Today, The Wall Street Journal reports, General Motors was the biggest winner (of 48 winners) of the Obama administration’s electric vehicle (EV) “battery sweepstakes” – a $2.4 billion plan to jump-start U.S. EV battery production. Government-controlled GM, creator of the Chevy Volt, won $240 million in direct grants. These funds will cover GM’s manufacture of battery packs; production of electric drive-trains for new vehicles; and the purchase of 625 Chevy Volts, which will be used to test the newly manufactured batteries. LG Chem was awarded $151 million to make the batteries for the Chevy Volts.
The $2.4 billion – a belated part of the stimulus package – includes the following grants to U.S. manufacturers: $1.5 billion to produce EV batteries; $500 million to make electric drive components; and $400 million to purchase and test plug-in hybrids and all-EV’s. The winning companies must match these grants, thereby doubling the nation’s investment in new batteries. The $2.4 billion plan is also expected to create tens of thousands of manufacturing jobs while maintaining America’s competitive edge in the electric vehicle sector.
Other winning companies included A123 Systems (which won $249 million), Johnson Controls (which won $299 million), and several smaller state companies (which won awards ranging from $500,000 to $160 million).