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Bush praises Johnson Controls battery tech in Milwaukee visit

Milwaukee, Wis. — President George Bush today spoke of energy during a visit to Wisconsin, but rather than concentrate on traditional energy resources, his remarks were directed toward new methods of treating what he called the nation's addiction to foreign oil.

In an address before employees at Johnson Controls, a Milwaukee-based automotive battery manufacturer that is developing a new fuel cell for hybrid automobiles, he touted the energy initiative he outlined during the State of the Union address and repeated his pledge to move toward energy independence through technology, citing the goal of a 75% reduction in imports from the Middle East by 2025.

"I know it came as a shock to some to hear a Texan stand up there in front of the country and say, ‘We got a real problem. America is addicted to oil,'" he said referring to the State of the Union, "but I meant it."

Two-thirds of the nation's research and development dollars are invested by the private sector, and a third are provided by government. One piece of Bush's energy strategy is to develop a successor to the internal combustion engine, and that's why Johnson Controls' Glendale plant was the backdrop for Monday's remarks.

Having launched a lithium-ion battery development laboratory last fall, Johnson Controls is trying to shape the next generation of hybrid vehicles. Given their purported advantages in power-generation, life cycle, and cost, Johnson Controls believes that lithium-ion batteries will replace the nickel-metal-hydride batteries now used in hybrid vehicles.
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The United States Advanced Battery Consortium, a group of government and private-sector entities that include the U.S. Department of Energy and major automobile manufacturers, has granted Johnson Controls a contract for lithium-ion battery development.

The cornerstone of Bush's energy initiative is a 22 percent increase in funding for clean energy research at the Department of Energy. Thus far, the Bush Administration has spent $10 billion on research into advanced automobile batteries and other power-storage solutions, and in an effort to create a competitive alternative to gasoline, it is pushing for ways to make ethanol from material other than corn.

Bush cited public and private sector investment in new vehicles that require less gasoline, new fuels that will replace gasoline, and new ways to run vehicles without gasoline.

"Using new lithium-ion batteries, engineers will be able to design the next generation of hybrid vehicles, called plug-in hybrids, that can be recharged through a standard electrical outlet," Bush said. "Start picturing what I'm talking about. You've got your car, you pull in, [and] you plug it right in the wall."

Initially, it is estimated that plug-in hybrids will be able to travel only 40 miles on electricity alone. Eventually Johnson Controls hopes to develop batteries that can last the entire lifetime of a car. The President said $31 million would be provided to speed up research into such advanced technologies, a 27 percent increase over current funding levels.

More than 200,000 hybrid-electric vehicles were sold in the United States last year, and the global market for hybrid-electric vehicles has grown as gasoline prices soared to record levels. They are considered a bridge technology between vehicles powered by internal combustion engines and the cars of the more distant future, which will be powered entirely by hydrogen fuel cells. To stimulate greater domestic demand, the federal government provides a tax credit of up to $3,400 per hybrid vehicle purchaser.

Comments

E. W. Haines responded 8 years ago: #1

Question. Where is the energy going to come from so that 50 million Americans can plug their cars into an electrical outlet? If every citizen did so together there would be one big fitzz.

Charismaticjoe responded 8 years ago: #2

Peak Demand for electricity is during business hours, charging will probably occur during the evening.

"Plug In" car sales will ramp up gradually, the power companies will see demand increase before it becomes a problem and will have time to react.

This technology is already out as an after market battery for prius. It raises gas mileage to over 100 miles per gallon from 60, but costs a bunch, $12,000 for a car that runs $25,000 fully loaded.

Rowland Morgan responded 8 years ago: #3

More power will come from nuclear power stations. Bush stated at Johnson Controls perfectly clearly: ""I think we ought to start building nuclear power plants again. I think it makes sense to do so. Technology is such that we can do so and say to the American people, these are safe...We're also going to work with other nations to help them build nuclear power industries." Bush Feb 20 2006 at Johnson Controls, lithium battery makers.
I imagine there are a couple of countries he is NOT going to work with, including Iran.

girl in middle school responded 8 years ago: #4

We are learning about energy in middle school right now in my science class. I think that this may be a good idea for the future, but I don't think that we should put a lot of money into research for this, but use the money for research in other areas such as diseases and other things like that. And then in the future when we know more about these things and will not have to use as much money, then research more about this topic. Then we won't have to use as much money for just research on this topic, but we will be able to use all that extra money to build the actual cars when we are educated enough to find out how. I think that building the car but waiting to do it will be a good idea for our country.

Berthe responded 8 years ago: #5

What kind of additional resources are required to harness the pent up demand for Lithium & others extracted from the earth?

Finally, are disposable batteries a thing of the past, or are more landfill based golf courses
and ski resorts on the way to the American landscape?

Priorities mixed up responded 7 years ago: #6

$378 billion is what we are wasting on the Iraq war so far, which does nothing to reduce our dependency on foreign oil, increases the terror threat, and wastes the lives of some of the finest young men and women our country has.
$10 billion for alternative to gasoline? We are digging ourselves into a hole with a shovel and trying to fill it back up with a teaspoon. Stupid........

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