The 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, more commonly called the stimulus package, is a $787 billion plan designed to aid businesses with pulling out of the economic downturn of the last few years. Anyone can track stimulus projects at a dedicated Web site here.
Beginning in March 2009, more than 250 companies applied for grants under the Transportation Electrification Initiative and the Electric Drive Vehicle Battery and Component Manufacturing Initiative. The former applied $400 million to the development of electric and hybrid cars, as well as educating the public about them; the latter applied $2 billion towards the construction of plants that can produce batteries and electric vehicle components [source: U.S. Dept. of Energy].
Here's how it all shook out when the winners of the grants were announced a few months later. General Motors received about $245 million to support battery-pack production and demonstrations for their Chevrolet Volt plug-in EV, as well as a new rear-wheel-drive electric platform. Ford Motor Company pulled in more than $90 million to develop a transmission for electric cars and to send their plug-in hybrids out for fleet use. Chrysler was awarded $70 million to develop over 200 advanced plug-in hybrid electric pickups and minivans [source: Hybridcars.com].
But car companies weren't the only ones that benefitted from the stimulus package. The biggest grant recipient was Johnson Controls Inc. of Michigan and Oregon, which received nearly $300 million to produce nickel-cobalt-metal battery cells and packs. And A123 Systems Inc. of Michigan received just less than $249 million to create battery cells and modules and assemble battery packs for cars. Other companies got smaller amounts of money to manufacture components like semiconductors.
The Electric Transportation Engineering Corporation of Phoenix received $99 million to demonstrate Nissan electric vehicles. And several universities got funding for various educational programs, including one that teaches emergency responders how to safely rescue people from electric cars involved in accidents.
With any luck, the billions of dollars invested by the government will go a long way in allowing American industries to put more hybrids and electric vehicles on our roadways. You can see a full list of all the grant winners here.
For more information about hybrid cars and other related topics, follow the links on the next page.