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With assistance from the US Department of Energy, a research group, headed by Ford, Chrysler and General Motors, will launch an initiative aimed at speeding the development of next-generation battery technologies for hybrids and electric vehicles.

The US Advanced Battery Consortium will use the $12.5 million provided by the DoE annually, as well as matching private funds, to explore efficient and cost-effective technologies for energy storage in vehicles. The consortium is part of the US Council for Automotive Research, aka USCAR, and is a partnership between Chrysler, Ford and General Motors, or the Detroit 3 as they're commonly referred to.

This initiative will last for some five years and funding is subject to Congress continually approving the program based on annual progress made.  If progress is apparent, then USCAR will continue to receive $12.5 million annually from the DoE and will have to match those funds with private contributions.

The DoE released this statement:

"By investing in these cutting-edge battery technologies, the Energy Department is helping to cut America's oil imports and provide American families and businesses with more transportation options."