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USA: Energy Dept. spends $43 million on researching better electric car batteries

The Department of Energy continues to make good on President Barack Obama’s promise to double down on electric car research and development.

The DOE announced on Thursday that it is giving out $43 million for 19 new research projects aimed at improving energy storage technology, such as batteries for electric cars and storage for electric grids, and for the U.S. military in remote bases around the world.

The research would directly benefit cars like the Nissan Leaf and the subsidy-backed Chevrolet Volt, whose battery literally flamed out late last year, sparking a congressional inquiry into its safety.

The 2013 Volt model’s battery-only range has been increased three miles to 38 miles, in part because Chevrolet boosted the storage capacity by .5 kilowatts hour. The DOE research would seek to improve on existing storage capacity.

“These innovations will help reduce costs and improve the performance of next generation storage technologies, which could be applied in both plug-in electric and hybrid-electric vehicles,” the department announced.
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