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DOE to Provide up to $14 Million to Develop Advanced Batteries for Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles

The US Department of Energy (DOE) will provide up to $14 million in funding for a $28 million cost-shared solicitation by the United States Advanced Battery Consortium (USABC) for plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) battery development. 

This research aims to find solutions to improving battery performance so vehicles can deliver up to 40 miles of electric range without recharging.  This would include most roundtrip daily commutes.

DOE and USABC seek to identify electrochemical storage technologies capable of meeting or approaching USABC’s criteria for performance, weight, life-cycle, and cost.  Other considerations include the potential to commercialize proposed battery technologies and bring them to market quickly.

In March, USABC issued Request for Proposals (RFPs) for ultracapacitor technology, high energy batteries, and high power batteries.

DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s Vehicle Technologies Program is leading the Department’s efforts to bring PHEVs to market.  The development of a lower cost, high-energy battery has been identified as a critical pathway toward commercialization of PHEVs.

USABC is a consortium of the United States Council for Automotive Research (USCAR), the umbrella organization for collaborative research among DaimlerChrysler Corporation, 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.


  • USABC PHEV Battery RFP

  • USABC Ultracapacitor RFP

  • USABC High Energy Battery RFP

  • USABC High Power Battery RFP



Governments and their RFPs. Why do I get the sinking feeling that this is another 14 Mil that will disapear into thin air with no results. RFP must stand for Runthrough Funds with Paper.


Nice to see some money going towards batteries. I'll just cross my fingers that the money doesn't get wasted.


I never have ANY problems with RFPs, RFQs, etc which come through Homeland Security for ANY state, county, or city and no problems as long as the equipment fits the specifications and requirements. Of course I'm only speaking from personal experience and perhaps you have dealt with billions of dollars worth of RFPs (and their follow ons) while I have only dealt in the 10's of millions...


The USABC has been around for a while yet I cannot find any tangible results from this organization. Where does the money go?


Hang on a minute , This technology already exists !

Next post will run "Car manufacturers demand government funds to develop
rounder wheel "

Roger Arnold

Battery development seems to be rolling along just fine as it is. I don't know any specifics of what's being funded here, and this is a case where details matter. However, on the surface, it has the appearance of a cosmetic attempt by DOE to make the agency look good. They're throwing money at developments that are already approaching commercial success.

Rafael Seidl

$14m isn't a whole lot for the federal government to spend, considering the $300/day price tag of Iraq. Still, I'd prefer to see governments use their clout to create a market for technologies that help meet energy policy goals.

Why not define the performance characteristics various government agencies want in their future (civilian) vehicle fleets plus a time horizon, price point and unit volume commitment? Establishing a floor for demand reduces risk and initial marketing overheads for entrepreneurs.

However, these performance characteristics should always be framed in terms of outcomes (e.g. fuel economy in a specified duty cycle) rather than pick specific technologies. Who's to say there isn't someone out there with an idea that's even better than a powering a PHEV with advanced batteries?


Near the end of the budget year , it is time for the DOE to get rid of some spare money. Happens every year.

kent beuchet

One poster seems to think that practical batteries are already here and don't need any financial support. I would suggest that it's touch and go even as to wehether the Chevy VOLT will, by 2010 , have a battery that is suitable just for plug-in hybrids, much less all electric powered cars. I've read the specs, and none met them, including the Altair NanoSafes, that are
wildly overpriced, too heavy, and do not meet the lifespan requirements nor the power output reqs.
That, friends, is NOT the hallmark of a technology that is ready for prime time. I also draw attention to the call of all of the Big Three for Congress to fund $600 million for battery development, which prompted a Senate bill to do more or less just that : $100 million per year for the next five years. Why is there such a disconnect between the public's perception of battery technology and the reality? Perhaps because stories of advances in batteries neve mention the problems and drawbacks, like weight, cost, etc. Too much media copy is plain old cheeleading and hype. The clear fact is that right now, there does not exist a battery which meets the requirements of the automakers for a plug-in hybrid application. They are companies who plan on being around more than a few years and so cannot throw together the ridiculously absurd plug-ins that cost $10K and up, and provide a meager all-electric range from batteries that will need replacement long before the car does. There are plenty of small, backyard companies more than happy to forsake any future business to screw the public with their crappy plug-in conversions. I call on sites like this one to point out the fraud that's going on with these plug-in conversions. The technology doesn't ned a bunch of black eyes that will appear when the public finally gets
a dose of reality and starts asking pointed questions as to why a conversion that does little more than add about $2000 worth of batteries (voiding the car's warranty) costs over $10K.

Patty O

I agree with Kent. Batteries still need some tweaking before mainstream use and reliability. Check out lithium ion batteries on for some of their dissadvantages.
The government has lots of money. They can afford this.

hampden wireless

Considering batteries could free us from needing oil from unfreindly countries 14 mil seems like a real low number. How about one or two days of war money. See what that could do.



Wow!! Didn't know Iraq was such a bargain!

I agree that these contracts should be structured in a way that incentivizes the battery makers to meet certain goals in terms of performance and cost. Set a minimum acceptable standards with appropriate bonus fees with increments for exceeding those standards.

Frankly, the way this adminstration has bungled contracting in general makes me skeptical of any contracting effort on their part. Well, at least these funds don't appear to be going to Halliburton.

But really. This is a paltry amount of money for technology that could actually have a real impact on the efficiency and impact of our transportation system. With Iraq, we have paid billions and will pay billions more even after the war is over. This is a war whose impact will damage this country and, by extension, the world, for decades to come.


Patrick: My RFP experiences have been for Software for Canadian Governments that have phonebook sized RFPs that require responses even thicker. Sometimes the cost of dealing with the RFP is not far off the price of the software. Were you respoding to physical equipment RFPs?


I thought the Pork Barrel was empty.
What's with these Morons in Washington?


I thought the Pork Barrel was empty.
What's with these Morons in Washington?

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