The American Recovery of Reinvestment Act (ARRA) has provided billions of dollars in funding to a variety of companies and research projects that are dedicated to reducing the nation’s dependence on foreign oil. One of these companies is Navistar, a company that builds all-electric delivery trucks. Yesterday, the first completed Recovery Act-funded electric vehicle was unveiled at Navistar’s Wakarusa plant in Indiana.

Navistar plans for this truck to be the first of many. With the funding received through the Recovery Act, Navistar expects to manufacturer about 400 vehicles. This process will eventually provide jobs for 60 Americans in a part of the country that has been hit hard by the economic downturn and the near collapse of the American auto industry.

As is the case with all Recovery Act-funded projects, the economic benefits are far-reaching. In addition to boosting employment at Navistar, suppliers for the company have also benefited from the cash infusion. For example, A123 Systems in Michigan provides the battery for the Navistar electric delivery truck. This has created jobs in Michigan, another area that is facing a slow economic recovery.

Overall, the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act has awarded $2.4 billion in funding to 40 projects that focus on electric vehicles. These awards will help grow the advanced vehicle battery industry in the United States significantly over the next two years. In 2009, there were only two advanced vehicle battery factories in the nation, and by the end of 2012 this number is expected to jump to 30. These batteries won’t just be installed in Navistar-made electric delivery trucks; they will also be used in commercial and consumer hybrid and electric vehicles across the nation and around the world.