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John McCain Proposes $300 Million Prize For Next-generation Car Battery

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 5 comments


Fresno (CA) - Senator John McCain, the presumptive Republican presidential candidate, has proposed a $300 million prize for anyone who can build an ultra-efficient car battery. At a town hall meeting at Fresno State University, McCain said the new battery would reduce the nation’s dependence on foreign oil. He also proposed giving tax credits to buyers of efficient vehicles.

The battery challenge aims to foster competition to create a car battery that can ’leapfrog’ current plug-in hybrid or electric vehicle batteries in size, capacity and cost. It must deliver the same or more power at 30 percent of current costs. Many scientists and engineers believe lackluster improvements in battery technology are the main obstacle to current crop of hybrid and electric vehicles.

While $300 million seems like a lot of money to give out, McCain assures the public that the tax money spent on the prize is well worth it. "This is one dollar for every man, woman and child in the U.S. — a small price to pay for helping to break the back of our oil dependency," McCain said.

McCain also proposed a ’Clean Car Challenge’ which would award up to $5000 in tax credits to buyers of no emission vehicles. This tax credit plan would in McCain’s words, replace a ’hodgepodge of inventives’, that are currently offered by federal and state governments.

Finally, McCain said he advocated eliminating tax subsidies of corn-based ethanol fuel in the United States. In a recent web commercial, he advocated opening up off-shore drilling, nuclear power and clean coal technology.

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    gm0n3y , June 24, 2008 7:07 PM
    Wow, just wow. McCain is an idiot. First of all, money is not the reason for the slow (but steady) progress of battery technology. If a company managed to make a generational leap in battery technology, they would end up making billions in sales anyways. This is just pure political bull to make him seem more environmentally friendly. As for the $5000 credit, a battery powered car is not a 'no emission vehicle' (well maybe a bicycle). Most electricity in the US (and the rest of the world) is from coal plants.
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    martel80 , June 24, 2008 8:26 PM
    They should rather genetically engineer a plant which would produce oil-like hydrocarbons. Gasoline is not the only product we (I mean mankind, I'm not American) need oil for.
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    stevo777 , June 24, 2008 10:20 PM
    Actually, there have been huge leaps in battery and battery/capacitor hybrids. The technology is just not getting the push that it needs to be implemented. On March 29th, 2005, Toshiba claimed to develop a litium-ion nanotech battery that would recharge to 80% in just a minute or so and have extremely long life, while not being a fire threat. I wrote to Toshiba six months later, and they said the technology was transfered to another department and they wouldn't get back to me.
    This is just another example of technology getting burried so that rich tycoons can play their games.
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    gm0n3y , June 25, 2008 12:28 AM
    I have also read many articles over the last year or so praising seemingly major developments in battery technologies. Perhaps the problem is that 50 different companies own the patents that if used together would constitute a major leap in battery life/recharging/safety/weight/etc.
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    stevo777 , June 26, 2008 12:02 AM
    Yep, you can catch little snippets of advancements that the "popular" media never seems to mention. The only thing that might be good about an "official" X prize thing with the batteries is that the technology would be harder to sweep under the carpet--at least in the US. Then again, there's so much heel dragging who knows.