Grants from the $800 Billion Stimulus Bill Revived the Electric Car Industry
President Obama’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 provided $2 billion in federal grants to support the manufacture of environmentally-friendly electric cars. These grants revived the nearly dead electric car industry by helping build 30 U.S. factories for batteries and parts, by funding mines for lithium production, and by creating thousands of permanent jobs.
A common criticism of President Obama’s $800 billion stimulus package has been that it failed to produce anything – that while the New Deal built bridges and dams, all the stimulus did was fill some potholes and create temporary jobs.
Don’t tell that to Annette Herrera. She was 50 when the auto supplier she worked for in Westland, Mich., closed its factory and moved the work to Mexico. Then, after being unemployed for 2½ years, she got a job in October 2010 with A123 Systems, which had received $250 million in stimulus money to help open a new lithium-ion battery plant in nearby Romulus, Mich.
“The first thing I did was call my husband and tell him, ‘You’re never going to guess! I got a job!’” Herrera recalled. “And then it was like celebration time.”
One success the Obama administration can duly claim is the rebirth of the electric-car industry in the United States. Automakers have unveiled a number of mass-market electric cars, which have seen small but rising sales. Battery and parts manufacturers are building 30 factories, creating thousands of new jobs. A123 has hired 700 workers at Herrera’s plant and a second one in nearby Livonia, and plans to hire a couple thousand more people over the next few years.
If it wasn’t for the stimulus, the companies say, they would have built these plants overseas.
It was all part of an effort to promote “green” manufacturing and put a million electric cars on the road by 2015.
- Funds from Crowd-Funding Sites Such as Kickstarter Cannot Entirely Replace Government Grants
- Matching Federal Grants for Agriculture Research Projects Now Available to States
- $2.7 Million Awarded by the Kessler Foundation to Increase Employment for People with Disabilities
- Detroit Police Plan to Repurpose Federal Grants for New Hires to Instead Pay Current Officers
- Proposed Bill Will Provide Grants for Cities to Lower Public Transit Fares During Gas Price Spikes