McCain Hype: $300 Million for Better Batteries

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In our never-ending quest to dissect the hype consumers are bombarded with by the mainstream media, today we take on presidential nominee John McCain’s proposal to give a $300 million prize to anyone who can develop a “battery package that has the size, capacity, cost and power to leapfrog the commercially available plug-in hybrids or electric cars.”

What’s the problem with that? There are no commercial plug-in electric or fully electric vehicles on the market today, and there won’t be until 2010 if you listen to GM and Toyota, the two automakers with the firmest plans in place. 

Yes, there are niche electric-car manufacturers out there, like Tesla, but is that really what the senator from Arizona is talking about?

He also proposes a $5,000 tax credit on zero-emission cars. The only cars with zero emissions are all-electric or hydrogen, and neither type is close to mass production.

How about $300 million in tax breaks to get battery firms to start manufacturing in the U.S.? The one thing keeping hybrids in limited supply and at high prices here is the availability of the expensive batteries they need in order to run.

Sorry, that’s just us babbling. Go back to the never-ending blathering from both candidates that won’t end up impacting actual consumers.

McCain’s $300M lure for new, ‘green’ car battery sparks buzz (USA Today)

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Former managing editor David Thomas has a thing for wagons and owns a 2010 Subaru Outback and a 2005 Volkswagen Passat wagon. Email David Thomas

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