The U.S. Department of Energy is looking to dish out $184 million in grants over the next three to five years for advanced vehicle research and development projects. The grants will be made available to automotive companies, research laboratories, and universities. Funding will be awarded to worthy projects that have a focus on at least one of the the eight approaches listed below to improve fuel efficiency:
  • Advanced fuels and lubricants that can provide more efficient performance in advanced combustion engines.
  • Design, prototyping and testing of a vehicle that is 50 percent lighter than the average passenger vehicle, using lightweight materials.
  • Advanced battery cells and design technology for advanced batteries.
  • Advanced power electronics and electric motor technology.
  • Thermoelectric technologies that turn engine heat waste into electricity.
  • Development of tire and driver feedback technologies that improve fuel efficiency for fleet vehicles.
  • Development of advanced vehicle testing and evaluation procedures.
U.S. Energy Secretary Stephen Chu outlined the overall purpose of the DOE advanced vehicle grants:
These awards will help ensure America leads the world in the development of advanced vehicle technologies that support cost-competitive, convenient, and comfortable fuel-efficient vehicles. Investments in the next generation of vehicle technologies are laying the groundwork for a sustainable transportation sector in America that strengthens our economy and improves our economic competitiveness.
Applications for DOE funds must be submitted prior to February 28th, 2011. The first recipients should be announced next summer.

[Source: U.S. Department of Energy]


PRESS RELEASE

DOE Announces up to $184 Million for Advanced Vehicle Research and Development


December 16, 2010

U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu announced today the Department is accepting applications for up to $184 million over three to five years to accelerate the development and deployment of new efficient vehicle technologies that will reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil, save drivers money, and limit carbon pollution. Projects will span the broad spectrum of technology approaches, including advanced materials, combustion research, hybrid electric systems, fleet efficiency, and fuels technology.

"These awards will help ensure America leads the world in the development of advanced vehicle technologies that support cost-competitive, convenient, and comfortable fuel-efficient vehicles," said Secretary Chu. "Investments in the next generation of vehicle technologies are laying the groundwork for a sustainable transportation sector in America that strengthens our economy and improves our economic competitiveness."

The Funding Opportunity Announcement addresses the development of key technologies required to achieve large scale adoption of advanced vehicles such as plug-in electric hybrids (PHEVs) and electric vehicles (EVs). Although the first of a new generation of electric drive vehicles is now entering the market, advancements in batteries, power electronics, and lightweight materials are required to be fully competitive. In addition, extremely efficient vehicles utilizing improved combustion technologies, fuels, and waste heat recovery offer significant near-term improvements to conventional vehicles.

The Department is seeking applications from industry, laboratory, and university teams to address our transportation challenges. The solicitation seeks to fill gaps in the existing program through the development of enabling technologies that will remove barriers and create new paradigms in vehicle design.

The Funding Opportunity Announcement released today focuses on eight approaches to improving vehicle efficiency:

* Advanced fuels and lubricants: Improve today's vehicle fuels and lubricants to enable optimal performance of advanced combustion engines.
* Light weighting materials: Accelerate commercial availability of lighter weight vehicles using advanced materials like magnesium and carbon fiber to dramatically reduce vehicle weight.
* Multi-material light weight material prototype: Design, build, and test a light-weight vehicle that is 50% lighter than a baseline light-duty vehicle.
* Advanced cells and design technology for electric drive batteries: Develop high energy or high power electric vehicles that significantly exceed existing state-of-the-art technologies in terms of performance and/or cost.
* Advanced power electronics and electric motor technology: Develop the next generation of power inverters and electric motors to meet demanding performance targets while achieving significant reductions in cost.
* Thermoelectric and enabling engine technology: Improve the efficiency of thermoelectric devices to convert engine waste heat to electricity. Develop early-stage enabling engine technologies to improve fuel efficiency and reduce emissions.
* Fleet efficiency: Develop and demonstrate fuel efficient tire and driver feedback technologies that will positively affect efficiency of the fleet of passenger cars and commercial vehicles.
* Advanced vehicle testing and evaluation: Conduct laboratory and field evaluations of advanced technology vehicles and related infrastructure, while developing new or modified test procedures.

Applications for the solicitation are due February 28, 2011. Applications must be submitted through Grants.gov to be considered for awards. The Department of Energy expects to announce the selections by summer 2011

For more information on the Vehicle Technologies Program, please visit the program's Web site.