Obama announces $2.4 bln grant for electric vehicles

August 5, 2009
A Chrysler Future Electric Vehicles Dodge Sports Car Ev is on display in April 2009 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. President Barack Obama Wednesday unveiled a 2.4-billion-dollar funding boost for the development of new generation electric vehicles and slammed critics of his economic rescue plans.

President Barack Obama Wednesday unveiled a 2.4-billion-dollar funding boost for the development of new generation electric vehicles and slammed critics of his economic rescue plans.

The president traveled to a jobs crisis blackspot in the economically-struggling midwestern state of Indiana to announce a plan he said would create tens of thousands of new jobs.

"For far too long we've failed to invest in this kind of innovative work, even as countries like China and Japan were racing ahead," Obama said.

"That's why this announcement's so important. This represents the largest investment in this kind of technology in American history."

"This is an investment in our capacity to develop new technologies tomorrow. This is about creating the infrastructure of innovation."

Obama spoke in a plant that formerly made recreational vehicles (RVs) but which closed down as the recession hit. The factory has since been reopened and is now making RVs and electric hybrid vehicles.

The initiative, funded from the administration's 787-billion-dollar economic crisis bailout, came against a backdrop of shifting political fortunes with Obama's high opinion ratings eroding and Republican opposition resurgent.

It also came ahead of government jobs data due out on Friday which some analysts believe could see the growing to 9.6 percent, just short of the politically perilous 10-percent mark.

Obama's tactic of appearing outside Washington is designed to place him metaphorically on the side of the people who sent him to power last November, rather than squabbling politicians in the US capital.

"You know, too often there are those in Washington who focus on the ups and downs of politics. But my concern is the ups and downs in the lives of the American people," Obama said.

He also hit out at critics peddling "misinformation" on his economic recovery plans, which he said were starting to work and transition the US economy out of free-fall into a new, more sustainable era.

"There are a lot of people out there who are looking to defend the status quo," Obama said, touting political reforms to on energy, healthcare and economic policy.

"There are those who want to seek political advantage. They want to oppose these efforts -- some of them caused the problems that we've got now in the first place, and then suddenly they're blaming other folks for it."

The 2.4 billion dollars in grants for includes 1.5 billion dollars to US manufacturers to make batteries and components and to expand recycling, officials said.

A further 500 million dollars will go to US firms which produce components for vehicles including electric motors, electronics and other drive train items.

The grants gel with a wider Obama administration effort to wean the United States off foreign oil from volatile regions of the world and drive to slice into US greenhouse gas emissions blamed for global warming.

(c) 2009 AFP

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2.3 / 5 (3) Aug 05, 2009
He'd better introduce a grant to fund the development of whatever generation technology we're gonna use to provide enough energy to the grid then...
2 / 5 (5) Aug 05, 2009
He'd better introduce a grant to fund the development of whatever generation technology we're gonna use to provide enough energy to the grid then...

Yea, solar energy.
1.3 / 5 (4) Aug 06, 2009
maybe he could do as promised and stop the illegal wars - there is a dividend - Uncle Tom Obama - what a joke!
3 / 5 (2) Aug 06, 2009
he's already done more than little bush did in 8 years.. and don't even start with the illegal wars thing.. if you're a bush supporter you shouldn't even be going near there..
3 / 5 (4) Aug 06, 2009
This is another step in the right direction.

Perhaps not the best step. Perhaps not even a complete step.

But just one small, short, distinct step ... in the right direction. Combined with the steps to remove old vehicles from the roads, it is a start to where we were supposed to be going years ago ...

If we could all start making some small steps, (provide payable/metered car charging points in our private carparks) then we would also start walking in the right direction ... together, and with our leaders.

What a refreshing change, (I can almost imagine the fresh air in our cities and political lives)

3 / 5 (4) Aug 06, 2009
The problems and implications of the government directly intervening in (Cash for Clunkers) and financing our supposed laissez-faire industry and economy aside, any electric car technology will do us absolutely no good if we don't have the power supply to support it, zero freaking good, wake the hell up... which we presently do not have even close to the amount needed to support the demand that would be created.

And since the govt is also opposing Nuclear, there's not a whole lot of viable places where that energy can come from. We are (to use a quite apt analogy) putting the cart before the horse here.

Sorry, John balls but solar (or wind) is not going to be where it comes from, not without some tremendous advancements in storage and transmission at least.

It's terrifying that people don't have a problem with the government trying to imbed itself into every aspect of their lives... how can you people laud actions like this? This is not what the federal government should be doing. Put aside your assumptions for a moment and think about exactly what is going on, please.
1 / 5 (1) Aug 07, 2009
Yes RayCherry, you can click on 1 star, very good. Do you have a valid response to the blatant transgression of governmental authority and energy-supply problems, or do you plan on continuing to avoid talking frankly about the truth?

It's not a step in the right direction, at best it's standing still (at worst it's a draconian scorched earth-like policy), it's more psuedo-environmentalism at work.
5 / 5 (1) Aug 08, 2009
What you guys fail to realize is that with the invention of gasoline powered automobiles, America lacked the gas station infrastructure needed to support every American buying and driving one. The simple fact of the matter is, we're pushing the technology first, giving jobs to Americans (not China) and trying to become independent of oil. As we've seen there's plenty of coal in our country, not super-clean, but it's within our country. Not depending on importing more raw goods then we can export is truly the goal here. Don't be so naive. GE is already working on smart grids, we have viable alternatives for energy that we can incorporate. Sure it won't solve the whole problem, but then again not everyone in america will be buying these cars at once. That will leave time to build our infrastructure to where it is needed. Also, keep in mind the charging of these vehicles will be mostly off peak, and off peak uses more renewable resources. It's a step in the right direction. We need to stop importing raw goods and exporting practically nothing. The Japanese, as well as myself, are astounded by how many people in this country make a living off of "invisible" money, be it stock market, etc. We need to produce real goods, and this plan will help promote that. Bravo, I say.
Any soothsayers? I say read this book, "Rising Sun" by Michael Crichton. REALLY read it. You'll see what I mean in a MAJOR way.
4 / 5 (1) Aug 09, 2009
You need look no further than FEMAs handling of Katrina to realize that a command economy can't work. In one particularly egregious example a local sheriff had to post armed guards to keep FEMA from cutting the restored communication lines.

Government beaurocrats don't know what the heck they're doing; they're just leaning into your pocket and buying votes with your own money. They'll gladly subsidize corn ethanol even if they think it's a lousy idea, just as long as it gets them some votes.

You need free markets to mercilessly crush bad ideas through bankruptcy so its resources can be put back into some productive use. Government Motors is taking a loss of $3000 per car they make, they need to fail. The bail-outs in the financial system need to be rolled back as best as possible; let them fail and allow good banks, insurers and hedge funds to acquire all the useful assets held by the current crop of morons through bankruptcy; let start-ups come in and take their place.

Large fixed costs imposed through regulation to strangle small companies in the crib before they can grow and compete needs to be removed. Stealth protectionism through regulation needs to go.

The federal reserve needs to be declawed to the point where they're managing the money through a simple, publically available formula instead of creating these useless booms and busts.

The fascists and socialists that have taken turns destroying the economy for the last century need to be replaced with sane people.

The banks needs to be told that if they FDIC takes them over and they have a strongly negative tier 1 capital ratio(most of the banks that failed were 10-40% in the red!), management is going to face life in prisonment; give them a month grace period to come clean. The FDIC and bank regulation is designed to take over banks _before_ they go into the red.

The reason you've never heard of the great depression of 1920 is that the fed did nothing and the government did the proper thing and shrank itself in accordance with falling tax revenues. 1920 was a very severe recession but the US quickly bounced out of it. The reason the great depression lasted for 17 years is that the government and fed created and sustained it. What we're doing now is exactly the same but far worse than what was done in the great depression.
5 / 5 (1) Aug 09, 2009
You still need to acknowledge the fact that the real problem is goods. We need to produce more, and cut imports. While I agree, to a certain extent, with you Soylent; we need to stop making "money" on paper. I don't mean paper money, I mean to say: "Americans need to stop trying to make a quick buck." Day traders, etc are going to run things into the ground. If you noticed, the whole reason why we're in the position that we are now is because people were trying to make money on paper. That blew up in their faces. We need to make real things and I applaud Obama for doing what he can to insure that goods are made in the US.

You certainly can't applaud everything a president does, but he's following along with what he said and trying to really make a difference. Obviously, one person can't do that; but the leader of the free world has a little bit more pull than you or I.

On a separate note, I definitely agree with the GM thing. Ok fine, help them out a bit, but if they can't start making cars that are worth a damn, let them burn. I'd love this country to do great and lead the world in making high-tech cars. As of now, I'd only buy a Honda or an Accura. Now what does that say about the quality of American cars? When another country can make a car that runs at least twice as long, that would be something to strive for. Don't you think?

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