The US Department of Energy rolled out $2.4 billion in stimulus grants on 5 August to develop next-generation technologies for electric cars.

The bulk of the awards, made to 48 projects in more than 20 states, will fund factories to make battery components. Smaller pots of money go to producing electric motors and other drive components, and to fund road-testing of plug-in hybrids and all-electric cars.

Established car makers and battery manufacturers took most of the money. Mark Platshon, a clean-technology analyst with VantagePoint Venture Partners in San Bruno, California, says he had hoped to see more handed to smaller, more innovative companies. "It's scaling up the existing guys with the existing technology in the existing way," he says.