Saturday, July 17, 2010

Famous industrialists: Ford, Carnegie, Rockefeller ... Obama

Just one word: Batteries

Central planners in Washington think they know -- better than the industrialists -- which industries we should invest in.

They're spending billions now to make car batteries that we won't need until Asia can produce them far more cheaply than we can.

Excerpt from Obama pins hopes on an untested hero: the battery:
Standing at a podium in a muddy construction site, Obama celebrated the groundbreaking of an advanced car battery factory that the White House predicts will produce 300 permanent jobs. It was his fourth battery-related trip as president, and it came as the White House makes an aggressive push to tell what one senior official called "the battery story" — the tale of a small piece of technology that could affect daily life and spur jobs if properly nurtured. ...
But the administration's $2.4 billion investment in the development of batteries and other electric-car technology in the U.S. is an enormous bet on a product that has yet to gain broad commercial success. Major manufacturers have yet to sell electric cars in the U.S. Hybrids, though they have been around for a decade, represent less than 1 percent of the nation's roughly 250 million-vehicle fleet. 
"The battery story is highly questionable," said Menahem Anderman, the founder and chief executive of Total Battery Consulting. "Basically, there's really no proven market, neither electric vehicle nor plug-in hybrid electric vehicle — and there's really no battery company in the United States that has a verified product." 
Although U.S. battery makers could export their products, the global market is glutted, according to analysts. Anderman said global capacity to build car batteries in 2014 will be three times greater than demand that year.

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