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Published: Thursday, 8/11/2011 - Updated: 4 years ago

U.S. awards $175M to boost battery, clean-car technology


WASHINGTON -- The Obama Administration said it will give more than $175 million to car companies and research centers to spur clean auto technology and production of advanced car batteries.

Among the recipients is Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. of Findlay, which will receive $1.5 million to develop and demonstrate a new class of fuel-efficient tires mostly for the replacement market.

The new tires will use innovative materials and new design concepts to improve overall vehicle fuel efficiency by 3 percent.

The announcement of the grants took place prior to President Obama's visit today to a battery factory in Michigan, and followed the introduction of the country's new standards for auto fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions.

"The Department of Energy is investing in new advanced technologies that will significantly improve vehicle fuel economy, save consumers money, and create skilled jobs for Americans," U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu said yesterday.

Clean energy, fuel independence, and job creation are cornerstones of Mr. Obama's re-election campaign.

Aiding U.S. automakers helps counter criticism that his clean-fuel auto agenda gives competition away.

Today the President will tour a factory in Holland, Mich., run by Johnson Controls, which also has a plant in the Toledo area. The company produces lithium-ion batteries, used in electric-powered vehicles.

General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co., and Chrysler Group LLC, controlled by Fiat SpA, are among the companies that received funds to develop more efficient fuel and lubricants, more lightweight materials, and more efficient conventional batteries.

A dozen projects are devoted to making cheaper and longer-lasting electric batteries.

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