Fourteen U.S. technology companies are joining forces and seeking $1
billion in federal aid to build a plant to make advanced batteries for
electric cars, in a bid to catch up to Asian rivals that are far ahead
of the U.S.
The effort, the latest pitch from corporate America to inject
federal dollars into a project, is similar to an alliance that two
decades ago helped the U.S. computer-chip industry restore its
competitiveness. Participants include 3M Corp. and Johnson Controls Inc.
Many experts believe battery technology and manufacturing capacity
could become as strategically important as oil is today. Auto makers,
including General Motors Corp. and Ford Motor
Co., say they plan to roll out plug-in electric cars by 2010. But the
U.S. has limited capacity to make the lithium-ion batteries those cars
will need. Asian producers such as Panasonic Corp. dominate the car-battery field.
About time we got off our duffs on this. That could be a decent thing to spend federal dollars on, rather than more of the same…