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Mark Fields: PHEV's are "national priority"; calls on federal support to develop

Ford's Mark Fields calls for government aid in PHEV development

According to Ford's President of the Americas, Mark Fields, plug-in hybrid vehicles need to be a "national priority" and the United States government should be offering assistance for their development. Fields goes on to say that the governments of competing nations are funding the development of the technology needed to introduce PHEVs, especially batteries.

As it stands, most hybrid batteries are produced in factories overseas by companies outside the U.S. If this trend continues, Fields suggests that a continued purchase of these batteries would merely be shifting our foreign dependence on oil to a foreign dependence on batteries. For this reason, the Ford executive calls on increased funding from Washington for high-tech batteries as well as tax breaks and incentives in order to give consumers additional reason to purchase the fuel-saving technology.
It is not that hard folks:

1. Congress passes a law that exempt from income tax U.S. companies that develop or manufacture batteries for PHEVs (conglomerates would have to set up subsidiaries).

2. States pass laws that exempt from real estate tax land used for the development or manufacture of batteries for PHEV.

3. States with "university corridors" (such as Michigan's Ann Arbor to Lansing, or North Carolina's Durham to Chapel Hill) establish dedicated research centers and offer free land adjacent to those centers for manufacturing plants.

4. Federal government makes available grants and interest free loans.
 

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GM Seeks More Federal Aid On Battery Development


General Motors Corp.'s North American chief, Troy Clarke, said the government needs to pump more money into battery development for the automotive industry, echoing comments made recently by a counterpart at Ford Motor Co.

The plea comes as GM looks to leapfrog foreign rivals in a heated technology race that is redefining the U.S. market.

Mr. Clarke, speaking at a conference in Washington co-sponsored by the Brookings Institution and Google Inc., said in prepared remarks the U.S. "must fund a major effort to strengthen domestic advanced battery capabilities." GM is currently undertaking a high-profile effort to bring a mass-market plug-in vehicle -- primarily powered by batteries -- to dealerships by 2010. The vehicle is called the Chevrolet Volt and is a trademark of Chief Executive Rick Wagoner's big bet on future technology.

Ford Americas President Mark Fields told the conference Wednesday that Congress must allocate money already approved for research programs dedicated to developing batteries. Mr. Fields noted that Japan, India and China are all significantly funding the research development and deployment of plug-in hybrid vehicle technologies, but he insisted the U.S. "must win" the race.

Ford hasn't revealed a timetable or plan to match GM's Chevrolet Volt program, but it is developing plug-in vehicles.

GM is miles ahead of Ford when it comes to staging a public push for the rapid development of lithium-ion batteries, thanks in large part to the Chevrolet Volt program that depends heavily on suppliers perfecting these batteries for mass use in conventional automobiles. Such batteries could eventually be capable of displacing the reliance on combustion engines as the main power source for vehicles that only make short commutes.

"Government could help by increasing R&D funding for this vital area, while supporting domestic manufacturing of advanced batteries," Mr. Clarke said Thursday. Hybrid-vehicle programs are under way at both GM and Ford, but both auto makers have been slowed by battery-supply hiccups.

The pressure is on Detroit's auto makers to better respond to Japanese competitors, such as Toyota Motor Corp. These rivals have successfully attained the mantle of leadership in the area of hybrid vehicles and fuel-efficient small cars. That reputation is helping them gain considerable market share in the U.S. as customers increasingly demand better fuel economy in the wake of rising gasoline prices.

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I think in addition to governemnt help, GM and Ford really need to put work very closely on advanced batteries. If they combine their efforts they may have a chance of beating Japan, Inc.
 

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The government should, remember Jim Press saying that the Japanese government funded Toyota's hybrid; well why can't the U.S. government do that and save a few jobs and just maybe add a few?
 

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I like HoosierRon's response!
 

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Yeah, ok...our government fund anothing for our auto industry? They can't even fix this oil crisis by R&D into any alternate fuel sorces (ei hydrogen, etc)
 

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I imagine if Obama gets elected and more democrats get elected in Congress this type of spending MIGHT have a better chance of going through. McCain also seems to be more open to alternatives and such than Bush, but the Republicans in Congress don't.

That being said, if oil prices keep going up then Congress will probably be forced to do this kind of thing, no matter who wins.
 

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Re: Mark Fields: PHEV's are "national priority"; calls on federal support to develop

It is not that hard folks:

1. Congress passes a law that exempt from income tax U.S. companies that develop or manufacture batteries for PHEVs (conglomerates would have to set up subsidiaries).

2. States pass laws that exempt from real estate tax land used for the development or manufacture of batteries for PHEV.

3. States with "university corridors" (such as Michigan's Ann Arbor to Lansing, or North Carolina's Durham to Chapel Hill) establish dedicated research centers and offer free land adjacent to those centers for manufacturing plants.

4. Federal government makes available grants and interest free loans.
Normally I am completely against government intervention into business but in this case I might make an exception if a few things could be added to your 1-4. The main one being if it's my tax money going to help pay for the development of battery technology then the outcome needs to support American companies. If my hard earned money helped develop the next better battery technology and then the company who developed it signed an exlusive agreement to only supply Toyota I think my head would blow off.
 

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About the goverment helping or subsidizing PHEV batteries, our goverment has a duty to do what ever they can to help resolve the energy issues of today and for our future. Obviosly both Ford and GM are pretty much strapped down because of costs. So if uncle sammy lend a helping hand I'm sure it will insure that this precious technology of Fe-Phosphate Lithium Ion batteries for PHEVs are kept here in the US. This means jobs, stability and leadership for our working class of our country. Bush should sign an executive order authorizing funds for this endeavor because of our serious economic and national security issues.

One point though, is that battery plants may not be the healthiest environment to work in. I'm sure if they were built with proper safe guards in mind I'm sure it would be possible. With all the potential PHEVs, someone needs to investigate the power grid and determine they can support it.

:soapbox:

:clap::clap::clap:
 

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I was thinking that it's been quite a while since we've had a government that has been behind the auto industry.
Mitt Romney for Prez!!!! Oh wait, umm err for VP?
 

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I imagine if Obama gets elected and more democrats get elected in Congress this type of spending MIGHT have a better chance of going through. McCain also seems to be more open to alternatives and such than Bush, but the Republicans in Congress don't.

That being said, if oil prices keep going up then Congress will probably be forced to do this kind of thing, no matter who wins.

Are you saying Bush's tax breaks to businesses for buying large SUV's was retarded? 'Cause if you ain't I will.

A friend of mine received a huge business tax break for buying a VW toureg (based on gross vehicle weight). I know other folks who bough Hummers for the same reason. In these cases none of the vehicles were actually used for work purposes, just extreamly inefficient transportation.
 

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How about also relaxing the rules required to get ANY kind of plant opened in terms of environmental impact. Again, why build a factory here when you have to wait 3 years to open it, have NIMBY syndrome, and have to fight at every turn with tree huggers, when you can open one tomorrow in China, you pick the city.. Or one in no time in Mexico. At some point we are going to have to realize that there is a blance between environmental concerns and exporting jobs. Just because a company doesn't go through some multi-year environmental impact study doesn't mean they are going to pump the ground full of lead, mercury and PCBs. There has to be a balance somewhere.
 

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How about also relaxing the rules required to get ANY kind of plant opened in terms of environmental impact. Again, why build a factory here when you have to wait 3 years to open it, have NIMBY syndrome, and have to fight at every turn with tree huggers, when you can open one tomorrow in China, you pick the city.. Or one in no time in Mexico. At some point we are going to have to realize that there is a blance between environmental concerns and exporting jobs. Just because a company doesn't go through some multi-year environmental impact study doesn't mean they are going to pump the ground full of lead, mercury and PCBs. There has to be a balance somewhere.
This is the crux of the issue. We are so tied down in red tape that no new contruction of anything even related to something possibly "toxic". We have tree huggers and special interest groups to thank for not having more alterantives to oil right now.

no new nuclear power plants, no new oil refineries, and we won't see battery plants pop up any time soon in this country either.
 
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