US Energy Dept. Awards Nearly $17.2M for Plug-in Hybrid Battery Research

The five projects selected for negotiation of awards of up to $17.2 million from DOE aim to address critical barriers to the commercialization of PHEVs, specifically battery cost and battery life.

Published: 01-Oct-2007

U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Assistant Secretary for Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability Kevin M. Kolevar today announced DOE will invest nearly $20 million in plug-in hybrid vehicle (PHEV) research. Five projects have been selected for negotiation of awards under DOE's collaboration with the United States Advanced Battery Consortium (USABC) for $17.2 million in DOE funding for PHEV battery development projects and; DOE will provide nearly $2 million to the University of Michigan (U-M) to spearhead a study exploring the future of PHEVs. DOE funding announced today will help advance President Bush’s Twenty in Ten Plan, which aims to displace twenty percent of gasoline usage by 2017 through greater use of clean, renewable fuels and increased vehicle efficiency. PHEVs have the potential to displace a large amount of gasoline by delivering up to 40 miles of electric range without recharging – a distance that would include most daily roundtrip commutes.

“These projects will help provide the perspective and expertise necessary to get plug-in hybrid electric vehicles out of the laboratory and into the showroom, a key part of the President’s plan to reduce our reliance on oil by increasing the use of clean energy technologies,” Assistant Secretary Kolevar said. “The Department remains committed to working with our national labs, universities, industry and automakers to advance the President’s energy agenda and we are eager to continue supporting the widespread of use affordable, emissions-free sources of energy to enhance our Nation’s energy security.”

The five projects selected for negotiation of awards of up to $17.2 million from DOE aim to address critical barriers to the commercialization of PHEVs, specifically battery cost and battery life. Combined with cost-share from the United States Advanced Battery Consortium (USABC), these projects will allow up to $38 million in battery research and development. DOE funding is subject to negotiation of final contract terms and Congressional appropriations. Projects are expected to begin this year and continue through 2009; funding will come from DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy (fiscal years ’07-’09). USABC will negotiate final contract terms with five lithium ion battery developers. Companies selected for negotiation of awards include:

The University of Michigan’s Michigan Memorial Phoenix Energy Institute (MMPEI) will receive nearly $2 million from DOE to coordinate efforts among DOE and its Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, General Motors, Ford Motor Company, and DTE Energy to conduct a two-year study on PHEVs. Specifically, the study will: Research for this study will take place over the next two years, and a preliminary report is expected to be released in January of 2008, at the Detroit Auto Show. DOE’s Office of Electricity Delivery & Energy Reliability and Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy (EERE) will fund this study (fiscal years 2007 and 2008, subject to appropriations from Congress).

EERE’s Vehicle Technologies Program leads the Department’s efforts to bring PHEVs to market and works with industry to develop advanced transportation technologies that will reduce the Nation’s use of imported oil. The development of a lower cost, high-energy battery has been identified as a critical pathway toward commercialization of PHEVs. DOE goals include making PHEVs cost-competitive by 2014 and ready for commercialization by 2016.

USABC is a consortium of the United States Council for Automotive Research (USCAR), the umbrella organization for collaborative research among the Chrysler LLC, Ford Motor Company and General Motors Corporation. Supported by a cooperative agreement with the DOE, USABC’s mission is to develop electrochemical energy storage technologies that support commercialization of fuel cell, hybrid, and electric vehicles.

Assistant Secretary Kolevar made today’s announcement while hosting a press conference with Jon Willinghoff, Federal Energy Regulatory Commissioner; Gary S. Was, Director of the Michigan Memorial Phoenix Energy Institute; and Jud Virden, Deputy Associate Laboratory Director for Energy Science and Technology at DOE’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

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