The feds have just announced $2.4 billion in grants for companies that are developing or producing batteries for electric vehicles as part of the President’s desire to “reduce our dependence on oil, put Americans back to work and reassert our manufacturing sector as one of the greatest in the world.” Obama made the announcement in a speech in Indiana. The recipients include all three domestic manufacturers, and some of the foreign automakers like Nissan who have plants on US soil.
The Chevy Volt was the greatest beneficiary – perhaps not surprising as the government now owns more than half of the beleaguered company. Chrysler and Ford also received smaller grants. A lot of the grants were intended to move some of the cutting-edge battery production and research back to the US – Asia currently dominates the field. Perhaps most interestingly, GM was given $105 million in addition to the Volt money to develop a RWD electric platform. No word on whether that is intended to be a truck/commercial platform, although we’d hope it’s really a passenger car platform with the potential for some sportscar options. We’ll keep you posted on any late-breaking developments.