Biden administration awards $2.8 billion in grants for electric vehicle battery manufacturing

Workers marry the body structure to the battery pack and front and rear subframes while assembling electric vehicles at Lucid Motors’ plant in Casa Grande, Ariz., Sept. 28, 2021.

Caitlin O’Hara | Reuters

President Joe Biden announced $2.8 billion in grants to 20 electric vehicle battery manufacturing companies in the United States.

The grants will be awarded to companies in 12 states through the Department of Energy with funds from the bipartisan Infrastructure Act. Funds will go towards manufacturing battery-grade materials, including lithium, graphite and nickel.

Increasing manufacturing capacity in the United States was a priority for the Biden administration. Collectively, the bipartisan Infrastructure Act, the CHIPS and Science Act, and the Inflation Reduction Act allocated more than $135 billion to electric vehicle manufacturing. The President has directed the industry to make half of all new vehicles produced in the United States EVs by 2030.

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“The Infrastructure Act also invests in people and companies that will shape our future, like electric vehicles and the advanced batteries that will power those vehicles,” Biden said. “This is critical as the future of vehicles is electric, but the battery is an important part of this electric vehicle and currently 75% of this battery manufacturing is done in China.”

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Competition with China is a key incentive for the push. China controls almost half of the world’s production for some of the materials needed to make these batteries, Biden said.

“China’s battery technology is no more innovative than anyone else’s,” Biden said. “In fact, our national labs, our research universities, and our automakers have spearheaded the development of this technology here in America, but by undercutting US manufacturers with their unfair subsidies and trade practices, China captured a significant chunk of the market.”

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Biden said the United States is experiencing “one of the most significant economic upheavals since the Industrial Revolution.”

In addition to the grants, Biden announced the creation of a new American battery manufacturing initiative that will enable a comprehensive government approach to manufacturing batteries for applications ranging from electric vehicles and homes to defense, the White House said. This move will continue the push to increase American competitiveness by making more batteries and critical battery components in the United States

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