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

June 17, 2009

DOE Offers $240 Million for Fuel-Efficient Cars and Trucks

Photo of a large truck tractor in a wind tunnel, with a stream of mist flowing over the hood and windshield and past the side view mirror.

In 2006, DOE and four leading U.S. manufacturers of tractor-trailers concluded a two-year study of methods to improve the aerodynamics of trucks, including the wind tunnel testing shown here. DOE now aims to integrate these and other fuel-saving technologies into trucks that use one-third less fuel per ton of freight delivered.
Credit: Freightliner LLC

DOE released a $240 million solicitation on June 9 for the development of high-efficiency trucks and passenger vehicles. The funding includes approximately $110 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and $130 million from DOE annual appropriations, and each project will receive funding from only one of the two sources. The solicitation is divided into two areas: system-level technologies for efficient Class 8 trucks and advanced technology powertrains for passenger vehicles. Class 8 trucks are defined as heavy-duty commercial trucks weighing over 33,000 pounds, including tractor-trailers, and the goal is to increase vehicle freight efficiency by 50%. Awardees will develop and test vehicles with advanced engines and other fuel-saving features, such as improved aerodynamics, reduced vehicle weight, lower rolling resistance, hybrid technologies, and idle reduction technologies. If the tests are successful, they could lead to a full-scale demonstration vehicle within the next three to five years.

The second part of the solicitation aims to accelerate the development of efficient engine and powertrain systems for passenger vehicles. For gasoline-fueled vehicles, these awardees will aim to achieve at least a 25% improvement in fuel economy compared to today's typical vehicles, while diesel-fueled vehicles will target at least a 40% improvement. The new powertrains can include improvements to in-cylinder combustion, engine mechanics, waste heat recovery, friction reduction, emission control, fuels, and materials, and they can also include electrification technologies and reduced ancillary loads. Awardees will develop the engines and test them on a dynamometer, which simulates typical loads on the engine. Engines that perform well during dynamometer testing could be integrated into a test vehicle within the next three to five years. Applications are due on September 9. See the DOE press release and the solicitation on grants.gov, or search the public opportunities on FedConnect for reference number DE-FOA-0000079.

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