Government Investments in Electric Batteries Start to Pay Off

Government Investments in Electric Batteries Start to Pay Off

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electric-battery-obama-opening-_WH_copyCoinciding with President Obama’s trip to Holland, MI last week for the official groundbreaking of a new electric car battery plant, a federal report was released detailing the economic impact of Recovery Act investments in advanced batteries and electric vehicles. Before the Recovery Act grants, the report says, there were no domestic factories producing high-volumes of batteries for electric vehicles, but with the federal investments, the U.S. will have the capacity to produce up to 40 percent of the world’s batteries by 2015.  

The Department of Energy report, “Recovery Act Investments: Transforming America’s Transportation Sector,” documents how $2.4 billion in Recovery Act funds are being matched with private capital to create new jobs, construct new plants, add new manufacturing lines, install electric vehicle charging stations across the country and help build the emerging domestic electric vehicle industry from the ground up.

Among the key highlights of the report:

• For every dollar of the $2.4 billion in seed money the government provided through the Recovery Act, advanced battery and electric vehicle companies have matched it at minimum dollar for dollar.

• Previous to the Recovery Act, the U.S. produced just 2 percent of the world’s batteries for advanced vehicles, but due to Recovery Act investments, the U.S. will have the capacity to produce 20 percent of these batteries by 2012 and up to 40 percent by 2015 – that’s a jump from 2 percent to 40 percent in a span of just five years.

Nine new battery plants opening as a result of Recovery Act investments are currently under construction. Four are set to be operational by the end of the year.  In addition, twenty-one other plants will make battery or electric vehicle components with the help of Recovery Act grants.

• In the past, high battery costs meant a car with a 100 mile range would need a battery that cost $33,000. But with a new supply from domestic manufacturing, a lower cost for such a battery could be driven down to $16,000 by the end of 2013 and $10,000 by the end of 2015, dramatically driving down the cost of an electric vehicle.

• Before Recovery Act investments, electric vehicle charging locations in the U.S. numbered fewer than 500. That number will excede 20,000 by 2012.

• The $151 million grant awarded to Compact Power last August, which was matched more than dollar-for-dollar by the company, is expected to create and save hundreds of construction jobs in Holland and employ hundreds of Michigan workers at the new plant. The batteries produced will support 52,000 Chevy Volts per year and will also supply batteries for the new electric Ford Focus.

The full report can be viewed HERE.