DOE Offers $30 M for Plug-in Hybrid Electric Cars

Up to $30 million in funding over three years will be available to three cost-shared Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs) demonstration and development projects, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

The selected projects will accelerate the development of PHEVs capable of traveling up to 40 miles without recharging, which includes most daily roundtrip commutes and satisfies 70 percent of the average daily travel in the United States. The projects also will address critical barriers to achieving DOE's goal of making PHEVs cost-competitive by 2014 and ready for commercialization by 2016.

The projects selected will be developed between fiscal years 2008-11 and demonstrated in geographically diverse regions to identify performance, operation, and fuel economy in a real-world environment. The goal is to develop PHEVs that can be mass produced, compete effectively in the marketplace, and substantially reduce petroleum consumption by offering fuel flexibility to American consumers. DOE's funding for these projects, which is subject to congressional appropriations, will be combined with an industry cost share of 50 percent.

In addition to announced projects, DOE expanded its own fleet of alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles with the addition of a Ford Escape Plug-In Hybrid Flex-Fuel Vehicle, capable of running on E85, 85 percent ethanol, 15 percent gasoline. This vehicle demonstrates the capacity of flexible fuel technology to reduce petroleum use to almost zero. This Ford Escape flexible fuel PHEV when refueling only on cellulosic E85 or electricity would consume less than 75 gallons of gasoline per year – the equivalent of more than 150 mpg -- and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by up to 93 percent. The department's new Ford Escape will be used to transport DOE employees to official events and meetings in the Washington, D.C. area.

The following three projects were selected:

General Motors has been selected for negotiation of an award for a project aimed at enhancement of lithium-ion battery packs, charging systems, powertrain development, vehicle integration, and vehicle validation. Following development, the PHEVs will be deployed over a three-year period into a demonstration fleet in three U.S. regions. Other team members include Electric Power Research Institute, University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.

Ford Motor Company has been selected for negotiation of an award for a project to identify a pathway that accelerates commercial mass-production of PHEVs. The project will focus on development of battery systems and deployment of prototype PHEVs. The project will test and demonstrate the propulsion system design, controls, and communications necessary to develop a viable PHEV production program. Team members include Southern California Edison, Electric Power Research Institute, and Johnson Controls-Saft, Inc.

General Electric has been selected for negotiation of an award for a demonstration of PHEVs that relies upon an innovative dual-battery energy storage system capable of 40 miles accumulated electric driving range. The project will focus on developing the dual-battery energy storage system in parallel with vehicle integration. GE is partnering with Chrysler for this project.

For more information on DOE's ongoing work to advance vehicle technologies, visit http://www1.eere.energy.gov/vehiclesandfuels.

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