US Tech Firms Get Together on Car Battery

14 companies want $1B from feds to help catch Asian rivals
By Jim O'Neill,  Newser User
Posted Dec 18, 2008 7:52 AM CST
The Dodge Zeo electric-only sport wagon concept car is displayed at the Los Angeles Auto Show Friday, Nov. 21, 2008.   (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
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(Newser) – Fourteen US technology companies are joining forces to speed development of electric car batteries, asking for $1 billion in federal aid to help catch up with Asian firms that have a long lead, reports the Wall Street Journal. Electric vehicles are now considered so important to help wean the US from foreign oil that some are calling it a national security issue.

The pitch echoes a computer-chip industry effort 20 years ago that helped the US regain its edge in chip manufacturing. The advanced battery field is dominated by Asian companies, such as Panasonic, even though the technology was developed in the US, an energy-storage consultant tells the Journal—US companies opted out of production because of anticipated low returns.