The June jobs report was shockingly abysmal. Only 18,000 jobs were created last month and the unemployment rate ticked up from 9.1% in May to 9.2%. (See: June Jobs Report: the Ugly, the Ugly, and the Ugly)
Jennifer Granholm, former Governor of Michigan and now a senior adviser to the Pew Clean Energy Campaign, has a solution: Invest in clean energy solutions like the electric car, which in turn will create thousands of auto and advanced battery manufacturing jobs.
Today, electric cars like the Chevy Volt costs thousands of dollars more than a regular gas-powered vehicle, making them uneconomical for many Americans -- even with a tax credit of up to $7,500. All that could change by 2017 according to Granholm, who cites a projection by Energy Secretary Steven Chu. But price parity and new jobs are all contingent on more investments and subsidies to help jump-start technological advancements in the lithium ion batteries -- the batteries that go into electric cars.
"Remember the cost of computers? Remember the cost of cell phones before they were able to benefit from technological advances and commercialize [and] take those technologies to scale?," she asks Aaron in the accompanying interview. "Already the battery costs have dropped 50% since they were introduced a few years ago…[and] Michigan is expected to create 63,000 [related] jobs by the year 2020."
During his Twitter town hall on Wednesday, President Barack Obama echoed Granholm's enthusiasm for clean energy investments and highlighted the great strides the country has already made in the battery sector.
"When I came into office, advanced batteries, which are used, for example, in electric cars, only accounted for 2 percent of the world market in advanced batteries. And we have quintupled our market share, or even gone further, just over the last two years," he said. "And we're projecting that we can get to 30 to 40 percent of that market. That's creating jobs all across the Midwest, all across America."
For Granholm, supporting the electric car industry is not only a win for American jobs, it is a win for the country's national security and energy independence.
Watch the interview and tell us what you think!
- electric car
- lithium ion batteries
- President Barack Obama
- Jennifer Granholm
- Energy Secretary Steven Chu
- cell phones
- national security