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GE WattStation  (Source: GE)

Ford announced that Compact Power would be producing the batteries for its electric Ford Focus.  (Source: Ford via Autoblog)

Obama was visiting Michigan today, promoting his plans to develop $10,000 EVs by 2015.  (Source: Detroit News)
President and his staff hit the road to promote the over $2.4B USD in federal money they're offering auto companies

U.S. President Barack Obama certainly isn't setting modest goals when it comes to electric vehicles.  The President is taking a gamble, pouring over $2.4B USD into the budding industry.  A 100-mile range battery EV today costs around $33,000 USD to make, but Obama hopes to drop that cost to $16,000 by 2013 and $10,000 by 2015.

President Obama was visiting Michigan this week to check in on many pending battery projects that are receiving a piece of that $2.4B USD pie.

Among the events he attended was the groundbreaking ceremony in Holland, Michigan of a Compact Power Inc. plant that will be used to provide batteries for the Chevy Volt.  Compact Power, owned by South Korea's LG, announced news more big news at the ceremony -- Ford picked it to produce batteries for the plug-in Ford Focus.  

The plant will cost $303M USD to build, but the government will be chipping in $151M USD.  The plant is expected to employ 450 workers by 2013 according to the Obama administration.  The jobs are expected to pay $14, providing a decent standard of living to workers.

Obama also checked out Johnson Controls-Saft's new $220M lithium-ion battery plant, also in Holland, Michigan.  That plant may prove to be a key competitor to Compact Power in the near future, and is also receiving federal stimulus funding.

On Friday, Energy Secretary Steven Chu will visit Delphi Automotive in Kokomo, Indiana.  Delphi is one of the auto industry's top suppliers.  The U.S. government is offering it $89M USD in grants to develop new components for electric vehicles.

Meanwhile, Ed Montgomery, executive director of the White House Council on Automotive Communities and Workers, will be visiting General Motor's new plant in in White Marsh, Maryland.  While GM will buy battery cells from suppliers like Compact Power, it will assemble its own battery packs and supporting systems in house at this new plant.  GM is receiving $241M USD in federal funding for its EV efforts in total, including $106M USD towards this new plant.

Charlotte, North Carolina-based Celgard will be receiving a visit from Labor Secretary Hilda Solis.  Celgard will receive $49M USD in stimulus money, which will allow it hire 100 employees, open a plant, and reach production.

While grants to promote the actual manufacturing of electric vehicles and their battery systems are one key aspect of Obama's efforts, another major component is the creation of electrical vehicle charging stations.  By spreading EV chargers out like gas stations, the range of EVs can effectively be extended.

Companies like Coulomb Technologies will be deploying the stations across the country later this year and next year.  New York-based Coulomb is receiving a $15M USD stimulus grant to spread 4,600 such stations in nine cities by September 2011.  That's a big chunk of the 20,000 station Obama hopes to deploy by 2012 (there are currently 500 such stations in the U.S.).

The goals are lofty -- Obama is shooting for over 20,000 electric vehicle stations, 1 million EVs on the road, and bargain EV prices of $10,000 per vehicle by 2015.  In short, he's trying to completely reinvent the American auto industry, much of which essentially collapsed during the recent recession.  



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Stimulus at Work
By Reclaimer77 on 7/14/2010 10:16:56 AM , Rating: 2
You have to love when the "stimulus" creates a few hundred jobs here and there amidst massive nation wide unemployment. Is anyone else still buying this crap?




RE: Stimulus at Work
By HotFoot on 7/14/2010 10:27:32 AM , Rating: 2
Why is it that wars are good for the economy, but stimulus spending isn't? The biggest problem I see isn't that the government is trying to prime the pump, it's that you weren't in a financial position to do so, having run large deficits throughout economic good times. Keynesian economics isn't something that can be pulled off only during the hard times of economic cycles - you have to work on savings during the good times.

But my original question still stands. I don't understand why the government putting billions into war machinery is so good for the economy, while spending on infrastructure is so bad. And I'm not against either, really.

To the topic at hand, I really don't think electric cars make a lot of sense. I'm sure there will be some people for whom they are a good fit, but I need a vehicle that doesn't just do every-day commuter and groceries. I also need a car I can take on the highway from time to time. Maybe down the road there will be some shift, where I own only a commuter vehicle and for weekends/vacations I rent, but for now I'd rather have a vehicle where I can hop in and hit the highway on a whim. It's a kind of freedom I enjoy.


RE: Stimulus at Work
By Reclaimer77 on 7/14/2010 10:39:33 AM , Rating: 2
I'm not against "infrastructure" spending, per say. I certainly am against hoarding a trillion dollars in hard economic times, slowly dolling it out to your favorite pet projects, and keeping the rest in a slush fund to reward people who got you into the White House. Come on Hot, how is giving money to ACORN, a campaign contributor, "infrastructure" spending?

quote:
Why is it that wars are good for the economy, but stimulus spending isn't?

???

Why are we talking about this again? Ok I'll shoot. I would say very simply that War's stimulate the economy. Goods need to be manufactured in huge supplies. This is done by the private sector. And so on and so forth. People need to be hired in large numbers to meet the increased production needs.

But I mean.. why did you bring up wars? Where did I say that we should start wars to stimulate the economy?


RE: Stimulus at Work
By HotFoot on 7/14/2010 10:48:15 AM , Rating: 2
I didn't mean that you took the position that wars stimulate the economy. Rather, I mean that as generally accepted fact (which you may not even agree with). In my mind, it makes a lot of sense. However, I would also think that infrastructure spending would be just as good - or even better, as that infrastructure ought to make future commerce more efficient.

But yes, the devil is in the details. $1T stimulus doesn't mean $1T infrastructure spending. It's whatever they actually choose to fund, and it is so very open to corruption as to be disgusting.

I'm sure the nation could use $1T of love to the road system alone - though I'm not sure of the wisdom of spending it all on one thing, nor the capacity for the economy to meet that demand.

I think, ultimately, there needs to be a focus to reduce conflicts of interest and corruption in government. Campaign contributions need to be addressed.


RE: Stimulus at Work
By Reclaimer77 on 7/14/2010 11:13:13 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
I didn't mean that you took the position that wars stimulate the economy


Ok cool, my mistake. I get accused of lots of things around here so I had to be sure :)

quote:
I would also think that infrastructure spending would be just as good - or even better, as that infrastructure ought to make future commerce more efficient.


Well I would agree if the infrastructure was so neglected that it actually started interfering with the ability to conduct business and maintain basic services for the population. And I know Obama tried hard to make it seem like that was the case when he sold America on the "stimulus", but I'm not convinced. If you build a road or a bridge, you hire people to build it, but when it's completed they are out of work again. These are projects, not economic growth.

quote:
But yes, the devil is in the details. $1T stimulus doesn't mean $1T infrastructure spending. It's whatever they actually choose to fund, and it is so very open to corruption as to be disgusting.


I completely agree. It's a travesty honestly.


RE: Stimulus at Work
By YashBudini on 7/14/10, Rating: 0
RE: Stimulus at Work
By Shadowmaster625 on 7/14/2010 10:53:01 AM , Rating: 2
Wars are only good for the economy when its not OUR infrastructure and industrial capacity that is being destroyed.


RE: Stimulus at Work
By torpor on 7/14/2010 2:05:53 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, if our infrastructure had been leveled in the 1940's along with the rest of the 1st world, the power grid in the east (for example) might be a lot more robust.

There's a lot of retooling we haven't done because what's there still works. And there's nothing like war to force retooling.


RE: Stimulus at Work
By clovell on 7/14/2010 1:56:02 PM , Rating: 2
It creates jobs? Think about the drop in production, sales, and R&D that will result in the ICE vehicle segment. This is a 'Reggie Bush' - running 40 yards across the field for a 1-yard gain.


RE: Stimulus at Work
By WalksTheWalk on 7/14/2010 4:29:38 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly. Take this excerpt:

quote:
The plant will cost $303M USD to build, but the government will be chipping in $151M USD. The plant is expected to employ 450 workers by 2013 according to the Obama administration. The jobs are expected to pay $14, providing a decent standard of living to workers.


So according to this, the US is spending $151M to create 450 $14/hr jobs. This equates to $336K per job created. An average American works about 2K hrs per year, so it would take about 500 years (conservative estimate) to generate enough taxes from those 450 jobs at $14/hr. to repay the $151M to the government and break even. That's not even including the opportunity cost of having the $151M allocated to more profitable means. Classic government stimulus.


RE: Stimulus at Work
By monkeyman1140 on 7/15/2010 11:53:35 PM , Rating: 1
I think President William McKinley's foolish subsidizing of this thing known as an "automobile" is a major threat to horse and buggy, with the potential to put thousands of horse trainers, buggy manufacturers, and whip factories, as well as poop scoopers out of business.

This is intolerable. Write President McKinley today!


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