Battery Tech Gets a Surge with Billions in Federal Funding

Battery Tech Gets a Surge with Billions in Federal Funding

President Barack Obama opened a $2.4 billion war chest aimed at catapulting the U.S. forward in the race to develop and mass-produce electric vehicles and batteries.
The U.S. Department of Energy announced the list of 48 grant recipients Wednesday in what is being called the largest ever investment in hybrid and electric car advanced battery technology. The grants, funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, target U.S.-based manufacturers, automakers, universities, and battery developers in a bid to put a million plug-in hybrid electric vehicles on the road by 2015.

The grants are divided into three areas: $1.5 billion to help U.S. manufacturers produce batteries and grow recycling capacity; $500 million toward U.S. production of electric drive components; and $400 million for education and workforce training, and the purchase and testing of electric vehicles in multiple locations.

Recipients, which agree to match the grant funds, span more than 20 states but are not surprisingly concentrated in existing auto manufacturing hubs such as Michigan and Indiana. Projects include truck stop electrification, hydrothermal lithium ion battery recycling, electric minivan and pickup truck development and deployment, and community college education for aspiring service technicians.

In the largest single grant awarded, Johnson Controls will receive $299.2 million to help fund the production of nickel-cobalt-metal battery cells and packs, which represents about half of the company's $600 million planned investment in domestic advanced battery development. The State of Michigan also awarded the company $148.5 million in incentives in April for a lithium-ion cell and battery system manufacturing plant in Holland, southwest of Grand Rapids.

General Motors received a combined $241.4 million in grants for the production of the battery packs that will power the Chevy Volt, demonstration of the highly anticipated plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, and the construction of manufacturing capacity for its rear-wheel electric drive system.

Lithium ion battery maker A123Systems scored a $249 million grant to help the Watertown, Mass.-based company build battery manufacturing facilities, the first of which is planned for Livonia, Mich.

Other recipients include:

Honeywell International Corp.: $27.3 million for production of electrolyte salt (lithium hexafluorophosphate (LiPF6)) for lithium-ion batteries

Compact Power Inc. (on behalf of LG Chem Ltd.): $151.4 million for production of lithium-ion polymer battery cells for the GM Volt using a manganese-based cathode material and a proprietary separator.

Delphi Automotive Systems: $89.3 million for the expansion of manufacturing for existing electric drive power electronics components for both passenger and commercial vehicles.

Navistar Inc.: $39.2 million to develop and deploy 400 advanced battery electric delivery trucks with a 100-mile range.

Below are maps of recipients of today's funding; you can also download PDFs of the grant recipients and project map from the Department of Energy.

A map of recipients of stimulus funding for Battery and Electric Drive Manufacturing. Click for 1
A map of recipients for stimulus funding for Transportation Electrification. Click for 1 Image CC licensed by Flickr user Mike Babcock.