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Vice President Joe Biden will be delivering a speech on the economic recovery efforts that have been implemented thus far at the NextEnergy Center in Detroit on Wednesday. The Detroit News is reporting that Biden will be using the occasion to announce the first round of battery research grants from a $2 billion program that was part of the stimulus package passed earlier this year.

2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid - Click above for a high-res gallery

Click above for high-res gallery of the 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid

Last month, Germany reported a shocking 21 percent improvement in auto sales, and the greatest driver in the uptick was a used vehicle scrapping plan that pays drivers 2,500 euros ($3,150) to remove their old car from the road. With new car sales in most other countries down by at least that much, it was widely speculated that other governments would look closely at Germany's new system to see if it would be worth adopting in their areas.

In light of the automaker benefits and car buyer assistance in the recently-passed stimulus package, analysts at R. L. Polk & Co. estimate there will be an average rebate of $330 for every vehicle sold this year. By allowing buyers to deduct the sales tax from a new vehicle purchase from their income taxes, Polks sees a sales increase of 94,000 units this year.

With congressional leaders and the incoming Obama administration working on a new economic stimulus package, everyone is angling for a piece of the pie. That includes car and battery manufacturers. With politicians pushing hard for even more stringent fuel economy and CO2 regulations as well as directly pressuring the Detroit car companies to build plug-in vehicles in exchange for financial aid, battery development needs to be accelerated. John Dingell (D-MI) and the rest of the Michigan delegat

In the wake of the bridge loan to the General Motors and Chrysler last Friday from the TARP fund, US Senator Evan Bayh (D-IN) made a federal aid proposal of his own. Bayh is proposing that as part of a stimulus package early in 2009, Congress should include $1.63 billion in grants to help fund the build-out of US manufacturing capacity for advanced batteries, development of the batteries and intelligent grid technology to help support widespread use of electric vehicles. Not surprisingly, some o