The funding, which will be awarded through an application process, will go to projects which run the full spectrum of technologies, including hybrid electric systems, fleet efficiency, fuels technology, combustion research, and advanced materials. Within this spectrum, the DOE says its funding will focus 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 percent 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 reduction 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 passenger cars and commercial vehicles.
Advanced vehicle testing and evaluation: Conduct laboratory and field evaluation of advanced technology vehicles and related infrastructure, while developing new or modified test procedures.
Steven Chu, the Secretary of Energy, said: “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”
Applications for funding are due by February 28, 2011. The Department of Energy expects to announce its selections by next summer.