John McCain proposes $300 million prize for next-generation car battery

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Fresno (CA) – Senator John McCain, the presumptive Republican presidential candidate, has proposed a $300 million prize for anyone who can build an ultra-efficient car battery.  At a town hall meeting at Fresno State University, McCain said the new battery would reduce the nation’s dependence on foreign oil.  He also proposed giving tax credits to buyers of efficient vehicles.

The battery challenge aims to foster competition to create a car battery that can ‘leapfrog’ current plug-in hybrid or electric vehicle batteries in size, capacity and cost.  It must deliver the same or more power at 30 percent of current costs.  Many scientists and engineers believe lackluster improvements in battery technology are the main obstacle to current crop of hybrid and electric vehicles.

While $300 million seems like a lot of money to give out, McCain assures the public that the tax money spent on the prize is well worth it.  “This is one dollar for every man, woman and child in the U.S. -- a small price to pay for helping to break the back of our oil dependency,” McCain said.

McCain also proposed a ‘Clean Car Challenge’ which would award up to $5000 in tax credits to buyers of no emission vehicles.  This tax credit plan would in McCain’s words, replace a ‘hodgepodge of inventives’, that are currently offered by federal and state governments.

Finally, McCain said he advocated eliminating tax subsidies of corn-based ethanol fuel in the United States.  In a recent web commercial, he advocated opening up off-shore drilling, nuclear power and clean coal technology.