BARRE, Vt. – A $9.1 million federal stimulus grant awarded to a Barre company to create electric car parts will save or create more than 100 Vermont jobs and help the U.S. become a leader in the clean energy economy, a White House official said Friday.

With the $9.1 million grant, SB Electronics Inc. is expanding, building a 53,000-square-foot plant to build capacitors for electric vehicles. Before it got the grant, the company planned to build its plant in China.

“Now we have this great American company that’s going to manufacture state-of-the-art electric drive components right here in America,” said Jessica Maher, a staff member of the White House’s Council on Environmental Quality, who toured the Barre company on Friday with Gov. Jim Douglas.

The plant, which is scheduled to open for production in January, will have the capacity to build components for 100,000 vehicles a year by 2012. Manufacturing is already under way at the company’s current facility, which produces capacitors for about 1,000 vehicles a month, including trucks and buses in China and early-stage electric vehicles in the United States, said president and CEO Ed Sawyer.

Sawyer expects many electric vehicles to be on the road before the end of the year using the company’s technology.

“That’s what’s really essential in making sure the jobs that we create here aren’t temporary short-term jobs but are long-term, sustainable manufacturing jobs,” he said.

SB, like other recipients of the $2.4 billion in stimulus grants to develop next-generation electric vehicles and batteries, matched the funding, half with state money and other investments.

Before the Recovery Act, said Maher, “there were no domestic factories doing high-volume manufacturing of batteries for electric vehicles.”

White House officials traveled to other sites around the country this week to promote its work to develop electric cars. President Obama stopped Thursday in Holland, Mich., for the groundbreaking of a factory that is expected to manufacture lithium ion cells and employ about 450 people by 2013.