Time for Cooperation in Detroit (Rep Ron Klein)

At Friday’s hearing of the House Financial Services Committee, I asked the executives of Detroit’s Big Three automakers a simple question: Would you be willing to transfer your research and technology on electric cars and hybrids to a joint Electric Car Institute?  Why not have the best scientists and business entrepreneurs working under one roof in a Manhattan-project-like effort to speed ahead to the next generation of technology and innovation?

I am convinced that the best and most innovative scientists and business entrepreneurs in the world are right here in the United States of America. Putting all of their heads together in one place is a common sense solution which will take advantage of economies of scale and lead to a quantum leap forward in the electric car technology and product development.

In response to these questions, the CEOs of General Motors, Ford and Chrysler agreed to collaborate across company lines on the essential, cutting-edge research and development that will keep the industry alive in these difficult economic times. They acknowledged that this idea would be a surefire way to improve competitiveness and ultimately secure their long-term profitability and success.

I hope that the consideration of my idea at today's hearing will be a step toward saving the American auto industry. I look forward to following up with legislative action in the coming months to make sure our auto executives stick by their commitment to work together.