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April 10, 2019 9:15 AM, EDT

$59 Million in Vehicle Technologies Research Funding Available, Energy Department Announces

Electric truck charging Topics for funding include infrastructure for alternative fuel vehicles, such as electric trucks. (Orange EV)

Firms seeking additional funding for batteries and electric systems aimed at advancing vehicle technologies may look to the federal government for backing.

The Energy Department on April 3 announced that about $59 million is available for stakeholders seeking to develop projects that prioritize energy-efficient mobility systems, improve materials for powertrains, co-optimize advanced engine and fuel technologies, and create new mobility options.

The funding availability stems from the agency’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.

“Every day, American consumers and businesses rely on transportation for jobs, schools and commerce,” said the department’s Under Secretary Mark Menezes. “Through this funding opportunity, we are looking to partner with the best and brightest minds across the country to drive early-stage [research and development] for vehicle technologies forward, so that all Americans can access more affordable, secure and reliable transportation.”

Mark Menezes

Menezes

Specifically, the department is making available up to $17.5 million for projects that focus on alternative fuel vehicles, as well as infrastructure for resiliency and emergency preparedness and mobility services in rural regions; up to $15 million for projects that prove to be capable of developing high-efficiency powertrains for the overall goal of improving vehicle fuel economy; up to $12.5 million for projects focusing on developing solid electrolytes; up to $7 million for projects focusing on automation and connectivity capable of improving efficiency for travelers, vehicles and infrastructure; up to $3.5 million for projects focusing on electric drive systems; and up to $3.5 million for projects focusing on multimode combustion simulation models.

Relevant information pertaining to the funding availability is on the department’s website.

The department’s focus on efficiency and advanced technologies over the years has included the trucking industry, specifically through the SuperTruck initiative.

Nearly a decade ago, the department launched SuperTruck, designed to improve heavy-duty truck freight efficiency by 50%. Trucks offer an opportunity for carbon emissions reduction, as well as savings in energy usage, according to the department.

SuperTruck paved the way for SuperTruck II, a 2016 initiative to develop cost-effective technologies capable of more than doubling the freight efficiency of Class 8 trucks. SuperTruck II participants include Cummins Inc., Daimler Trucks North America, Navistar Inc. and Volvo Technology of America.

In a statement from 2016, acting Assistant Secretary David Friedman said: “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.”