Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Detroit Faces Skeptical Washington; Bush Long on Rhetoric

The Detroit News story today, Big 3's call for U.S. aid gets cool reception, outlines the predicament faced by automakers and Washington. Many lawmakers are pressuring for action on fuel efficiency. The automakers came begging for research dollars and restraint on CAFE standards. As Michigan Democrats line up with the most Republicans to protect the Big 3 on CAFE standards, Bush has already disappointed Detroit on the money front:
GM, Ford Motor Co. and DaimlerChrysler AG were disappointed their request for $500 million in federal funds over five years for research into advanced batteries was not mentioned during the State of the Union. It is not likely to be part of the president's budget request set to be unveiled Monday.
It seems the president, for all his plug-in promotion, isn't allocating dollars commensurate with his rhetoric. Energy Washington Week reports PHEVs getting short shrift:
Although increased attention is being paid to the technology, it is not sure how much support the president will lend PHEV in the 2008 budget. The White House says hybrid funding will be higher than last year's budget request but would not elaborate. Hydrogen and fuel-cell vehicle R&D still comprise the lion's share of the current 2006 budget, an allocation that critics said was to the detriment of other vehicle programs, including advanced battery development. The earmarks attached to the hydrogen initiative, alone, were enough to place other DOE programs in jeopardy, these critics warned.
Proof:
Energy Department grants -- to the tune of about $44 million -- funded just over half of Ford's plug-in hydrogen fuel cell vehicle unveiled last week in Washington.
A Tesla Roadster for every member of Congress would have been a better use of the money.

1 comment:

kert said...

Well .. Tesla can do stuff on their own, correct ? A lot of small startups building NEVs or city cars are building up momentum .. and now suddenly Detroit goes and asks for help from government to build electrics ?
I mean, government should help in areas that would struggle in free market conditions but hell if there isnt current market for electric cars ... start freaking selling them and pour your profits into better batteries.
IOW Detroit doesnt deserve or even NEED actual help, the batteries for PHEVs and most people would say BEVS too are already there.
Im thinking their request was more of a show to make their excuses of hiding behind battery tech woes look more legit.