The US Department of Energy (DOE) has announced a new program of $184 million in funding to accelerate development and deployment of efficient vehicle technologies.

The new program will reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil, save drivers money, and limit carbon pollution. The projects which are to be funded will include advanced materials development, combustion research, hybrid electric systems, efficiency of fleet vehicles, and fuels technology, Department 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, said Secretary Chu.   Investments in the next generation of vehicle technologies are laying the groundwork for a sustainable transportation sector in America that strengthens our economy and improves our economic competitiveness.

The program is meant to address development of key technologies required to achieve large scale adoption of advanced vehicles including PHEV's and BEV's.  It focuses on eight approaches to improving vehicle efficiency:

  • Advanced fuels and lubricants to enable optimum performance
  • Light-weight materials to reduce vehicle weight
  • Develop and test vehicles made of multiple lightweight vehicles, aiming for one 50% lighter than baseline light-duty vehicles
  • Advanced battery cells for EV batteries, looking to significantly boost performance or energy density
  • Advanced EV drive train technology, in either electric motors or power inverters
  • Thermo-electric devices to convert waste engine heat into electricity
  • Demonstrate fuel efficient tire technology in fleets to improve fleet fuel efficiency
  • Advanced vehicle testing and evaluation, and related infrastructure

Earlier, the Department of Energy had said it is investing $2.85 billion in electric vehicles of which $2 billion will go to help US carmakers produce advanced vehicle batteries and drive train components. Around $400 million will be invested to buy, test, and deploy different types of electric vehicles in the marketplace, and $300 million in cost-share projects under the 'Clean Cities' program.