A big pile of economic stimulus cash surfaced last week to promote the development of plug-in hybrid vehicle technology.
The U.S. Energy Department and the National Energy Technology Laboratory are preparing to release solicitations to industry for manufacturing advanced batteries and related drive components. The huge program could be worth a cool $2 billion.
A related $400 million solicitation will cover infrastructure deployment related to transportation electrification.
This is some serious money, and appears to be headed into the economic stimulus pipeline well ahead of other technology and jobs programs that will take months to sort out and implement.
At first glance, at least, this looks like a real opprtunity for hybrid and battery developers to get funding they probably can't get from venture capitalists, banks or other lenders.
Add to this the fact that Honda Motor Co. is rolling out its Insight hybrid on Tuesday (March 24) that will compete directly against Toyota's Prius. The new Honda Insight will be priced just under $20,000, according to reports.
These and other developments underscore how hybrids and plug-in hybrid technology are poised to become a significant portion of the global automotive market.