Tom Lee points out the problem with McCain's $300 million prize for a better battery:

...if someone were to invent a better [battery] they'd already be poised to make a huge amount of money through its commercialization.

McCain really doesn't get market economics, does he? As Jonathan Rauch documents in the current Atlantic, the search for such a battery is already underway. GM has spent a fortune developing the Volt, a plug-in car dependent on the sort of battery McCain wants incentivized. And it will be here sooner rather than later: 

My own feeling, just a reporter's guess, is that battery glitches have reduced the odds of GM's having the Volt in showrooms by late 2010, but advances in the underlying technology have increased the odds of its producing the Volt early in the decade. In other words, delay on the order of months is looking more likely, but delay on the order of years is looking less likely.

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