Speaking today at a former Monaco RV plant in Wakarusa, Indiana, President Barack Obama unveiled the details of an ambitious $2.4 billion grant program, which the White House hopes will boost production of electric cars and next-generation battery technology.  The cash for the grant program will come from the recently-passed $787-billion economic stimulus bill.

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“That’s why I’m here today,” President Obama stated, “to announce $2.4 billion in highly-competitive grants to develop the next generation of fuel efficient cars and trucks powered by the next generation of battery technologies, all made right here in the U.S. of A. Right here in America. Made in America…for too long, we’ve failed to invest in this innovative work, even as countries like China and Japan were racing ahead. That’s why this announcement’s so important.”

navistarThe President said the investment represented “the largest investment in this kind of technology in American history.” And already, dozens of companies have stepped forward to claim the grant money. One of them is Navistar, Inc., based in Wakarusa.  Navistar will receive a $39.2 million grant to develop and deploy 400 advanced battery electric delivery trucks. The vehicles will weigh about six tons and have a 100-mile range.”

The $2.4 billion in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds includes:

  • $1.5 billion in grants to U.S.-based manufacturers to produce batteries and their components and to expand battery recycling capability in the United States.
  • $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 – including cars, delivery vehicles and trucks — for test demonstrations in several dozen locations. Those grants also will provide education and workforce training to support the transition to advanced electric transportation systems.

Source: The Christian Science Monitor, Indy Star