This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

April 11, 2007

DOE to Provide up to $14 Million for Plug-In Hybrid Battery Research

DOE announced on April 5th that it will provide up to $14 million of a $28 million cost-shared solicitation for plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) battery development. The U.S. Advanced Battery Consortium (USABC) has issued the call for proposals. DOE and USABC aim to improve battery performance so vehicles can drive up to 40 miles on electricity before recharging, or the range of most daily roundtrip commutes. The research will seek to identify battery technologies that have the potential to be commercialized and quickly brought to market, in addition to meeting USABC's criteria for performance, weight, life-cycle, and cost.

DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy's FreedomCAR and Vehicle Technologies Program is working with industry to bring PHEVs to market and advance the President's Twenty in Ten plan, which aims to reduce gasoline usage 20 percent by 2017. USABC is the industry arm of the partnership, and as a consortium of the U.S. Council for Automotive Research, supports collaborative research among DaimlerChrysler Corporation, Ford Motor Company, and General Motors Corporation to develop electrochemical energy storage technologies that support the commercialization of fuel cell, hybrid, and electric vehicles. The deadline for submission is May 31, 2007. See the DOE press release, the USABC's request for proposals, and DOE's FreedomCAR and Vehicle Technologies Program Web site.

While plug-in hybrid vehicles significantly lessen our dependence on petroleum fuels by drawing power from our homes, they can also work the other way around, providing power back to our homes. According to the Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), using our cars as a power source could help avoid blackouts on extremely hot days. The approach, called "Vehicle-to-Grid" technology, was demonstrated by PG&E on April 9th using a Toyota Prius that was converted into a plug-in hybrid with an add-on lithium-ion battery pack. During the demonstration, the vehicle's power energized several lights and appliances. See the PG&E press release.