Obama announces $2.4 billion for electric cars

The bankrupt Monaco RV plant in Wakarusa, Elkhart County, Indiana, will soon be making electric trucks for Navistar, traditionally a maker of diesel trucks, the conversion fueled by a $39 million Recovery Act grant. President Obama visited the plant at noon today to announce $2.4 billion in such grants for 400 recipients across the country to develop electric vehicles and advanced batteries.
“The company estimates that this investment will help create or save hundreds of jobs in the area,” Obama said. “And already, folks like Herman are being rehired. So, overall, the companies believe these investments in battery technology will save or create thousands of Hoosier jobs.”
Obama was introduced by Herman Wiley, a laid-off Monaco RV plant worker.
Vice President Joe Biden headed to Detroit to announce that $1 billion of those grants will go to recipients in Michigan, including $106 million to General Motors and its Chevy Volt.
Four members of the cabinet fanned out across the country to make similar announcements. The largest recipient is Johnson Controls, Inc. of Holland, Michigan and Lebanon, Oregon, which will receive $299.2 million to develop nickel-cobalt battery packs for hybrid and electric vehicles.
According to the White House:
Energy Secretary Steven Chu, whose Department selected the 48 award winners, visited Celgard, in Charlotte, NC, to announce a $49 million grant for the company to expand its separator production capacity to serve the expected increased demand for lithium-ion batteries from manufacturing facilities in the U.S. Celgard will be expanding its manufacturing capacity in Charlotte, NC and nearby Aiken, SC, and the company expects the new separator production to come online in 2010. Celgard expects that approximately hundreds of jobs could be created, with the first of those jobs beginning as early as Fall 2009.
EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson was in St. Petersburg, FL, to announce a $95.5 million grant for Saft America, Inc. to construct a new plant in Jacksonville on the site of the former Cecil Field military base, to manufacture lithium-ion cells, modules and battery packs for military, industrial, and agricultural vehicles.
Deputy Secretary of the Department of Transportation John Porcari visited East Penn Manufacturing Co., in Lyon Station, Penn., to award the company a $32.5 million grant to increase production capacity for their valve regulated lead-acid batteries and the UltraBattery, a lead-acid battery combined with a carbon supercapacitor, for micro and mild hybrid applications. East Penn Manufacturing is a third-generation family business with over 63 years in battery manufacturing.
Commerce Secretary Gary Locke visited Kansas City, Missouri, 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 three 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; a $73 million grant to Chrysler, for the manufacturing of 220 plug-in hybrid and electric pickup trucks and minivans in St. Louis and in Michigan; and a $5 million grant to Missouri University of Science and Technology, in Rolla, Missouri, to fund educational and workforce training programs on advanced vehicles technologies.
The Energy Department released, in pdf form, a list of recipients and a crazy energetic map of their locations.
The White House had guarded the specifics of Obama’s announcement until just before his appearance, scheduled at the same moment Biden appeared in Detroit at the headquarters of NextEnergy, a “research catalyst and business accelerator for alternative and renewable energy.” Related Post: As green jobs appear, Indiana governor races Obama to Elkhart County

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