The US says it will spend $3 billion to make batteries for electric vehicles

The Biden administration will allocate more than $3 billion (about Rs. 23,000) in infrastructure funds to fund battery manufacturing for electric vehicles (EV), U.S. officials said Monday.

The funds are provided by the Department of Energy from the US$1 trillion (about Rs.76,62,200) infrastructure bill signed by US President Joe Biden last year. Initiatives include processing minerals for use in large-capacity batteries and recycling those batteries, the agency said in a statement.

Biden wants half of the vehicles sold in the U.S. to be electric by 2030, a goal he hopes will boost unionized manufacturing jobs in key campaign states, thwart Chinese competition in a fast-growing market, and the will reduce climate-damaging CO2 emissions.

The government is also positioning the measures as a step to secure energy independence and reduce long-term inflationary pressures exacerbated by Russia’s February 24 invasion of Ukraine.

“In light of this Putin oil and gas price hike, it’s also important to note that electric vehicles will be cheaper for American families over the long haul,” Mitch Landrieu, the White House infrastructure coordinator, told reporters in a briefing to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Ford Motor Co welcomed the announcement.

“This investment will strengthen our domestic battery supply chain, create jobs and help U.S. manufacturers compete on the global stage,” Ford general counsel Steven Croley said in a statement. “We have a moment of opportunity here in the United States to own this technology, and investments like the one announced today will help us get there.”

The recent funding will help build and retrofit battery factories. The Infrastructure Act also provided the government with billions more to buy electric buses and install chargers for electric vehicles. The government has worked with manufacturers including Tesla CEO Elon Musk, General Motors CEO Mary Barra and Ford CEO Jim Farley.

But the funds won’t go toward developing new domestic mines to produce lithium, nickel, cobalt and other high-demand minerals needed to make those batteries. Some of these projects face local opposition and are tethered to environmental and legal reviews by the Biden administration.

“These resources are about the battery supply chain, which includes the production and recycling of critical minerals without reclamation or mining,” said Gina McCarthy, Biden’s national climate adviser. “So we’re all pretty excited about that.”

In March, Biden invoked the Cold War-era Defense Production Act to support the production and processing of these minerals. He applied for funds to support this initiative last week as part of a $33 billion (around Rs.2.52,800) package for Ukraine-related initiatives.

© Thomson Reuters 2022 The US says it will spend $3 billion to make batteries for electric vehicles

Ryan Sederquist

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