Monday, 16 June 2008 12:11

Big-3 Get $30M in funding for Plug-In Vehicles

Situation
  • US Energy Dept providing $30M over 3 years for trio of plug-in vehicle projects
  • Only fraction of support automakers sought; money to be used for plug-in vehicle test fleets and accelerate mass production of battery technologies
  • Chrysler plans to build 80 plug-in vehicles over 3 years w/ GE; 10 Dodge Durangos, Chrysler Aspens built in 1st year able to travel 40 miles on battery power
  • GM along w/ state agencies won funding for project to enhance lithium-ion battery packs, charging systems, powertrain development and vehicle integration; will deploy plug-in test fleet
  • Ford working w/ Southern CA Edison, Johnson Controls-Saft on funded project to accelerate mass production of plug-in hybrids
  • Each automaker joint project will receive about $10M, energy department said
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Significance

  • GM also plans plug-in Saturn Vue in 2010 w/ shorter all-electric range
  • Announcement made at conference where GM joined Ford, Chrysler in calling on Congress to boost financial support to make plug-in hybrids like Chevy Volt financially viable
  • Automakers, Congress concerned US could replace reliance on imported oil w/ reliance on imported batteries; most battery production done in Asia
  • China has 40M electric vehicles on roads; most are scooters and bikes
  • Energy Department plans to fund 2nd round of projects next year if Congress approves proposal
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