Obama Announces $2.4 Billion for Plug-In Hybrids
The administration is taking a bifurcated approach toward resuscitating the American auto industry, simultaneously allocating $5 billion to the auto parts manufacturers who are propping up an anachronistic Detroit and releasing nearly half that amount for investments in electric technology that could bring the industry into the twenty-first century.
Shortly after the Treasury announced the auto supplier funding, President Obama, speaking at an electric car plant in southern California, President Obama said that $2.4 billion of the Department of Energy’s stimulus funds would go toward the development and production of plug-in hybrid vehicles.
“This investment will not only reduce our dependence on foreign oil,” Obama said. “It will put Americans back to work.” According to a White House press release, the plan will create “tens of thousands of U.S. jobs.”
Most of the funds — $2 billion — will go to grants to companies that produce electric vehicles and their components. That leaves “up to $400 million to demonstrate and evaluate Plug-In Hybrids and other electric infrastructure concepts — like truck stop charging station, electric rail, and training for technicians to build and repair electric vehicles,” according to the press release.
While the $2 billion figure should go a long way toward jumpstarting (ha, ha) the electric car industry, the $400 million can do little more than “demonstrate and evaluate” the broad array of other projects. And the unfortunate timing of the announcement that conventional parts suppliers would get twice as much funding as manufacturers of new, energy-saving technology detracts from the impact what would otherwise be a milestone in the road toward low-emissions transportation.