Monday, June 23, 2008

McCain Proposes Prize for Improved Car Battery

This is all over the mainstream and blog news sites:

Build a Better Car Battery and a Cash Prize Could Be Yours - The Caucus (The New York Times Political Blog) - John McCain is proposing a $300M prize for a better car battery:

“I further propose we inspire the ingenuity and resolve of the American people by offering a $300 million prize for the development of a battery package that has the size, capacity, cost and power to leapfrog the commercially available plug-in hybrids or electric cars,’’ Mr. McCain said here at California State University, Fresno.

“That’s one dollar, one dollar, for every man, woman and child in the U.S.,’’ he said. “A small price to pay for helping too break the back of our oil dependency, and should deliver a power source at 30 percent of the current costs.’’

He made the proposal as he spoke about improving enforcement of fuel efficiency standards, hastening the conversion of cars to flex-fuel vehicles, and offering tax credits to people who buy zero-emissions cars – stressing issues that are popular in California. ...

He also spoke about other related issues, like a quicker conversion of cars to flex-fuel support and removing sugar ethanol tariffs:

And he issued a not-too veiled threat in urging automakers to step up the conversion of cars to flex-fuel vehicles. “Whether it takes a meeting with automakers during my first month in office, or my signature on an act of Congress,’’ he said, “we will meet the goal of a swift conversion of American vehicles away from oil.’’

Here's the whole speech, according to the linked blog. Robert Zubrin would be glad to hear that he knows corn ethanol, and ethanol in general, isn't the only alcohol fuel:

At the moment, entrepreneurs and engineers are trying to figure out which among the various alternatives to oil works best. Alcohol-based fuels are the farthest along in both development and commercial use. Some, such as ethanol, are on the market now, and new sources of ethanol are on the horizon that will not require the use of so much cropland.


Instead of playing favorites, our government should level the playing field for all alcohol fuels that break the monopoly of gasoline, lowering both gasoline prices and carbon emissions. And this can be done with a simple federal standard to hasten the conversion of all new vehicles in America to flex-fuel technology — allowing drivers to use alcohol fuels instead of gas in their cars.