Obama Invests $2.4 Billion in Plug-in Cars and Batteries

The Obama administration announced today $2.4 billion in grants to car companies and battery-makers, setting the course for US manufacturers to build next-generation auto batteries for hybrid and plug-in cars. Michigan-based companies received approximately half of the funds.

Johnson Controls

Workers at Johnson Controls assemble lithium ion automotive batteries. Johnson Controls, the single largest recipient, will receive $299.2 million in government grants.

“If we want to reduce our dependence on oil, put Americans back to work and reassert our manufacturing sector as one of the greatest in the world, we must produce the advanced, efficient vehicles of the future,” said Obama in Elkhart, Indiana.

The spending is the US government’s bet on battery-powered vehicles—an attempt to overcome the challenges of creating small, lightweight, reliable and affordable rechargeable hybrid and electric car batteries, as well as the infrastructure to allow drivers to bypass gas stations and charge their cars from the electric grid.

Almost all battery manufacturing for advanced technology vehicles is currently based in Asia.

Detroit Is the Big Winner

General Motors will receive more than $240 million in grants, including $106 million for its planned battery pack assembly factory in Brownstown Township. Ford will receive nearly $100 million, while Chrysler will get $70 million.

Major US-based auto battery makers vying to produce batteries for hybrid and electric cars will receive support: Johnson Controls, the single largest recipient, will receive $299.2 million for production of nickel-cobalt-metal cells and pack; A123 Systems will get $249.1 million for manufacturing nano-iron phospate cells and battery pack assembly for hybrid and electric cars; Compact Power (a division of LG Chem) will get $151.4 million to produce lithium ion polymer batter cells for the Chevy Volt; and EnerDel will receive $118.5 million for production of lithium ion batteries and cells.

GM will receive $105.9 million for production of the packs using LG Chem’s battery cells, as well as $30.5 million to demonstrate as many as 5,000 Chevrolet Volt cars with electric utilities and a limited number of consumers, and $105 million for electric drive component manufacturing facilities.

The largest grant for developing a charging infrastructure went to eTec, a subsidiary of Ecotality, and Nissan which will test a network of fast-charging stations in cities in Arizona, California, Oregon, Washington, and Tennessee.

A dozen universities and colleges received smaller grants to run educational programs related to electric-drive vehicles, targeting graduate and undergraduate students as well as area teachers, technicians and the general public. See a complete list of recipients.

The government funds come from the $787 billion federal stimulus bill approved in February. Some 122 companies applied for the funds, and 48 winners in 25 states were selected.


  • Samie

    Exciting times! This article & the two Nissan stories on this site are interesting but no real proof is yet to be seen in how companies will react under market conditions/pricing or how suppliers will deliver on electrification systems (remember Cosby).

    A long-term commitment by government & manufactures is needed & there needs to be innovative ways to get the auto industry to produce a full lineup of serial hybrids & EV’s as we are yet to see a full lineup of hybrids including a no show hybrid mini van & limited choices in subcompacts, or even cross-over SUV’s.

    To speculate, pricing is key to get early consumers interested in EV’s due to current battery limitations . I’m not sure why more have not commented on the Federal Tax Rebate & if a auto manufacture could create an initial 30k EV, that vehicle could be a direct challenge to the Prius from similar pricing after rebate. How fun would that be as a consumer!

  • Tony

    Wow $2.4B! I had no idea Obama even had so much personal wealth. Thank you sir!

  • two cents per mile

    I have my doubts about this… How much money did we give to AIG? And now why are we only investing 2.4 billion in alternative transportation then? Anyways, in his speech, Obama says smaller businesses are more innovative, then why is the majority of the grant money going to the Big 3 automakers? GM built an electric car 10 years ago, and destroyed it (read about the EV1). They don’t deserve a dime of our tax dollars. Not to say that I dont think we should be investing in electric cars- it just doesn’t make sense to award $200 million dollars to a company (GM) who built an electric car and sold the relevant patents to an oil company (Chevron), who refuses to let anyone put NiMH batteries in 100% electric cars now. And on the topic, if Obama wants to get serious about electric cars, he should enact eminent domain to release the NiMH battery patents from Chevron!

  • two cents per mile

    to learn more about electric cars, and their history check out the book “Two Cents Per Mile” by Nevres Cefo ( http://www.twocentspermile.com or http://bit.ly/2centspermile )

  • bhgdrn

    Thanks Tony!

    Most Americans think Barry has a money tree on the back lawn of the White House.

    It’s OUR money fellow taxpayers! And he is spending it before your grandkids have EARNED it.

    Wake up people! We made a BIG Mistake!

  • iamsancho69

    nothing more pathetic than a whining renazican!!

  • John T (Rockford IL)

    Obama is making the executive decisions that will bring us into the future; decisions that the Bush administration was too weak and corrupt to make. Do You think China and the rest of the world is not moving ahead. We fell 8 yrs behind with Bush. Now we are playing catchup. GM could have ruled the world now if they would not have gotten into bed with “big oil”.

  • Shine

    This is an old post. Any update on this report? Did the funding help with the production of hybrid cars? Eminent Domain Attorney