EPA Administrator announces funding for electric vehicles listen08/05/09 SeÃ¡n Kinane
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As part of a coordinated action today, President Obama and several members of his cabinet fanned out around the country to make the case that green technologies can help the economy improve. Part of that rebound, they say, will be due to projects being funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
During a rain storm this afternoon in St. Petersburg, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa Jackson announced that green technologies are receiving $2.4 billion dollars of stimulus funding â€œto create new jobs and head us into a clean future â€¦ including right here in Florida.â€
A Jacksonville battery company, Saft America, will receive $95.5 million. They will use it to construct a plant to manufacture lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles and military applications, according to a press release from the EPA. Saftâ€™s president Thomas Alcide says the grant from the Department of Energy will help the company create up to 800 jobs.
Saft will create the equivalent of 20,000 plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, or PHEV, batteries to power a prototype fleet of vehicles, according to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson.
Progress Energy Florida will receive two of the prototype plug-in hybrid electrics. They will be Ford Escape vehicles for use in St. Petersburg and Lake Mary, near Orlando. Bill Johnson is president and CEO of Progress Energy.
Sue Cischke is vice president of sustainability with Ford Motor Company, which is also receiving recovery funds for the project.
In the 1990s General Motors leased an electric vehicle, the EV1 to consumers. The film â€œWho Killed the Electric Car?â€ questions why the company destroyed the popular vehicle.
EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson says deployment of the new hybrids will save an estimated 1500 U.S. jobs. She says that besides reducing carbon dioxide emissions, using electricity stored in lithium-ion batteries in plug-in hybrid electric vehicles will be less expensive.
U.S. Representative Kathy Castor, a Democrat from Tampa, says that Recovery Act funds should go to areas that are hurting the most from the economic downturn.
In all, today President Obamaâ€™s administration announced "48 new advanced battery and electric drive projects."
Full disclosure: in graduate school this reporter received an EPA fellowship.