Trust me, his announcement today is pure political theatre.

Harsh? You may think, but what he’s proposing a prize for is already in the pipeline of every major auto manufacturer and numerous green tech startups. In other words, there’s NO reason to incent superior battery technology because it’s already being widely developed.

The presumed Republican nominee is proposing a $300 million government prize to whoever can develop an automobile battery that far surpasses existing technology. The bounty would equate to $1 for every man, woman and child in the country, “a small price to pay for helping to break the back of our oil dependency,” McCain said in remarks prepared for delivery Monday at Fresno State University in California.

McCain said such a device should deliver power at 30 percent of current costs and have “the size, capacity, cost and power to leapfrog the commercially available plug-in hybrids or electric cars.”

Also, why is he giving away tax breaks to car companies?

In addition, a so-called Clean Car Challenge would provide U.S. automakers with a $5,000 tax credit for every zero-carbon emissions car they develop and sell.

As anyway who reads this blog is well aware, I’m all for creating incentives for innovation, but this isn’t the right way to go about it. Tax breaks should go to people who buy these cars, not to the companies who make them. That’s a defacto subsidy for something these companies should be doing anyway, and it’s much more likely to benefit them in the long run if the government can give consumers more reasons to buy these new green autos…which in turn will push the auto industry to make more of them.

More as it develops…

Science/Environment McCain's $300 Million Energy Stunt