I just caught a story titled “McCain call for $300 million prize for car battery”. The prize is offered “for the development of a battery package that has the size, capacity, cost and power to leapfrog the commercially available plug-in hybrids or electric cars.” There’s a part of this that I think is great, regular reader know I am excited about solar power and the prospects for a 21st century electric car. I was encouraged to hear McCain interviewed on CNBC and state that the goal should be to create an electric car that combined a charged range of 240 miles along with a plug in fast recharge capability. If nothing else, this shows he ‘gets it’ and knows what the goal is.
Now, reading that he’d like to be able to offer this challenge, it appears at first blush to be a ‘put your money where your mouth is’ approach. I think the intention is good, but the number may not be so high to get any attention. We currently have the X Prize, a series of prizes that include one for this very goal, and with a $10 million prize.
I think that the $300M may be better spent promoting Solar Power in general along with storage technologies that may overlap the automotive use. Even if solar cells were free, there would be an issue of storage, and we have a crisis that goes beyond just the current high oil prices. Solar can solve multiple issues, but storage is key, without it, we are missing a vital link in the enegy chain.