Obama's plan for 50mpg is ambitious but not practical. If I were an automaker and the requirement was 50mpg for the entire fleet, I would start pushing motorcycles and diesels, but still probably sell the same cars I've been selling.

      I think the most practical plan would be to cut national oil use by a certain percentage over a period of time, not individual segments of a large oil-consuming infrastructure.
      • 6 Years Ago
      yes, i can see why John McCain's plan to provide a small incentive as part of an overall push would be met with resistance by Obama who has no plan other than to foist the problem on others.
      sheesh.

      to jmccain's side: is there a criteria set for the 'better' battery? if not, then he is no better. or how bout the government really loading up the prize for the X-contest?
        • 6 Years Ago
        hrm. careful, your honest questions seem to find the same faults in McCain's prize as you've found in Obama, no real plan either.
        axiom
        • 6 Years Ago
        Please. John Mccain's plan is a GIMMICK, not an incentive. An incentive would be $5K rebates for hybrids & $10K for electrics, THAT would get the market moving and enable the kind of mass product which will make such extended life batteries cost-efficient. Every energy and car company in existence knows how much they would stand to gain (BILLIONS) by making the type of battery Mccain describes, and they're probably already spending 10x's as much per year working it.

        Now let me school you on what Obama is offering. He has released a highly detailed plan to curtail speculative energy trading. THIS is the primary cause for the oil market bubble. Check it here:
        http://blogs.suntimes.com/sweet/2008/06/obama_calling_on_tighter_regul.html#more

        Now, in case you are wondering whether his plan would have any meaningful effect, just YESTERDAY analysts testified to the House Energy and Commerce Committee and stated "the price of retail gasoline could fall by half, to around $2 a gallon, within 30 days of passage of a law to limit speculation in energy-futures markets, four energy analysts told Congress on Monday". Read it all here:

        Gas could fall to $2 if Congress acts, analysts say
        http://www.marketwatch.com/news/story/gas-could-fall-2-if/story.aspx?guid={2673C102-68E0-41D9-9C9A-10EE2E723948}

        And in case you need any more education on the topic, the current oil crisis has NOTHING to do with supply and demand, but is directly tied to the speculative trading, as this BusinessWeek article fully explains. It also exposes the record reserves, decline in demand, and massive glut of oil already on the market:

        There Is No Oil Shortage
        http://www.businessweek.com/lifestyle/content/apr2008/bw2008041_945564.htm?chan=top+news_top+news+index_businessweek+exclusives

        After you read all this, go back an take a second look at Obama's plan, and you will fully appreciate it as a very solid solution. You don't have to want to marry the guy to acknowledge good legislation that will benefit us all.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Really, Autoblog readers? Somehow, blatantly RACIST, IGNORANT and OFFENSIVE just doesn't cut it.

      McCain's fairytale battery is a complete pipe dream, R&D would cost well over the '300million' he promises. Since we'll be seeing the Volt debut with a system that can get 50mpg or better by 2010, it is very possible to attain a fleet-wide number like that by 2027. However, essential government funds to fund battery production for hybrid cars would be necessary in order to meet such a high demand. Sports cars would be pure electric, ala Tesla Roadster, and trucks would be able to reach very close numbers with a hybrid drivetrain behind a turbo diesel powerplant.

      But, hey, I'm sure you guys believe the worlds problems can be solved by invading Iran, drilling in ANWAR and abolishing any kind of accountability from all branches of government. Thank God there's so few of you.
      • 6 Years Ago
      NoBlackie4Prez:

      "I'm voting for the white guy'

      Dude, the cleaners called. Your sheets are ready...
      • 6 Years Ago
      Exciting, another shouting match. Like most sane people (read: not a career politician), the most obvious solution is finding some kind of compromise (read: legitimate compromise, not the two-faced crap we're fed daily). A reasonable ramp-up in efficiency *and* a prize to develop better batteries and methods of electricity generation. DARPA Grand Challenge has proved that if you dangle just a little cash in front of nerds and dorks (read: people like me), who are already interested in this stuff, the people with the means to fund their research will jump on board with the hope of recovering the costs.

      $10m or $20m, hell $50m even, seems more than enough however. $300m seems arbitrarily high for something without very specific requirements at this stage.
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