As part of the Obama Administration’s efforts to reduce dependence on foreign oil and transition to a clean energy economy, the Energy Department announced more than $55 million for 31 new projects to accelerate research and development of critical vehicle technologies that will improve fuel efficiency and reduce costs.
These new projects are aimed at meeting the goals and objectives of the President’s EV Everywhere Grand Challenge, as well as improvements in other vehicle technologies such as powertrains, fuel, tires and auxiliary systems.
Launched in 2012, the EV Everywhere Grand Challenge seeks to make the U.S. automotive industry the first to produce plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) that are as affordable and convenient as today’s gasoline-powered vehicles by 2022. In just the last several years, significant cost reductions and improvements in vehicle performance have had a dramatic impact on the U.S. automotive market. PEV sales continue to grow – sales in the first six months of 2014 were over 30 percent higher than the same period in 2013 – and the cost of battery technology has come down by over 60 percent since 2009.
Through the Advanced Vehicle Power Technology Alliance with the Energy Department, the Department of the Army is contributing an additional $3.7 million in co-funding to support projects focused on beyond lithium ion battery technologies and reducing friction and wear in the powertrain. The Army will also test and evaluate fuel-efficient tires resulting from projects at its facilities in Warren, Michigan.
The selections are under two major topic areas:
Critical Technologies to meet the EV Everywhere Grand Challenge
Nineteen projects are aimed at reducing the cost and improving the performance of key PEV components. This includes improving “beyond lithium ion technologies” that use higher energy storage materials, and developing and commercializing wide bandgap (WBG) semiconductors that offer significant advances in performance while reducing the price of vehicle power electronics. Other projects focus on advancing lightweight materials research to help electric vehicles increase their range and reduce battery needs, and developing advanced climate control technologies that reduce energy used for passenger comfort and increase the drive range of plug-in electric vehicles.
Fuel Efficiency Improvements in Passenger Vehicles and Commercial Trucks
Twelve projects are aimed at improvements including developing and demonstrating dual-fuel/bi-fuel technologies to reduce petroleum usage, accelerating growth in high-efficiency, cost-competitive engine and powertrain systems for light-duty vehicles, and accelerating the introduction of advanced lubricants and coatings to increase the efficiency of vehicles on the road today as well as future vehicles.
Read the full list of awardees.