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Milwaukee firm gets almost $300 million to make batteries for hybrid vehicles

Johnson Controls of suburban Milwaukee is getting almost $300 million in the federal stimulus to make batteries for hybrid vehicles at a plant in Michigan.

It's part of a $2.4 billion effort announced Wednesday to create the batteries, which are said to be the biggest factor to make plug-in electric cars a reality.

Forty-eight companies received grants, and Johnson Controls got the biggest one.

It plans to convert a factory in Holland Michigan to make battery packs and lithium-ion battery cells.

Johnson vice president Kim Metcalf-Kupres says part of the funding will come to Wisconsin for research and development.

The overall grant includes $1 billion for Michigan, to create a manufacturing base for the new batteries.

In a speech in Detroit, Vice President Joe Biden said the grants would help U.S. companies make battery and electric engine components which are now made overseas.

Biden said America needs to get ahead of the curve, or it will be left behind.