300 Million Prize for Better Battery

John McCain has proposed a 300 million dollar prize for a better battery.  Although I certainly am in favor of a significant increase in funding for batteries, I don’t understand why this is a prize.  Why not just invest 300 million in R&D grants for better batteries?

Is it really a “prize”?  So one company wins and everyone else loses?  The government can be a powerful force for R&D.  Energy, healthcare, food production, economy and even art are things the government can improve simply by providing grants to enterprising companies and individuals who can make a difference.

It’s a great thing to invest in, but we need to invest MORE.  And we need to do it in a more diverse way.  We need to build geo-thermal, wind, solar and every conceivable way to get off of gasoline.  The encouraging thing is that if McCain is for it, then maybe there is a window of opportunity where both parties can agree and move the ball forward.

Whatya think?