"Should Uncle Sam provide billions in loans and grants to a promising but unproven business? Or should the government wait for the market to sort things out before it backs a U.S. company?"
Those are questions posed in a BusinessWeek article last week. However, the questions are largely rhetorical: the U.S. Department of Energy already has a $25 billion Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program, and many car and battery companies are counting on these loans to aid their development and production of lithium ion batteries.
So it's not a question of "should," it's a question of "how?"
Lithium ion batteries will add at least $8,000 to the price of a production plug-in hybrid vehicle, according to BusinessWeek. However, that amount is probably on the low side when you consider that the Chevy Volt is predicted to cost a bit less than $40,000, a good portion of that price being the battery. Another manufacturer representative estimated that a lithium ion battery currently costs approximately $22,000, effectively putting the electric car out of reach to all but the well-heeled greenies. … Read more