Monday, June 23, 2008

McCain Proposes Federal "X-Prize" for Electric Battery Powertrain Vehicles

John McCain goes all Portland, Oregon on the campaign trail. (See BizJournal for more info or for the actual press release).

This seriously sounds like a left-coast proposal right along with the X-Prize for cars. The real question is why $300 million, why not other prizes, and what business does the Federal government have in offering a prize?

John McCain Will Propose A $300 Million Prize To Improve Battery Technology For Full Commercial Development Of Plug-In Hybrid And Full Electric Automobiles.
A $300 million prize should be awarded 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. That battery should deliver a power source at 30 percent of the current costs. At $300 million, the prize is one dollar for every man, woman and child in this country -- and a small price to pay for breaking our dependence on oil.

I guess as long as it doesn't benefit a sitting special interest group John McCain can throw out pork with a straight face like the rest of them.

Having participated in a few government Request for Proposal (RFP) processes in the past I really don't see this making real sense in practice. Though on the stump it obviously has some real positive ring to it.

What I do like about it is the trust that if given incentive the free market will provide the solutions. Of course, when the Feds offer the prize instead of the free market it sorta destroys the logic of this effect though.

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