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US Corps Want $1B From Gov't For Battery Factory

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the when-you-really-truly-need-some-free-tax-money dept.

Power 394

tristanreid writes "The Wall Street Journal reports that a consortium of 14 US technology companies will ask the Federal Government for up to $1 billion for a plant to make advanced battery technology, as a part of the broad fiscal stimulus package that Pres. Elect Obama is planning. The story quotes a report by Ralph Brodd, which suggests that while existing battery technology was developed in the US, the lead in development is now held in Asia. From the WSJ story: 'More than four dozen advanced battery factories are being built in China but none, currently, in the US.'"

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This is one government program... (-1, Troll)

Teresita (982888) | more than 5 years ago | (#26162977)

...that dykes everywhere can support.

I can't support this use of tax dollars (3, Funny)

Wonko the Sane (25252) | more than 5 years ago | (#26162981)

Unless, of course, they develop Mr Fusion

Re:I can't support this use of tax dollars (5, Insightful)

lysergic.acid (845423) | more than 5 years ago | (#26163207)

i say give it to them. it's a wise investment.

that is, of course, so long as:

  • any battery technology developed is released into the public domain. (if you want public funding, you need to make your research results public as well.)
  • there are government price controls to ensure the public isn't getting reamed on products they're subsidizing. and every 2-3 years the government and industry representatives get together to renegotiate the prices. (this is similar to how health care is run in Japan as a hybrid between privatized and socialized medicine.)
  • small companies/start-ups also have access to the plant, and it's not just a handful of major corporations that are benefiting from this federal aid.

we need improved/cheaper battery technology to boost the development & adoption of electric vehicles.

Re:I can't support this use of tax dollars (4, Insightful)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 5 years ago | (#26163343)

I think a battery design firm would be a good investment with those rules. I don't think a battery factory would be a good investment under any circumstances. What's the advantage to building them in the U.S.? It's not like it will create more than a dozen jobs---those sorts of plants are all pretty much automated anyway.

Besides, most manufacturers build their products in Asia, so a component plant in the U.S. is likely to have a hard time selling any products, particularly given China's stiff import restrictions.... You'd have to make the products a lot cheaper than they can be made in China, which seems dubious at best. Otherwise, no manufacturer in their right minds would go through all the hassle and expense of buying batteries from an American plant, shipping them to China to be assembled into a product, then shipping them back to the U.S. for consumption....

See why this is a silly idea?

Re:I can't support this use of tax dollars (2, Insightful)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 5 years ago | (#26163473)

not to mention (but I will!) the US environmental regulations are much more stringent. Batteries, advanced or otherwise, involve some nasty substances.

Re:I can't support this use of tax dollars (3, Interesting)

Tiro (19535) | more than 5 years ago | (#26163783)

Otherwise, no manufacturer in their right minds would go through all the hassle and expense of buying batteries from an American plant, shipping them to China to be assembled into a product, then shipping them back to the U.S. for consumption...

That's how a lot of US turkey is produced--shipped to Asia for processing then returned for sale. Of course the difference is that turkeys are labor intensive to process and consumers would avoid foreign-raised meat.

Re:I can't support this use of tax dollars (2, Insightful)

SkyDude (919251) | more than 5 years ago | (#26163847)

A manufacturer wouldn't ship batteries to Asia or anywhere else if it was for the purpose of assembly. Any battery would add many many pounds of weight to, say, a container of products, and that extra weight translates into dollars spent on shipping.

If the batteries stay in this country and be assembled into the products here, the wages and other fixed costs would be the deciding factor.

Re:I can't support this use of tax dollars (5, Interesting)

gnick (1211984) | more than 5 years ago | (#26163883)

...most manufacturers build their products in Asia, so a component plant in the U.S. is likely to have a hard time selling any products, particularly given China's stiff import restrictions.... You'd have to make the products a lot cheaper than they can be made in China, which seems dubious at best. Otherwise, no manufacturer in their right minds would go through all the hassle and expense of buying batteries from an American plant, shipping them to China to be assembled into a product, then shipping them back to the U.S. for consumption....

Yes, most manufacturers build their products in Asia. But this is about car batteries. The auto makers (the folks that TFA focuses on as the main consumer for next-gen batteries) aren't in China. Most vehicles bought in North America are assembled in North America. No round-trip necessary for these batteries.

You are correct about the price - American-made batteries would likely cost more than batteries made in China. Probably even after factoring in the shipping on those heavy suckers. However that would be largely due to China's lax environmental restrictions rather than labor costs (a typical culprit). So, while we'd save some money by just abandoning the battery industry and letting China take it, every time a consumer bought a "green" car, they'd be making an excessively nasty dent in the environment. (Battery production would be messy here too, but a helluva lot cleaner than in China.)

All that said, I'd really prefer to see private investors step up for factories and tax-dollars only used for public-domain research...

Re:I can't support this use of tax dollars (1)

brian0918 (638904) | more than 5 years ago | (#26163371)

The end result of your plan would be something similar to the local telecom monopolies we're all familiar with. You can't contrive competition through central planning. You must simply let competition exist. But competition cannot exist so long as the determining factor is the size of the bribe given to the politicians controlling the service.

Re:I can't support this use of tax dollars (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26163653)

The end result of your plan would be something similar to the local telecom monopolies we're all familiar with. You can't contrive competition through central planning. You must simply let competition exist. But competition cannot exist so long as the determining factor is the size of the bribe given to the politicians controlling the service.

You can say that, but Japan has the longest lifespan in the world, specifically because of how they handle their health care. So the principal you cite is clearly flawed.

Re:I can't support this use of tax dollars (1)

brian0918 (638904) | more than 5 years ago | (#26163835)

You can say that, but Japan has the longest lifespan in the world, specifically because of how they handle their health care.

I thought it was because of their relatively low risk of heart disease. Did they invent some magic drug I'm unaware of, or do they simply eat differently? If you're going to make such extraordinary claims about the wonders of Japan's healthcare system (which somehow has a limitless supply of cash on hand), you're going to have to provide extraordinary evidence to back it up.

Important difference (2, Insightful)

Lonewolf666 (259450) | more than 5 years ago | (#26163697)

Telecom is a natural monopoly, because building multiple networks in parallel is economically inefficient. Hence the attempts to regulate the one existing network, often with poor success.

With batteries it is easier to start up a competing factory, if the technology is well documented.
So I think GP's point #1 would be sufficient, no need to regulate prices on top of the requirement to release the research into the public domain. That release, however, should be closely checked for completeness and correctness.

Re:Important difference (1)

brian0918 (638904) | more than 5 years ago | (#26163797)

Telecom is a natural monopoly, because building multiple networks in parallel is economically inefficient.

Inefficient for whom? Companies are independent and have their own goals. Their goals - whatever they may be - are not the same as your idealized "goal" for the economy or country as a whole. If a service provider is providing poor service, then there is a huge incentive for a large company to come in and providing competing service. The only thing stopping them is the local government's restriction on laying parallel lines.

Re:I can't support this use of tax dollars (1)

inviolet (797804) | more than 5 years ago | (#26163499)

Hi, yes, I'd like to buy points 1 and 3, but can I still get package pricing if I don't want point 2?

To wit:

there are government price controls to ensure the public isn't getting reamed on products they're subsidizing. and every 2-3 years the government and industry representatives get together to renegotiate the prices. (this is similar to how health care is run in Japan as a hybrid between privatized and socialized medicine.)

If anyone other than a free market sets the price, then you will get oversupply or undersupply. Oversupply means that consumers are getting reamed qua high prices (above demand), and undersupply means that consumers are getting reamed qua scarcity.

So how about neither?

Re:I can't support this use of tax dollars (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26163643)

Perhaps you should change any battery technology developed is released into the public domain. (if you want public funding, you need to make your research results public as well.)

Be public domain to American companies that are manufacturing in the US, not somewhere else.

Re:I can't support this use of tax dollars (1)

need4mospd (1146215) | more than 5 years ago | (#26163665)

I say don't give it to them. Because no matter how many great plans we come up with here, I'd bet what's left of my life savings they wouldn't pick one of those. On top of that, it will end up like every other government program, broke and asking for more money in a few years.

"Oh Mr. Congressman, we're THIS close to releasing it, all we need is a little more money. $2b or so should do..."

I don't get it either (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 5 years ago | (#26163309)

How will more money solve the problem? Isn't the problem that the ideas comes from somewhere else or that developing them is much more cheaper over there?

How will more money solve that?

It's the wrong solution, if american companies can't make cars people want for prices they are willing to pay or develop competitive battery technologies why invest in those areas? Invest in something you do better (or compete in price of the work but I doubt many americans would want to go that road.)

Shoot for high-tech engineering or something such (which battery technology may be but unless it's competitive to manufacture them over there why do it? You can't generate "real" money if you have to get the money from the government / taxes. If only more parts of Sweden understood that to ..)

F batteries (1)

Mateo_LeFou (859634) | more than 5 years ago | (#26163525)

Ultracapacitors ftw

Merica (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26162995)

Son of bitch American
American is pig
Do you want a hamburger?
Do you want a pizza?
American pig is disgusting
George walker Bush is a murderer
Fuck USA

Re:Merica (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26163479)

Son of bitch Colonel Sanders Colonel Sanders is pig Do you want my breast? Do you want my leg? Colonel Sanders is disgusting KFC is a murderer Fuck Kentucky Fried Chicken

Re:Merica (-1, Troll)

Goaway (82658) | more than 5 years ago | (#26163703)

hey,hybrid american.
i don't your future and killing soon!

Re:Merica (1)

denis-The-menace (471988) | more than 5 years ago | (#26163811)

I wish I could mod you (-1 Incomprehensible)

If the advanced technology comes from China... (3, Insightful)

SirGarlon (845873) | more than 5 years ago | (#26162997)

Maybe Congress should take a look at why U.S. companies didn't choose to manufacture this technology domestically, and implement policy changes to fix the underlying problems. Otherwise it's just economic Whack-a-Mole.

And no, I'm not a supply-sider. I think the incentives are more complex than "high taxes drive jobs away." Maybe that's part of the answer, but only a part.

Re:If the advanced technology comes from China... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26163073)

Congress has already fixed that problem, we were too rich.

Re:If the advanced technology comes from China... (3, Interesting)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 5 years ago | (#26163099)

The reason US Companies didn't choose to manufacture this technology domestically is because Wall Street only cares about projects that turn a profit in 4 months. The answer? Do away with Wall Street's drag on R&D, fund it directly. Or better yet, add a 5% consumption tax on all stock transactions to fund Japanese style industry research cooperatives.

Re:If the advanced technology comes from China... (4, Insightful)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 5 years ago | (#26163161)

The reason US Companies didn't choose to manufacture this technology domestically is because Wall Street only cares about projects that turn a profit in 4 months.

While that probably does have some effect, there are three words that come to mind when I think of battery development:

Environmental
Impact
Statement

That right there will kill any power generation or storage technology before it's even a glimmer in an scientist/engineer's eye.

Re:If the advanced technology comes from China... (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 5 years ago | (#26163383)

Yeah, that might have an effect on the actual factory...depending on the technology that is. Seems to me the best power generation and storage tech actually uses more pollution than it creates. Which is something many companies forget in their EIS filings.

Re:If the advanced technology comes from China... (2, Insightful)

OldeTimeGeek (725417) | more than 5 years ago | (#26163483)

Yeah, because we all want to live next to Love Canal [wikipedia.org] .

Yes, the process is slow and is often abused, but there is a good reason why it's there...

Re:If the advanced technology comes from China... (4, Insightful)

John Whitley (6067) | more than 5 years ago | (#26163531)

Enivonmental Impact Statement

Duh, what? Yes, requiring industry to figure out what it's going to dump on us before it does so can be a "burden". So be it. At the same time, it drives innovation into avenues that don't dump pollution on the rest of us. And as more people get into the act, "green" approaches previously not up for consideration are discovered to often yield better results (more efficient, cheaper, etc.). The more baseline work that goes into sustainable industry, the easier it gets for everyone.

Also, take a walk on the other side for a minute -- a friend visited Shanghai a few weeks ago. The air pollution was often so bad that he could barely see a block ahead from the brown haze. Quote, "my lungs feel tanned." Look also at the environmental disaster zone that are the former Soviet states. One Russian I spoke to put it this way: many people there know that excessive smoking and drinking aren't good for their health, but do it anyway out of the belief that it won't really matter because of everything else they're exposed to.

Re:If the advanced technology comes from China... (1)

module0000 (882745) | more than 5 years ago | (#26163715)

"Wall Street" isn't obligated to fund anything.

Re:If the advanced technology comes from China... (3, Insightful)

internerdj (1319281) | more than 5 years ago | (#26163193)

Like how US workers demand to be paid something for their work? How they demand not to work in places that are deathtraps? With all the horror stories of what it is like to make clothing, I can't imagine what it would be like to work in a Chinese factory whose products contained large amounts of caustic chemicals...

Re:If the advanced technology comes from China... (2, Insightful)

jeffshoaf (611794) | more than 5 years ago | (#26163283)

I think the real issue w/ battery manufacturing is evironmental more than high taxes. Making batteries requires the use of a lot of toxic chemicals and generates toxic waste. Since China and other Asian countries have less stringent (or no) regulations on those chemicals, it's much cheaper to make batteries there than it is to deal with the proper handling, storage, and disposal of the toxic stuff in the U.S.

Personally, I'd prefer that the policies and regulations governing use and disposal of that nasty stuff not be "fixed."

Re:If the advanced technology comes from China... (0, Redundant)

Kohath (38547) | more than 5 years ago | (#26163373)

Personally, I'd prefer that the policies and regulations governing use and disposal of that nasty stuff not be "fixed."

even though those regulations make everyone poorer.

Is there any room for a cost/benefit analysis in your position? Or is it dogma?

Re:If the advanced technology comes from China... (1)

Captain Splendid (673276) | more than 5 years ago | (#26163745)

Or is it dogma?

How about just good health?

Your projection is showing....

Re:If the advanced technology comes from China... (1)

genner (694963) | more than 5 years ago | (#26163825)

even though those regulations make everyone poorer.

Is there any room for a cost/benefit analysis in your position? Or is it dogma?

It wouldn't if we taxed chinese imports so we could compete.

Re:If the advanced technology comes from China... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26163543)

Because legislation and additional policies solve everything.

Re:If the advanced technology comes from China... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26163605)

Maybe Congress should take a look at why U.S. companies didn't choose to manufacture this technology domestically, and implement policy changes to fix the underlying problems. Otherwise it's just economic Whack-a-Mole.

And no, I'm not a supply-sider. I think the incentives are more complex than "high taxes drive jobs away." Maybe that's part of the answer, but only a part.

The problem is that, not only are direct labor costs lower overseas, but also indirect regulatory costs like OSHA, FDA, ADA, etc, etc, etc.

One solution is to impose an across the board tariff on all manufactured goods entering the country, say 10% to 15%. Enough to compensate for the regulatory burden on US manufacturers, but not enough to protect inefficency.

The proceeds can be used to fund unemployment benefits and retraining for laid-off manufacturing workers.

No, this wasn't my idea, but it's a good one.

Re:If the advanced technology comes from China... (1)

module0000 (882745) | more than 5 years ago | (#26163803)

One solution is to impose an across the board tariff on all manufactured goods entering the country, say 10% to 15%. Enough to compensate for the regulatory burden on US manufacturers, but not enough to protect inefficency.

So you think we should all pay 10 to 15 percent more for these products? Because they aren't just going to eat the tax, they are going to pass it right along to us with price increases on the products.

Why play catch up? (5, Insightful)

critical_point (1430417) | more than 5 years ago | (#26163009)

Instead we should invest that $1B into researching fundamentally new battery technologies.

Hopefully Obama realizes how many theoretical research salaries can be paid with $1B and chooses to spend the money on this kind of long-term project.

Re:Why play catch up? (1)

Bobzibub (20561) | more than 5 years ago | (#26163289)

Bingo!
You reached your critial point quota today.

Battery development on my tax money?? (5, Insightful)

Eggplant62 (120514) | more than 5 years ago | (#26163057)

Um, say gents, you can feel free to pool your resources on your own to develop new battery technology. However, there's no need for the government to pony up my tax dollars on this endeavour, especially considering how eager you folks are to outsource jobs overseas left and right, mm-kay?

Re:Battery development on my tax money?? (3, Funny)

jornak (1377831) | more than 5 years ago | (#26163109)

Battery development... on your tax money? It's more likely than you think.

Re:Battery development on my tax money?? (3, Interesting)

dk90406 (797452) | more than 5 years ago | (#26163189)

Given the current economical environment, government aid may be needed. But *if* money are granted, they should be considered an investment, so the government (and US taxpayers, in the longer turn) should be given stocks appropriate to the investment size.

Government: do not give 1BN gifts.

Re:Battery development on my tax money?? (2, Informative)

brian0918 (638904) | more than 5 years ago | (#26163315)

so the government (and US taxpayers, in the longer turn) should be given stocks appropriate to the investment size.

And thus you've completed the transition to socialism.

Re:Battery development on my tax money?? (1)

dk90406 (797452) | more than 5 years ago | (#26163541)

As opposed to capitalism: Failing companies begging for money to survive in the market?

Re:Battery development on my tax money?? (0, Offtopic)

brian0918 (638904) | more than 5 years ago | (#26163701)

As opposed to capitalism: Failing companies begging for money to survive in the market?

Err... what? Was that supposed to be an argument? Or just a non-sequitur?

Re:Battery development on my tax money?? (0)

0xdeadbeef (28836) | more than 5 years ago | (#26163801)

RON PAUL!

Re:Battery development on my tax money?? (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 5 years ago | (#26163755)

How is it socialism for the government to invest in a private business and get a return? That's not complete ownership. As a person who hates government waste and loves free markets, I think it's the best idea out there. Maybe after enough of these investments, the government could develop its own revenue stream and they could stop raping my wallet.

Re:Battery development on my tax money?? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26163213)

Actually, investing in efficient portable sources of electricity is a great way to spend tax money. It's the kind of thing that comes back in a good way. You assumed that these people are full of resources to throw at advanced new technology, and also that they are responsible for job outsourcing, which is just ignorant. To stay on the cutting edge the US gov't needs to fund exactly this kind of research. Otherwise we're spending the same tax dollars buying the batteries from China.

Re:Battery development on my tax money?? (1)

afxgrin (208686) | more than 5 years ago | (#26163227)

You do realize that most foreign countries get these sort of facilities because they offer large grants to corporations to build them in their country.

I personally would like to have an R&D job within North America, they don't all have to go overseas ...

And on a semi-related note ... Battery [youtube.com] by Metallica.

Re:Battery development on my tax money?? (4, Insightful)

Smidge204 (605297) | more than 5 years ago | (#26163387)

So what you're saying is: you'd rather leave scientific development in the hands of private finance, where practically nothing will get done unless someone sees a very straightforward and profitable outcome to the research within a few year's time and the distribution can be effectively suppressed with copyright and patent laws.

Congratulations! You have just created the pharmaceuticals industry, which gave us a dozen meds for erectile dysfunction but no actual cures for important things like AIDS or cancer.

The alternative is to let the government fund science, and historically speaking the government is not afraid to spend money on purely theoretical and/or nonprofitable research. Even more so if the technology can be used for a military edge - and new battery tech is definitely something the military wants.

Electronic computers? Satellite communications? GPS? The Internet? Nuclear power? Jet powered aircraft? All born of government funded projects.

Of all the things government pisses away money on, science is the last thing I'd complain about.
=Smidge=

Re:Battery development on my tax money?? (1)

MBCook (132727) | more than 5 years ago | (#26163415)

Don't worry, you'll be given a free pack of 3 AAs once every 36 fortnights, tax free, as an additional payback on your investment.

It will be sort of like the Alaskan Permanent Fund, but weirder and more pointless.

Re:Battery development on my tax money?? (1)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | more than 5 years ago | (#26163423)

Um, say gents, you can feel free to pool your resources on your own to develop new battery technology. However, there's no need for the government to pony up my tax dollars on this endeavour, especially considering how eager you folks are to outsource jobs overseas left and right, mm-kay?

Actually if the companies does get this grant, then it should come with strings attached. Basically all research must be done in the US, giving priority to existing US resident researchers. The government should impose that any new technology developed through this funding must be assigned to a public domain patent - the companies can patent it, but they won't be allowed to gain any licensing dollars from it. I take this stance because in some many other cases companies complain about government regulation - you either accept government intervention with the attached strings or you go out and spend some other investor's money with the strings they attach.

Re:Battery development on my tax money?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26163843)

No kidding. Government-funded research is all well and good for things that likely won't turn a profit but will still benefit the taxpayers, but this is another clear cut case of something with a massive public demand.

Let the companies put their own R&D dollars into it. The people are willing to buy highly efficient batteries, same as efficient cars. There's no reason to fund them.

want $1bn from Govt? (2, Interesting)

hierophanta (1345511) | more than 5 years ago | (#26163113)

when did it become ok to rely on the government to put up funds to save / create business? this is the opposite of lazaire faire (no i dont know how to spell that).

Re:want $1bn from Govt? (1)

paulthomas (685756) | more than 5 years ago | (#26163405)

I agree with your sentiment, but it's "Laissez-faire", and you'll be more convincing if you don't sound proud of your ignorance when you've got the whole internet at your service.

http://www.google.com/search?client=safari&rls=en&q=Laissez-faire&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8 [google.com]

Re:want $1bn from Govt? (1)

paulthomas (685756) | more than 5 years ago | (#26163519)

Looking at the replies, mine included, my conclusion is now: "how resourceful!"

Re:want $1bn from Govt? (1)

pitchpipe (708843) | more than 5 years ago | (#26163409)

when did it become ok to rely on the government to put up funds to save / create business? this is the opposite of lazaire faire (no i dont know how to spell that).

It became OK when economists looked down the track where the train that is called the U.S. Economy is heading and discovered a great big fucking hole called The Great Depression II.

Re:want $1bn from Govt? (1)

De Lemming (227104) | more than 5 years ago | (#26163451)

laissez-faire [wikipedia.org]

Re:want $1bn from Govt? (1)

GweeDo (127172) | more than 5 years ago | (#26163453)

Laissez-faire

Re:want $1bn from Govt? (3, Informative)

eln (21727) | more than 5 years ago | (#26163647)

Sorry to burst your bubble, but true Laissez-faire capitalism doesn't exist in the real world, and really hasn't since we stopped bartering as cavemen. Arguably, true Laissez-faire capitalism produces an unsustainable economy, as it will tend toward the creation of monopolies which will erect barriers to entry to keep competitors out.

It's generally well understood these days that at least some government intervention is required in order to sustain a healthy economy. Now we just argue endlessly over how much government intervention and what form it should take.

No surprise (1)

djupedal (584558) | more than 5 years ago | (#26163127)

>"...the lead in development is now held in Asia."

And Asia has the lead with no intention of looking back. Batteries of the kind mentioned here will follow on the heals of a steady stream of wind turbine imports shortly.

The US has been a bona fide service industry for years...get used to it already.

Re:No surprise (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26163243)

Where are cells made? Japan, China, and Canada. China is not leading in tech and quality. Advanced cells? I see lots of articles but no one has hit more than a few percent increse at a time.

Get used to it (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26163133)

You better get used to it. This is going to be the great give-it-away, we just need to raise taxes on rich people to cover it government.

Oh, and why are all those factories closing, what happened to all those jobs, why is everything so expensive, and why did all those rich people move out of the country? It couldn't be related, could it?

The 2009 Stimulus Package (4, Funny)

JBG667 (690404) | more than 5 years ago | (#26163143)

... batteries not included

why isn't this socialism ? (1)

rs232 (849320) | more than 5 years ago | (#26163157)

"a consortium of 14 U.S. technology companies will ask the Federal Govt for up to $1 billion"

Re:why isn't this socialism ? (1, Informative)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 5 years ago | (#26163237)

Because it is closer to fascism than socialism. Why do Americans have such trouble separating those two very different schools of thought?

Corporatism is pretty much exactly what this and all the bailout have been.

Re:why isn't this socialism ? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26163455)

Simple government matrix for the politically impaired:

Who owns the resources?|Who Allocates the resources?|Government type
Private individuals     Private individuals          Capitalism
Government              Government                   Communism
Private individuals     Government                   Fascism
Government              Private individuals          Socialism

Re:why isn't this socialism ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26163857)

You should be modded +9999999.

One question though. How is the fourth option physically possible? Could you come up with a for instance or a real world example? Thanks.

Re:why isn't this socialism ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26163481)

No. You are making an insulting generalization about "Americans", demonstrating nothing more than your ignorance of them. You also try to call government backed R+D funding fascism. First of all, that word has been completely bastardized and means different things to different people depending on context. Go ahead post some more about the US's fascist policies. We both know that you are a liar.

Re:why isn't this socialism ? (1, Funny)

canajin56 (660655) | more than 5 years ago | (#26163377)

It's only socialism when you tax people to the bone and use that money to fund social programs. If you use that money to fund corporate programs, it's corporatism, which is a fancy name for FREEDOM, you elitist commie pinko DEMOCRAT.

Environmentalism (4, Interesting)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 5 years ago | (#26163163)

I can assure you that one of the biggest reasons we don't build toxic batteries here in the US, is because of Environmental Regulations would make them prohibitively expensive. And China would steal the tech and make them cheaper, and without a care about environmental concerns.

We have effectively regulated the ability to produce anything away.

If I were a manufacturer, I wouldn't make anything in the US either. I wouldn't even consider it.

Re:Environmentalism (4, Insightful)

sexybomber (740588) | more than 5 years ago | (#26163331)

Yeah, but China's natural environment is, to quote Zero Wing, "on the way to destruction." If a country takes absolutely zero environmental precautions (like China is doing currently,) then that country is going to get fucked six ways from Sunday eventually.

Nature has a way of squaring any debt you might have with her.

Re:Environmentalism (3, Insightful)

DittoBox (978894) | more than 5 years ago | (#26163445)

Yes but the people in charge today will be dead when nature/Gaia/God-Almighty/FSM decides to smite them for abusive assholes.

It's their children—and quite possibly ours—that are getting shafted by it.

Re:Environmentalism (2)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | more than 5 years ago | (#26163509)

If I were a manufacturer, I wouldn't make anything in the US either. I wouldn't even consider it.

This is why environmental controls should be imposed on the chain of supply. Just because you are manufacturing something in someone else's backyard doesn't suddenly make it environmentally friendly. The chain of supply should ensure that there are no environmental issues from the point of manufacture to the point of use and then on to the point of disposal.

Environment? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26163169)

Maybe there's more factories over there because it's okay to dump toxic wastes into the environment. In turn this makes it cheaper to operate these types of plants. When China has allowed toxic pollution to kill or maim most of its residents, the jobs will come back for lack of a work force. Or, they'll go to the next country with a workforce that willing to put up with it.

Re:Environment? (5, Interesting)

L0stm4n (322418) | more than 5 years ago | (#26163205)

Except China has a metric assload of people. They could power the plants with people used as fuel and still have more than enough for cheap labor.

Re:Environment? (3, Funny)

Amazing Quantum Man (458715) | more than 5 years ago | (#26163395)

Which is bigger... a metric assload or an imperial assload?

Re:Environment? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26163655)

Who cares? The "English" assload used in the US dwarfs them both.

Re:Environment? (1)

Cowmonaut (989226) | more than 5 years ago | (#26163661)

You have it wrong. A crap ton is metric, an ass load is imperial. Imperial is larger, mostly because we Americans striving to be #1 in everything are #1 in obesity.

Imperial, naturally. (1)

Dr_Barnowl (709838) | more than 5 years ago | (#26163805)

.. since the USA uses Imperial measures and definitely has the biggest asses.

Re:Environment? (1)

snspdaarf (1314399) | more than 5 years ago | (#26163837)

Hell's bells, man, I'm still working out furlongs per fortnight.

Re:Environment? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26163573)

Wait. Do I take the red pill or the blue one?

Re:Environment? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26163741)

Soylent Green Biofuel!

Batteries for the US car industry? (2, Interesting)

Brad_McBad (1423863) | more than 5 years ago | (#26163217)

Who's certain that Li-ion batteries are going to be the way forward? Last time I checked, Hydrogen fuel cells were the way forward...

Re:Batteries for the US car industry? (1)

martin_henry (1032656) | more than 5 years ago | (#26163813)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Battery_EV_vs._Hydrogen_EV.png [wikipedia.org]

This image explains why hydrogen cells are not viable for any large scale deployment. Combine this with their extraordinary cost, and you have a big myth which car companies have used to bait us for years...

Universal batteries (2, Insightful)

haystor (102186) | more than 5 years ago | (#26163273)

This should carry the requirement that batteries be interchangeable.

EPA (1)

GottliebPins (1113707) | more than 5 years ago | (#26163281)

And as soon as the money is available to build this billion dollar battery factory the EPA will demand that 20 years of environmental studies be done to determine the safety of the batteries and what affect their production will have on the snail darter and fart bat and whatever endangered creature lives within a thousand miles of the proposed factory. Meanwhile the batteries will be pouring in from China and India and we won't have to actually worry about building the plant or outsourcing the jobs. We already outsourced all of our industry years ago. The earth is so much cleaner now that we don't make our own steel or other products. Thank goodness we don't have to breath the same air they breath and drink the same water they drink in China and India where all of our products are made. That environmental bubble we built over the US has really come in handy.

What's the problem...? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26163305)

" 'More than four dozen advanced battery factories are being built in China but none, currently, in the U.S.'"

So what?

If we want advanced batteries, we will buy them from China. That's why we need them built in
China.

You give the peasants half a handful of rice over there, and they toil for 23 hours a day in an atmosphere of nickel and cadmium. Then we just print a few more dollars and buy the batteries for use over here.

That's the advantage of being the top country in the world, and running the reserve currency. We can just suit ourselves what we take from the rest of the world. What's not to like...?

Battery = Phallos (0, Troll)

ZarathustraDK (1291688) | more than 5 years ago | (#26163329)

From the WSJ story: 'More than four dozen advanced battery factories are being built in China but none, currently, in the U.S.'"

We, chinese, have vevvy small penises. You amevicans, LARGE penises, but no batevvies to power them HAHAHAHA!

Communism (3, Interesting)

nightfire-unique (253895) | more than 5 years ago | (#26163427)

Can anyone quantify the difference(s) between communism, and capitalism in which the government hands out tax money, extracted at gunpoint, to various large corporations?

Is it just a question of degree (percentage points) or is there some other major difference?

YUO FAIL IT. (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26163443)

what we've known during this file BUWLA, Or BSD then Jordan Hubbard conflicts that least I won't

So much ore. (1)

Icegryphon (715550) | more than 5 years ago | (#26163517)

Nickel, and Cadmium, and Zinc, and Lithium, These are a few of my favorite things. Where are those loco tree huggers?

what about electro energy? (2, Informative)

jgilbert (29889) | more than 5 years ago | (#26163571)

apparently, they already have a plant in gainsville florida. although, it's currently not running for whatever reason related to funding.

Electro Energy Receives First Order for U.S. Produced 18650 Lithium-Ion Batteries [electroenergyinc.com]

maybe that's not what they're looking for.

But are they US companies building in China? (3, Insightful)

Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) | more than 5 years ago | (#26163589)

If so... no battery stimulus for you. And BTW.. they can fuck off and die.

why? (1)

curtix7 (1429475) | more than 5 years ago | (#26163597)

In a few years there won't be any US car companies left to make our cars, might as well let Toyota and Honda make the batteries that go in our cars too.

How About Paying the $1B to eeStor to get them.. (0)

Vortran (253538) | more than 5 years ago | (#26163635)

to put up or shut up already?

Seriously, if they do anything near what they say, the world is about to be changed. Couple the vaporware of eeStor (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EEStor) with the existing products of www.nanosolar.com, and bye-bye base load and bye-bye distributed power grids.

Since Zenn (www.zenncars.com) auto has the exclusive license on the eeStor technology for automobiles, look to them to obsolete fossil-based portable fuels as well.

Am I dreaming? Please tell me no.

Vortran out

Government Intervention (1)

mmustapic (1155729) | more than 5 years ago | (#26163663)

It's funny how free-market advocates call for no government intervention in the economy. It's ok for it to take risks and invest (with taxpayer money), just keep away from the rewards, those will remain private.

Capitalism? (4, Interesting)

sunderland56 (621843) | more than 5 years ago | (#26163749)

So:
  • in China, corporations build factories to make batteries, and profit from their investment.
  • in America, corporations whine and plead for the government to build factories for them.

Quick quiz: which is the capitalist country, and which is the communist one?

Better approach is battery X-Prize (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 5 years ago | (#26163867)

Instead of just handing a handful of companies a billion dollars to do more of the same, the better approach is to offer up some large sum (say 500 million) as an X-Prize for some advanced state of battery technology - such a thing gets a lot more people trying to reach the goal, and expending private capital for R&D. It gets money flowing just as well only gives groups outside the mainstream a shot to come up with something truly innovative.

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