A joint effort between the energy departments of the United States and Sweden, through the Argonne National Laboratory in Chicago and the Lindholmen Science Park in Gothenburg, will see the two countries work together under a $37 million program to develop new plug-in hybrid technology. Swedish carmaker Volvo will be providing some of the base technology in the form of a concept car.

Initially the project will focus on extending the range and practicality of plug-in hybrid vehicles, reports Sweden's Auto Motor and Sport. Making vehicles that rely more heavily on the electrical grid, which is powered by more efficient and cleaner power sources than the average automobile, mile-for-mile, is in America's environmental and national interest, as oil prices climb and global warming concern rises as well.

The cooperative project may seem a bit of an odd-couple pairing, but the relationship makes a lot of sense. The U.S. is Sweden's largest export car market, and also the country's largest investor nation. The co-development of plug-in hybrid technology will help Sweden sell more cars in the U.S., and the U.S. needs all the oil-dependency-reducing technology it can get.