The electric-vehicle industry received more support Thursday when President Obama delivered remarks in Holland, Michigan, at the groundbreaking ceremony for an American Recovery and Reinvestment Act-funded battery cell plant.
"This is about more than just building a new factory," President Obama told the crowd of about 400. "It is about better building a better [economic] future for this state and this company."The President said the Compact Power plant will create almost 600 jobs and help put more affordable, American-made electric vehicles on the road.
The new plant, set to open in 2012, will make lithium-ion battery cells for the battery packs in Chevrolet and Ford hybrid and plug-in electric cars. Obama has pledged to have one million plug-in electric cars on the road by 2015.
"Soon, shovels will be moving the earth where we stand...because of a grant to this country," he said.
The Holland facility is one of nine new battery plants under construction as a result of the $2.4 billion in Recovery Act advanced battery and electric vehicle awards the President announced last August. Four of those will be operational by the end of the year. The funds have been matched by all the companies.
Before the Recovery Act, there were less than 500 electric vehicle charging locations in the U.S., but as a result of Recovery Act investments, there will be more than 20,000 by 2012. Because of Recovery Act investments, the U.S. will have the capacity to produce up to 40 percent of the world’s batteries by 2015.
Because of Recovery Act investments like this one, the U.S. will have the capacity to produce 40 percent of the world's supply of advanced batteries by 2015 — up from 2 percent today, according to a U.S. Department of Energy report released this week.
The report also indicated that boosting production of electric and hybrid-vehicle batteries could help significantly lower their costs by up to 70 percent by 2015.
"That is going to make electric cars and trucks more affordable for Americans," the President said. "That not only means more jobs, but it makes us less dependent on foreign oil."
Gov. Jennifer Granholm spoke before the President, listing off each of the battery plants in Michigan and the number of jobs they expect to generate.
"There will be 62,000 jobs created in Michigan over the next 10 years because of the battery industry," Gov. Granholm said. "If not for the Recovery Act, these jobs would not be coming to Michigan...We want it go from the rust belt to the green belt."