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Can Detroit go green?

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It’s too early to tell whether Michigan-backed firms will be the front-runners in electric-vehicle work, says David Cole, chairman of the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor, Mich.

Despite getting $1.4 billion in federal stimulus grants in August for advanced battery and electric-vehicle work, the state is locked in a global technology race. Electric-vehicle work for the Department of Energy will be performed in nearly 30 states, with Indiana and Missouri receiving some of the most money after Michigan. Southeast Asian companies also have been developing lithium-ion battery technology for years, such as LG Chem and Korea-based Kokam Company, which is partnering with Dow Chemical Company in Midland, Mich., to do federal electric-vehicle work.

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