Several weeks ago, I urged Congress to consider funding a domestic battery manufacturing program as part of its multibillion dollar auto industry bailout plan (see “Batteries Not Included”). I just learned that some of the folks in Washington, DC, are not asleep after all.
Several lawmakers are urging their colleagues to include advanced battery manufacturing as part of the $800 billion economic recovery bill that’s expected to be signed into law next month by president-elect Obama.
To learn more, click Battery funds may be in mix
In addition to this news, A123 Systems Inc. (Watertown, MA) just announced that it plans to build several world-class lithium-ion battery manufacturing facilities in the United States. The first assembly plant will be located near Detroit.
The company has submitted an application under the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Incentive Program to qualify for more than $1.8 billion in loans to fund its ambitious mass-production effort.
“If A123’s application is approved, this program would enable [us] to dramatically expand production capacity in the United States,” says David Vieau, A123’s president and CEO. He claims that the plan, which could create more than 14,000 new jobs, would enable A123 to supply battery systems for 5 million hybrid vehicles or 500,000 plug-in electric vehicles per year by 2013.
“We’re entering an exciting new phase for the automotive industry where we increase the electrification of vehicles, reducing consumption of gasoline through advanced batteries,” Vieau points out. “This new facility would greatly accelerate this change and help ensure that the American economy replaces its dependence on foreign oil with reliance on advanced, homegrown batteries.”