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

January 05, 2011

DOE Makes $184 Million Available for Advanced Vehicle Research

Photo of a car with a plug trailing out of it.

Plug-in hybrids such as the 2011 Chevy Volt could benefit from a new DOE initiative.
Credit: GM

DOE announced on December 16 that it is accepting applications for up to $184 million over three to five years to accelerate the development and deployment of new efficient vehicle technologies. Funded projects will include advanced materials, combustion research, hybrid electric systems, fleet efficiency, and fuels technology.

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 and electric vehicles. Even as a new generation of electric drive vehicles enters the market—with the Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf delivered to the first U.S. customers in December—advancements in batteries, power electronics, and lightweight materials are needed. In addition, extremely efficient vehicles employing improved combustion technologies, fuels, and waste heat recovery offer significant near-term improvements to conventional vehicles. Industry, laboratory, and university teams are expected to address the challenges.

The solicitation seeks to fill gaps in the existing program through the development of enabling technologies that will remove barriers and create new approaches in vehicle design. The new funding announcement focuses on eight approaches for improved vehicles: finding advanced fuels and lubricants to improve advanced combustion engines; making lightweight materials such as magnesium and carbon fiber more available; building a prototype of a vehicle that weighs half of current lightweight vehicles; developing advanced cells for electric drive batteries; create the next generation of power inverters and electric motors; improving the efficiency of thermoelectric devices to convert engines' waste heat to electricity; demonstrating fuel efficient tire and driver feedback technologies; and conducting laboratory and field evaluations of advanced technology vehicles. Applications for the solicitation are due February 28, 2011. Applications must be submitted through and FedConnect. DOE will announce the selections by summer 2011. See the DOE press release and the Vehicle Technologies Program Web site.