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Commerce Secretary Gary Locke Announces $45 Million in Grants to Accelerate the Manufacturing and Deployment of the Next Generation of U.S. Batteries and Electric Vehicles

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

CONTACT OFFICE OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS

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Commerce Secretary Gary Locke Announces $45 Million in Grants to Accelerate the Manufacturing and Deployment of the Next Generation of U.S. Batteries and Electric Vehicles

Grants are Part of $2.4 Billion in Funding Under the Recovery Act Announced by President Obama Today

Commerce Secretary Gary Locke visited Kansas City, Mo., today to announce a $10 million grant for Smith Electric to build and deploy up to 100 electric vehicles, including vans, pickups, and their “Newton” brand medium duty trucks. In addition, Secretary Locke announced two other grants supporting manufacturing and educational programs in Missouri: a $30 million grant to Ford Motor Company supporting the manufacturing of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles in Kansas City and in Michigan, and a $5 million grant to Missouri University of Science and Technology, in Rolla, Mo., to fund educational and workforce training programs on advanced vehicles technologies.

The funding will help Smith and Ford build manufacturing infrastructure, develop new vehicle and engine designs, and extensively test their vehicles’ performance in the coming years. Projects like this one are a vital first step on the way to the high-volume, lower-cost manufacturing that will allow electric vehicles to be sold in much greater numbers across America.

The grants are part of 48 new advanced battery and electric drive projects President Obama announced today in Indiana that will receive $2.4 billion in funding under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. These projects will further accelerate the manufacturing and deployment of electric vehicles, batteries and components here in America, and create tens of thousands of new jobs. They were selected through a highly competitive process by the Department of Energy and will accelerate the development of U.S. manufacturing capacity for batteries and electric drive components as well as the deployment of electric drive vehicles, helping to establish American leadership in creating the next generation of advanced vehicles.

“After too many years of economic growth fueled by speculation and short-term thinking, these types of investments will help America recapture the spirit of innovation that has always moved us forward,” Locke said. “Over the past 100 years – from cars to computers – American industry was at the forefront of just about every major technological innovation in the world. We should be leading the way in clean energy too.”

The announcement marks the single largest investment in advanced battery technology for hybrid and electric-drive vehicles ever made. Industry officials expect that this $2.4 billion investment, coupled with another $2.4 billion in cost share from the award winners, will result directly in the creation of tens of thousands of manufacturing jobsin the U.S. battery and auto industries.

The new awards cover the following areas:

  • $1.5 billion in grants to U.S. based manufacturers to produce batteries and their components and to expand battery recycling capacity
  • $500 million in grants to U.S. based manufacturers to produce electric drive components for vehicles, including electric motors, power electronics, and other drive train components
  • $400 million in grants to purchase thousands of plug-in hybrid and all-electric vehicles for test demonstrations in several dozen locations; to deploy them and evaluate their performance; to install electric charging infrastructure; and to provide education and workforce training to support the transition to advanced electric transportation systems.

In addition to President Obama and Secretary Locke, Vice President Joe Biden and other Cabinet members also fanned out across the country to discuss the historic announcement.

  • President Obama announced a $39 million grant for Navistar in Elkart, Indiana.
  • Vice President Biden announced over $1 billion in grants in Detroit, Michigan.
  • Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced a $49 million grant in Charlotte, North Carolina.
  • Deputy Secretary of the Department of Transportation John Porcari announced a $32.5 million grant for battery manufacturing in Lyon Station, Pennsylvania.
  • EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson announced a $95.5 million grant for Saft America in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Remarks