Feds Fund Slew of ‘Community-Based’ Alt-Fuel Projects

The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Vehicle Technologies Office is funding $13.4 million in support of five new cost-shared, community-based projects focused on energy-efficient mobility systems. This includes connected and autonomous vehicles, as well as alternative fuel vehicles and infrastructure, including natural gas, propane, biofuels, hydrogen and electricity.

The following projects will serve as what the DOE calls “living labs,” testing new ideas, collecting data, and informing research on energy-efficient transportation technologies and systems:

  • Pecan Street Inc. in Austin, Texas, will receive $1 million to pilot last-mile electric bus services. The project includes a feasibility assessment of new technologies such as autonomous and semi-autonomous vehicles and app-driven re-routing.
  • The Seattle Department of Transportation will receive $1.9 million to accelerate the use of electric vehicles in shared mobility applications in four major U.S. markets, as well as establish best practices for all U.S. metro regions.
  • Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y., will receive $2 million to evaluate changes in freight demand patterns that reduce energy use, incorporate energy-efficient technologies and practices into freight logistics, and publish lessons learned.

Two additional alternative fuel community partner projects across the Southeast and Midwest regions will bring together over 20 partners including communities, businesses, fleets and Clean Cities coalitions:

  • Atlanta’s Center for Transportation and the Environment and its partners will receive $4.6 million to accelerate the deployment of alternative fuel vehicles and infrastructure throughout the southeastern U.S.
  • Kansas City, Mo.-based Metropolitan Energy Center Inc. and its partners will receive $3.8 million to accelerate the deployment of alternative fuel vehicles, as well as supporting infrastructure, through community-based partnerships throughout Missouri, Kansas and Colorado.

The DOE calls the funding an “investment in highly innovative, highly leveraged and scalable projects that will provide real-world experience and generate knowledge and lessons learned to help improve our nation’s energy security, support energy independence, improve transportation efficiency, and strengthen U.S. economic competitiveness.”

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