This is an ‘electrifying‘ development; state officials are striving to make Michigan a powerhouse for the batteries which will run the electric cars of tomorrow. We want to be the battery capital of the world, Governor Granholm stated in the Detroit Free Press.
To that end, the State Legislature recently passed a bill which will provide $335 million in tax incentives to boost Michigan‘s battery industry.
So whats the big deal? Plenty. The Michigan Economic Development Corporation estimates that the battery industry could create 50,000 jobs in the state over the next three to five years. The industry will supply vehicles such as the all-electric Chevy Volt, which debuts in 2010.
The Volt is just the beginning. At the North American International Auto Show in Detroit last week, Chinese carmaker BYD unveiled its new electric car which will recharge via a wall plug and sell for $21,700. The car will run 62 miles on a single charge.
That compares well with the Volt, which is expected to cost $35,000, running 40 miles on a charge. But the important thing is, were on the brink of an electric car revolution that will -- hopefully -- put the spark back in Michigan manufacturing.
The quest for a better battery is the key to a “green“ future. If you recall, last year, presidential candidate John McCain proposed offering a government prize of $300 million to whoever invented a better battery for electric cars.
Thats because current lithium-ion batteries fall short of our power storage needs. They also have weight, bulk, and toxicity problems.
Whoever designs a more powerful, lightweight battery will literally reinvent the world, not just for automobiles, but for the storage of electrical power on a grand scale for uses such as home-heating.
To that end, Senator Carl Levin is seeking $1 billion in federal grants for U.S. companies to create a better battery and capture the industry.
We cannot afford to lose the development and production of advanced batteries to other countries that are willing to offer greater financial incentives than we are, Levin said in a release. If we offer loans while other countries offer grants, we could lose the battle for green vehicle production to other countries...
Damn right. Supporting Michigans battery industry along with GMs battery lab and partnership with the University of Michigan is the key to getting our state back on track.
Not only that, but perhaps the salvation of our country and the planet itself.
Consider that the United States imports $400 billion in oil each year from appalling countries such as Saudi Arabia, Nigeria and Iraq. Wouldnt it be great to be free of oil dependence?
Then, consider that all of the countries on earth burn more than 85 million barrels of oil per day, according to the federal Energy Information Administration. A breakthrough in battery technology and green energy would go a long way toward resolving the problem of global warming.
The manufacturing power of Michigan saved the free world during World War II, when we built the planes and tanks to stop the Nazis and Europe and the forces of Imperial Japan. Perhaps we can rise to the occasion once again -- if we get a jump on being the battery capital of the world.