Success?… Obama Hails Opening of Michigan Plant That Makes $33,000 Car Battery

You’ve got to be kidding?…
Barack Obama hailed the opening of a Michigan battery plant today that produces car batteries that cost $33,000 each and go up to 100 miles before needing a charge. This is Barack Obama’s stimulus success story. He obviously didn’t learn much about the free market system from his socialist mentors during his community organizing days.

This is supposed to be a Stimulus Bill success story. A $33,000 battery. (A123 Systems)

The AP reported:

President Barack Obama celebrated the opening of an advanced battery plant in Michigan on Monday as a critical boost for hybrid and electric cars — and a success for his administration’s economic stimulus program.

But even as mass-produced advanced batteries start rolling off assembly lines, costs are high for consumers, and hurdles remain.

“This is about the birth of an entire new industry in America, an industry that’s going to be central to the next generation of cars,” Obama said Monday in a phone call broadcast at the opening of A123 Systems Inc.’s lithium ion battery plant in Livonia, Mich.

“And it’s going to allow us to start exporting those cars, making them comfortable, convenient, and affordable. …. When folks lift up their hoods on the cars of the future, I want them to see engines and batteries that are stamped: ‘Made in America,'” Obama said, according to a transcript of the call released by the White House…

…Despite the fanfare, the battery industry faces many hurdles. Gas-electric hybrid vehicles represent about 1 percent of new vehicle sales, and many plug-in hybrids and battery electric cars are just entering the market.

Costs are high. The government has estimated that a battery with a 100-mile range costs about $33,000, although stimulus money could bring that down to $10,000 by the end of 2015.

Mary Ann Wright, a Johnson Controls vice president, said if all of the battery companies follow through on plans to build up the industry, it could create more capacity than is needed in the short term. But she said the administration was working to address that by creating tax policies to encourage consumers to buy the vehicles and directing government fleets to adopt the technology.

“The rapid buildup of production capacity by companies with limited experience for product with challenging market may prove wasteful,” said Menahem Anderman, founder and president of Total Battery Consulting, a California-based battery consulting firm.

Anderman said by e-mail that if by 2013-14 the factories are profitable and running at full capacity, Obama officials will be able to claim success. “Unfortunately that scenario is pretty unlikely,” he said.

Obama Celebrates Jobs Created at Korean-Owned Plant That Makes Expensive Batteries for Expensive Cars (Video)

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