Thursday, August 06, 2009

Half of Obama's touted battery grants going overseas

With great fanfare, Barack Obama came to economically depressed Elkhart County, Indiana to announce $2.4 billion in grants to battery manufacturers for electrical cars.

I watched the president give that speech on television yesterday, the crowd cheered as he announced the grants, with the assumption that jobs were on the way to America's recreational vehicle capital. Yes, some of that money is going to Indiana.

Obama gave a great speech, but the details, and yes, the truth, gets in the way of his symphonic verbiage. Luckily, the Washington Times is on the ball:

Nearly half of the $2.4 billion in federal grant money awarded Wednesday to stimulate the U.S. economy and boost the production of hybrid and electric vehicles went to six companies with ties to places as far away as Russia, China, South Korea and France.

President Obama announced the grants during a visit to Indiana and said the funds would create domestic jobs and instigate more "green" manufacturing in the United States. But because so few American companies have the necessary technology, much of the money will initially go toward manufacturing electric vehicle batteries overseas.

Three grants went to General Motors Corp., one for $105.9 million to help produce high-volume battery packs for the GM Volt automobile. But cells for the packs will be built in South Korea and by "other cell providers to be named."

The largest single grant, for $299.2 million, went to Johnson Controls Inc. for the production of nickel-cobalt-metal battery cells and packs at plants it plans to build in Holland, Mich., and Lebanon, Ore. Johnson has partnered with Saft Advanced Power Solutions LLC, a French company, to develop the batteries. Saft, which makes its batteries in France, also won a separate $95.5 million grant.

Expect the New York Times to be right on top of this story.

This is "Charge" I can't believe in.

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