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Obama Brings Cheap Electric Vehicles to USA

In just five years of the Recovery Act stimulus, by 2015, we are now on track to produce fully 40% of the world’s batteries for electric vehicles. Currently, we make only 2%.

Before The Recovery Act passage, the US was hardly a world leader in advanced electric vehicles, or in any aspect of the advanced battery technologies that power them. We made only 2 out of every 100 batteries used in them.

Among many other examples we’ve covered here of the green economy stimulus, the American Recovery Act (ARRA) – passed in March the next year to right Main Street after the November Wall Street bailout – included a battery technology stimulus that funded advanced R&D of every aspect of electric vehicle development. Some results?


Nine completely new electric vehicle battery factories will have broken ground by the end of 2010, and 21 more will now make battery or electric vehicle components.

The US will go from making virtually none to making 40% of the advanced batteries that EVs will need by 2015.

ARRA is jump-starting an advanced battery industry which could not only create permanent jobs here, but could also propel the US from world laggard to world leader within decades. The U.S. Department of Energy new report “Recovery Act Investments: Transforming America’s Transportation Sector,” documents how ARRA advanced battery technology funds are being spent.

All $2.4 billion in Recovery Act funds is matched dollar for dollar, or more, by private money.

In addition, the government stimulus investment will make electric cars cheaper. Because of the high-volume manufacturing the Recovery Act spurred the cost of batteries will be reduced two-thirds by 2015.

But ARRA is probably a one time jump for the USA. For four months last year, Democrats did have a 60 vote Senate needed to pass it. Kennedy’s May hospitalization ended their filibuster-proof majority (he was unable to vote from when hospitalized till he died in August).

One of the results of the financial melt-down that made the Bush Bank Bailout a necessity, was that Main Street really needed this jump start of stimulus funding.

President Obama was in Holland, MI this week for the groundbreaking of one of these new plants. The Compact Power battery plant, which was awarded $151 million in Recovery Act grants and matched more than dollar for dollar by the company, will make batteries for both the new Chevy Volts due out this year and a new electric version of the Ford Focus that is rumored for 2011.

As a result of the green stimulus funds invested in Main Street, an EV battery that now costs $33,000 will come down to around just $10,000 by 2015.

Susan Kraemer @Twitter

Image: Daily Kos Blackwaterdog

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writes at CleanTechnica, CSP-Today and Renewable Energy World.  She has also been published at Wind Energy Update, Solar Plaza, Earthtechling PV-Insider , and GreenProphet, Ecoseed, NRDC OnEarth, MatterNetwork, Celsius, EnergyNow, and Scientific American. As a former serial entrepreneur in product design, Susan brings an innovator's perspective on inventing a carbon-constrained civilization: If necessity is the mother of invention, solving climate change is the mother of all necessities! As a lover of history and sci-fi, she enjoys chronicling the strange future we are creating in these interesting times.    Follow Susan on Twitter @dotcommodity.


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