Better lithium ion batteries for electric vehicles

Stabenow, D-Mich., announced the Battery Innovation Act Friday at Michigan State University, saying it is intended to encourage growth of the advanced-battery industry, the Detroit News reported.

Stabenow said the comprehensive bill addresses a number of factors related to the battery manufacturing process, including obtaining the rare earth elements needed to make advanced batteries for electric vehicles, the research and development needed to design them, and the manufacturing itself.

"This new innovation initiative will create the conditions to ensure high-tech Michigan companies can expand so we remain the advanced-battery capital of the world," she said. "We cannot afford to lose the race to build the clean energy technologies of the future to countries like China."

In 2009, Stabenow successfully pushed legislation that created more than $2 billion in grants to advanced-battery developers and manufacturers, with more than half of the funding going to companies based or operating in Michigan, the News reported.