Big Three Seek Battery Subsidies

Larger U.S. Outlay Would Speed Work On Electric Vehicles.

Published: 13-Jan-2007

DETROIT -- The Big Three auto makers have asked the federal government to spend roughly $500 million over five years to subsidize the development of advanced batteries required to power future vehicles such as the electric prototype generating buzz for General Motors Corp.

In a follow-up to a November meeting between President Bush and their chief executives, GM, Ford Motor Co. and DaimlerChrysler AG's Chrysler Group last month submitted a white paper to a White House technology adviser saying the U.S. is trailing Japan in development of batteries for fuel-efficient automobiles and could suffer economically if the government doesn't help accelerate domestic research efforts in this area, company officials said.

The proposal is being reviewed by a technology advisor to Mr. Bush and the Department of Energy, said Scott W. Schramm, DaimlerChrysler's manager for regulatory and technical affairs. Spokesmen for the White House and the Energy Department couldn't comment yesterday afternoon.

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