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DOE/USCAR Commit to $195 Million for Batteries and Lightweight Materials

The US Department of Energy (DOE) and the United States Council for Automotive Research (USCAR) announced an agreement that could reach $125 million over five years to develop advanced high-performance batteries for electric, hybrid electric and fuel cell vehicle applications.

A similar agreement will provide investment of up to $70 million to develop lightweight, high-strength materials that increase fuel efficiency through a reduction of vehicle weight.

The new $125 million agreement for battery development is set for three years with two one-year continuing options in which the government and industry will share the costs of research.

As part of the new agreement, the DOE’s FreedomCAR Program and USCAR’s US Advanced Battery Consortium (USABC) will split the cost of research and development for a number of new battery materials and technologies that have the potential to increase energy storage and charge/discharge performance, improve durability and reliability and reduce cost.

Among the existing objectives set for the Vehicle High-Energy Storage effort by the DOE are:

  • By 2010, develop an electric drive train energy storage device with a 15-year life at 300 Wh with a discharge power of 25 kW for 18 seconds and $20/kW cost.

  • Reduce the production cost of a high-power 25-kW battery (light vehicle) from $3,000 to $750 in 2006 and to $500 in 2010 (priority goal).

  • Establish and continuously reaffirm performance and cost targets for batteries covering the full range of applications, including 42V systems, HEVs, and FCVs.

  • Develop hardware for specific applications that can be tested against respective performance targets and used for subsystem benchmarking.

DOE/USCAR are focusing on NiMH and lithium-based technologies as the candidate battery chemistries most likely to meet those targets.

The materials research will explore improved manufacturing techniques and use of advanced high-strength steel to reduce vehicle weight by 15%—25%.

The research will also work to develop new alloys of aluminum, magnesium and titanium to be used in vehicle framing, body, powertrain and engine components. Beyond metals, new materials for use in car manufacturing such as carbon fiber and polymer matrix composites could produce weight reductions from 25% up to 70%.

The DOE estimates that every 10% reduction in vehicle weight results in an approximate 7% savings in fuel.

USCAR facilitates cooperative research among DaimlerChrysler Corporation, Ford Motor Company and General Motors Corporation.



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