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EPA Administrator Announces $95 Million in Recovery Act Funds to Unleash American Innovation and Create Jobs in Florida

Release Date: 08/05/2009
Contact Information: Davina Marraccini, (404) 562-8293, marraccini.davina@epa.gov

$95 Million will go to Saft America Inc. in Jacksonville, Fla. to manufacture battery technology for electric vehicles

Nationwide, President Obama announced $2.4 billion in recovery act funding for advanced battery and electric drive components manufacturing and electric drive vehicle deployment

(ATLANTA – Aug. 5, 2009) To accelerate the manufacturing and deployment of electric vehicles, batteries, and components here in America, and create tens of thousands of new jobs, President Obama today announced 48 new advanced battery and electric drive projects, in more than 20 states, receiving a total of $2.4 billion in funding under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Vice President Joe Biden and four members of the Cabinet, fanned out to communities across the country to share the historic announcement.

EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson traveled to Florida to announce a $95 million grant for Saft America, Inc. to construct a new plant in Jacksonville, Fla. on the site of the former Cecil Field military base. The new plant will manufacture lithium-ion cells, modules and battery packs for military, industrial, and agricultural vehicles. These projects, selected through a highly competitive process by the Department of Energy, will significantly boost U.S. manufacturing capacity for batteries and electric drive components as well as the deployment of electric drive vehicles, helping to establish American leadership in creating the next generation of advanced vehicles.

“President Obama has called for us to unleash American innovators, engineers, workers and entrepreneurs. We need to get into the global clean energy race – and today we’re firing the starting gun,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “This recovery funding will propel America into global leadership in innovative battery manufacturing, position our auto industry to reclaim the lead in producing the cars of the 21st century, and lay a new foundation for prosperity with new jobs in clean energy.”

Administrator Jackson appeared with representatives of Saft America, Progress Energy, and Ford Motor Company at the event today held in St. Petersburg, Fla. Progress Energy plans to deploy Ford electric vehicles to help provide service to its electric utility customers in St. Petersburg and Lake Mary.

Thomas Alcide, President of Saft America, Inc. said, “This investment in America will allow Saft to build a state of the art factory for lithium ion batteries which will bring high technology jobs to Jacksonville rapidly and make us competitive on the world markets.”

Additional funds nationwide will speed deployment of American-made Ford plug in electric vehicles.

“Ford is committed to the commercialization of plug-in hybrids and battery electric vehicles within five years and we are pleased the Obama administration is supporting these efforts,” said Sue Cischke, group vice president, Sustainability, Environment and Safety Engineering, Ford Motor Company. “This grant represents the recognition that the move toward electrification requires a partnership of vehicle providers, utilities and the government. Ford is uniquely positioned to work with its existing and new utility partners to develop the smart vehicle to grid integration that will be required for mass market acceptance of electric transportation.”

“Progress Energy is proud to partner with the EPA and with Ford on this innovative technology,” said Bill Johnson, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Progress Energy and co-chair of the Edison Electric Institute’s CEO Taskforce on Electric Transportation. “We already have one of the nation’s largest utility plug-in hybrid electric vehicle programs because we believe that plug-in hybrids and other alternative energy technologies are critical parts of our balanced solution strategy for addressing the challenges of growing customer demand, high fuel costs and global climate change. We are also investing in aggressive energy efficiency and state-of-the-art power plants as part of our balanced solution strategy to meeting these new energy realities.”

For a full list of award winners: http://www1.eere.energy.gov/recovery/pdfs/battery_awardee_list.pdf

For a map of their locations: http://www1.eere.energy.gov/recovery/pdfs/battery_awardee_map.pdf