DOE Announces $137 Million for Next-Gen Vehicle Initiatives


Today, as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration jointly adopt a second round of standards for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has announced up to $137 million in investments for two programs to develop next-generation technologies, including advanced batteries and electric drive systems.

Through one initiative, 35 new projects will receive $57 million to develop and deploy a wide array of new vehicle technologies, including advanced batteries and electric drive systems, to reduce carbon emissions and petroleum consumption in passenger cars and light trucks. Specifically, the Vehicle Technologies Office Program Wide Selections will aim to reduce the cost and improve the efficiency of plug-in electric, alternative fuel and conventional vehicles.

The other initiative, SuperTruck II, will fund four projects to develop and demonstrate cost-effective technologies that more than double the freight efficiency of Class 8 trucks.

“These investments will accelerate the development of innovative vehicle technologies that will save businesses and consumers money at the pump, cut carbon emissions and strengthen our economy,” says Acting Assistant Secretary David Friedman. “SuperTruck II builds on the successful SuperTruck I program, which has already led to more than 20 fuel-saving technologies that have reached the commercial market.”

In 2010, the DOE launched the SuperTruck initiative to improve heavy-duty truck freight efficiency by 50%. These trucks haul 80% of goods in the U.S. and use about 28 billion gallons of fuel per year, accounting for around 22% of total transportation energy usage – presenting a significant opportunity for carbon emissions reduction and energy savings for a key segment of our nation’s transportation sector. Three of the four competitively selected teams accepted the challenge and have exceeded the 50% goal. The fourth team is on track to exceed the target this year.

For SuperTruck II, the DOE has selected the following four SuperTruck II teams for projects of $20 million in federal funding, and each recipient will match that amount:

  • Cummins Inc. (Columbus, Ind.) will design and develop a new more efficient engine and advanced drivetrain and vehicle technologies;
  • Daimler Trucks North America LLC (Portland, Ore.) will develop and demonstrate a tractor-trailer combination using a suite of technologies, including active aerodynamics, cylinder deactivation, hybridization and the electrification of accessories;
  • Navistar Inc. (Lisle, Ill.) will design and develop a vehicle and powertrain with electrified engine components that can enable higher engine efficiency and a significantly more aerodynamically reengineered cab; and
  •  Volvo Technology of America LLC (Greensboro, N.C.) will develop and demonstrate a tractor-trailer combination with a lightweight cab that achieves the freight efficiency goal using alternative engine designs and a variety of system technologies.

The Department of the Army is contributing an additional $2.2 million through the Advanced Vehicle Power Technology Alliance to support projects specifically focused on advanced high-voltage electrolytes for batteries and advanced engine and powertrain technologies to improve vehicle fuel efficiency. Most of the projects will support the goals of EV Everywhere, a DOE program that aims to make plug-in electric vehicles as affordable and convenient as gasoline-powered vehicles by 2022.

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