• Mar 20, 2009
In the message-appropriate setting of the Southern California Edison Electric Vehicle Technical Center, President Obama announced yesterday the availability of $2.4 billion to aid the development of plug-in cars and the infrastructure required to keep them charged. The money will come from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) and is divided into 3 parts.

  • $1.5 billion for U.S.-based manufacturers to produce batteries and components
  • $500 million to help produce other electric vehicle (EV) components such as electric motors
  • $400 million to demonstrate and evaluate plug-in hybrids and other electric infrastructure concepts which could include charging stations, electric rail and training for technicians to build and repair EVs

The announcement was the center piece of a speech that focused on energy and the economy. The President stressed the need for more renewable sources for electricity and less dependence on imported oil, noting that the SUV of today gets worse mileage than the Model T of 100 years ago. While perhaps not the most even of vehicular match-ups, the point was subtextually made that gains in efficiency can be a source of prosperity. Hit the jump for video of the speech (in two parts) as well as the press release from the Department of Energy (DOE) about the announcement.

[Source: White House blog / DOE / YouTube, Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty ]





PRESS RELEASE

President Obama Announces $2.4 Billion in Funding to Support Next Generation Electric Vehicles DOE Support for Advanced Battery Manufacturing and Electric Vehicle Deployment to Create Tens of Thousands of U.S. Jobs

POMONA, CA - Today, President Barack Obama announced the availability of $2.4 billion in funding to put American ingenuity and America's manufacturers to work producing next generation Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles and the advanced battery components that will make these vehicles run. The initiative will create tens of thousands of U.S. jobs and help us end our addiction to foreign oil. Americans who decide to purchase these Plug-in Hybrid vehicles can claim a tax credit of up to $7,500.

"This investment will not only reduce our dependence on foreign oil, it will put Americans back to work," President Obama said. "It positions American manufacturers on the cutting edge of innovation and solving our energy challenges."

While visiting Southern California Edison's Electric Vehicle Center, the President announced the following:
* The Department of Energy is offering up to $1.5 billion in grants to U.S. based manufacturers to produce these highly efficient batteries and their components.
* The Department of Energy is offering up to $500 million in grants to U.S. based manufacturers to produce other components needed for electric vehicles, such as electric motors and other components.
* The Department of Energy is offering up to $400 million to demonstrate and evaluate Plug-In Hybrids and other electric infrastructure concepts -- like truck stop charging station, electric rail, and training for technicians to build and repair electric vehicles.

By contributing to the reduction of petroleum use and greenhouse gas emissions, these projects will advance the United States' economic recovery, national energy security, and environmental sustainability. Today's announcement will also help meet the President's goal of putting one million plug-in hybrid vehicles on the road by 2015.

Advanced batteries, capable of meeting standards for durability, performance, and weight, are a key technology for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and other electric vehicles. DOE plans to provide assistance to construct or upgrade battery manufacturing, component, and recycling plants for lithium-ion and other advanced batteries, as well as for production factories for electric drive vehicle power electronics. These agreements will help lower the cost of battery packs, batteries, and electric propulsion systems, enabling manufacturers to establish a thriving domestic electric vehicle industry. These advanced battery factories will also support battery manufacturing for consumer products, as well as military and utility applications.

DOE will also support demonstration, evaluation, and education projects to help develop the market for advanced electric drive vehicles. These vehicles will get up to 100 miles per gallon, achieve a driving range of up to 40 miles without recharging and run much like today's hybrids beyond that 40 mile range. Under this program, the DOE will also demonstrate other electric vehicle technologies such as truck stop electrification to reduce idling, electric rail, and necessary infrastructure. The solicitation covers demonstration projects that test a variety of vehicles, including small off-road vehicles, passenger vehicles, and over-the-road trucks, in geographically and climatically diverse locations.

These projects will be funded with funds appropriated by the President's American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Together, the Administration expects these projects will create tens of thousands of U.S. jobs and help end our addiction to foreign oil. The Act gives preference to activities that can be started and completed expeditiously. DOE's approach includes jointly funding partnerships with industry to develop technologies that will support the Recovery Act's goals and accelerate the adoption of successful technologies in high volume production vehicles. More information on the Recovery Act and projects funded by it are available at Recovery.gov


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  • 38 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      Why spend money on a propulsion system that not All of us want? This electric car crap is being ramed up the tax payers butt. If this is a globlal warming myth cure all, we are all screwed. I think if somone wants a battery powered car it should be by choice, not goverment making you. I will drive my v8 car because I like it. I don´t take jet vacations around the third world and waste more fuel than I will burn in 10 years just for fun, like a lot of greenies do.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @Eric
        I think it's somewhat obviously problematic to assume that just because electric cars can't go 500 miles TODAY, and can't charge in 5 minutes TODAY, that they won't be able to do so as they develop.
        If you keep up on technology you'd know that fast-charging cells (like, really fast) already exist-they're just prohibitively expensive to manufacture right now.

        Years ago they could do it in 5 minutes:
        http://www.gizmag.com/toshiba-scib-super-charge-lithium-battery/8506/

        And just recently it's down to TEN SECONDS:
        http://gpsobsessed.com/a-lithium-ion-battery-that-can-fully-charge-in-10-seconds/

        Seriously, just because you love cars doesn't mean that you should bury your head in the sand and pretend that battery technology can't get better. That's like believing that rechargable batteries would never be better than NiCads (remember those?) or that disposable batteries would never be better than Alkalines (lithium batteries).

        In a few years they'll be able to affordably make higher capacity batteries that charge in anything from a few seconds to a few minutes.

        Funding battery development in the United States is just going to stop us from having to buy those batteries from Japan so our electric cars will charge in 5 minutes.

        I find it pretty amazing the number of posts here that just assume that technology will never get better. Whether it's whining about crash tests or electric cars, it's like half the people want to live in 1970. Maybe next time you go to see the doctor you can tell him that you don't want any medicine invented after 1970 either and see how well that works out for you.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Eric, I drive a car with a V8 as well but believe me the technology is very new and just like computers, will get better as years go by. There will be day when 500 miles on a single charge wont be a problem.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Tortoise and the hare, dear RicoChet. While your electric car may be able to pass with more gusto than my V8 Cadillac, I can go 500 miles on a tank of gas and it only takes about 5 minutes to 'recharge' at the pump.

        Who killed the electric car? The electric starter.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Take it easy, there, Rushy.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @akboss302: +1

        Very well said. We need to start somewhere, folks.

        However, it's funny that amidst all this new spending, I haven't heard much lately about ending the most horrific government spending of all... just when are we getting the fack out of Iraq?
        • 5 Years Ago
        The Government has to step in because, left up to stupid people like yourself, California will be missing in a decade and your kids won't be able to breathe without a pollution mask. But of course, how dare we think of anybody else but ourselves, right? What would happen if for a day we piped everybody's daily exhaust fumes from their cars into their homes to see what kind of mark you're making on the planet. Chances are, you would ask to trade your V8 for a Prius for the day. But because it doesn't affect you or your concept of 'personal space', then it doesn't matter. Same with people who litter...its the reason we spend hundreds of millions of dollars to hire paid workers to clean up your sh*t because you're too lazy or arrogant to find a trash can.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Look how well government backed autos were for Russia, East Germany.
      • 5 Years Ago
      The most incompetent and corrupt Congress in the countries history teams up with the most incompetent industry heads of the auto industry for a photo up and the burning of $2.4 billion in taxpayer money that will be A) wasted or B)never spent.

      Though I enjoy the trivia and diversion of this website I can't help but believe the point of no return is creeping up up on us and US.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I'm convinced Obama carries that podium in his car around and even at home he pulls it out when he lextures his kids about homework and finally when the kids agree to do the homework, he goes and sits down on a table next to the podium and signs a bill with his left hand.
      • 5 Years Ago
      If private development doesn't see a venture here, then government subsidies are going to create an artificial market. Just like any subsidy always does.

      If this were going gangbusters, there would be venture capital, even in this economy, trying to find ways to profit from this. The popular support for it is already moving into place, and a few small ventures are already trying, like Tesla. But Government doesnt' abide by market forces, they seize money and then re-distribute it by fiat. That isn't the way this works, and it won't work.

      They'll have GM and Ford out there asking for more than just increased gas taxes and mileage-based road-use taxes to in-directly push hybrids, and take revenue from them. If the government gets vested in this, they will only push harder when the market doesn't support it.

      Obama's spending is going to cost FAR more than even HE thought it would... CBO is claiming much higher deficit numbers.

      Maybe they should STOP SPENDING YOUR AND MY MONEY, and let the private market find it's level, and start doing what it does.
        • 5 Years Ago
        No, that's how subsidies work for goods like corn. This money will be used for research. The government, through NASA and the military, has in the past paid for research on things like microwaves and lasers which we use every day now. There might not be a market for electric vehicles now, but they'll be able to discover ways to make batteries cheaper, last longer, charge faster and weigh less.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Don't forget that secret research project that led to the internet. You know, the one Al Gore promoted to make it available to the public.
        • 5 Years Ago
        So do you want our government to cease promotion of stability through military intervention and foreign aid to oil producing regions so we can really see what the free market will do with oil prices? Our government has been manipulating the market for 233 years. It seems to have worked out so far.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I think we need to get away from all this electric car crap and focus on wind up cars.
      No electricity is needed, jobs will be created all over the country because some one will have to keep the spring wound "motors" wound up, and no renewable energy will be needed. Yes, I am kidding, mostly..................
        • 5 Years Ago
        It may indeed be funny, but that almost sounds like the most brilliant possibility I've heard in a while...
      • 5 Years Ago
      I wish these weren't grants, but investments. Then maybe the tax payers could get some money back. And, imagine if the investments could be direct investments by American taxpayers and the potential future value would be reflected in social security statements?
      • 5 Years Ago
      Where is all this money coming from? Did we have some secret stash somewhere that I didn't know about?
        • 5 Years Ago
        One man's socialism is another man's nuance.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Investing in infrastructure presently (which, btw, is long overdue) will save us $$ in the long run (we waste tens of Billions in productivity due to traffic jams, etc. as well as the premature wear of our vehicles due to poor road conditions).

        It's the same idea as spending some $$ on preventive medical care (such as prenatal care) to prevent much higher costs down the line.

        Currently, 1 in 8 births are now born premature, at an annual cost of at least $26.2 billion. Each premature birth costs TEN times the amount of medical care of a healthy, full term birth.

        We are losing our competitive edge in part due to our aged and inefficient infrastructure (ranging from roads, bridges, railways, the power grid, power plants, flight control system, etc.).

        And oh, if investing in infrastructure (the heart of a country's future) is "socialism" than Pres. Eisenhower was, unbenownst to him, a huge socialist for being responsible for the US highway system.

        The same goes for those who were responsible for the development of the US railway system, the Erie and Panama Canals, the flight control system and all the support that goes to the airline industry.
        • 5 Years Ago
        "Your future income will be higher because of investments made now. "

        One man's "investments" is another man's "socalism".
        • 5 Years Ago
        It is coming out of my future income :(
        • 5 Years Ago
        Obama is the new Jesus.

        He multiplies money like Jesus did the loaves and fishes.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @John
        Well, if "communists" like the Chinese can spend hundreds of billions to improve infrastructure, then have their economy grow immensely because of it then I'm all for it.

        Seriously I hate how some people actually believe that you can have good economic growth without bothering to ever spend any money on infrastructure. It's patently ridiculous. The whole reason why 3rd world countries are 3rd world countries is because they have no infrastructure to support industry.

        Spending money on infrastructure isn't socialism any more than having paved roads is socialism. If you want everything in the whole f'ing world to be privatized so you don't have to pay taxes then I suggest you get the hell off our public roads.

        Everything from telephone lines to the water supply to the power grid was built with government money or subsidies. Apparently you wish to live in some hellhole without running water or electricity or paved roads, but I think the majority of people would agree that having the government build the basic infrastructure that'll let us run great enterprises using that infrastructure makes a lot more sense than everyone having to dig their own wells and drive on crappy dirt roads.

        And here's a clue, India has billions of people, and China has billions of people. Why is the Chinese economy so much larger? Infrastructure-the kind they built by kicking people out of their houses and bulldozing them. Totally dick, but a completely legitimate investment when you look at the returns for the economy. And seeing as how our economy isn't exactly roaring away right now, I'd say it's time to start putting the emphasis on building infrastructure (preferably without bulldozing anybody's house).
      • 5 Years Ago
      I Have words for nobama

      We don't believe you.

      • 5 Years Ago
      Wow, money actually spent to fund something useful instead of just bailing out incompetence. What an amazing concept.
        • 5 Years Ago
        It's hardly useful when the proposed cap & trade program and decommissioning of Yucca mountain will, by the White House's own estimates, going to send electricity prices through the roof.

        Where in the enumerated powers in the Constitution is this authorized?
        • 5 Years Ago
        The ethanol subsidies are a boondoggle due to the huge agribusiness and big sugar special interests.

        It would have made much more economical and scientific sense to have supported a sugar-based ethanol model (just like Brazil) even if it meant having to import much of the sugar-based ethanol (we actual do import a decent amount via the Carribean islands which, in turn, import it from Brazil).
        • 5 Years Ago
        All Obama knows how to do is write checks...that seems to be his fix all bandaid for every situation...I feel very sorry for our children and godchildren's generation. They will be the ones paying for all these bailouts and desperate "throw money at any problem, and it will go away" attempts.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @Steve - I feel sorry for how out of touch you are with what's actually going on in our economy. For everyone's benefit, please, get off the internet.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Nope, just funding more incompetence. It seems to come in different flavors and shapes from our esteemed political leaders. It'll probably be a bigger boondoggle than ethanol subsidies.
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