The Michigan Messenger asks: Will batteries recharge Michigan’s economy? To answer it, they turn to science writer Howard Lovy, one of the founders of Ann Arbor-based nanotechnology and microsystems publication Small Times. Lovy has covered science, technology and business for Michigan and national media including Wired and the New York Times and provides the best analysis of what over $350 million in tax credits for battery manufacture will mean for Michigan.
Lovy notes that while lithium-ion battery manufacturing for electric hybrid vehicles will not in and of itself be a huge employer for Michigan, the issue is vitally important for one reason:
It’s even coming out of the mouths of GM, which appears to be ahead of the other U.S. automakers when it comes to reading the proverbial writing on the wall. Larry Burns, vice president for research and development for GM, has called for â€œsharing the public/private risks and rewards â€” possibly creating a partnership between the U.S. government, auto manufacturers and suppliers, the energy and infrastructure industries â€¦â€
What many in the U.S. Congress â€” and Detroit’s critics across the country â€” failed to grasp is that the auto industry is infrastructure and just as important to our national health and future as rebuilding crumbling bridges. And, a key part of that infrastructure involves batteries. An investment in the auto industry, in batteries, is akin Eisenhower’s launch of the Interstate Highway System. Old Dwight pictured the system as being used for national defense. Civilian use, of course, completely overshadowed the need to move missiles around.
Better batteries, stand-alone fuel cells, for our automobiles will eventually translate to better, smarter power for our homes and offices. It is directly related to new smart grid technologies that will replace our creaking, old 20th century electric power infrastructure.
This is a great article and I really hope you can take a moment to read it. You might also want to hear GM CEO Rick Wagoner discuss the lithium ion battery pack that powers the Volt and other hybrids: