The US Department of Energy (DOE) announced that it will issue $17 million in solicitations to improve automobile efficiency.
The funding will be offered as two separate solicitations, one for $14 million for research on battery technology for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and another for $3 million for research to improve E85 flex-fuel engine efficiency.
The $14 million cost-shared solicitation for plug-in hybrid electric vehicle battery development aims to improve battery performance so that plug-in hybrid vehicles can deliver the 40 miles of all-electric range required for most roundtrip daily commutes.
DOE has already created a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle test bed at Argonne National Laboratory, allowing scientists to measure the performance of such a vehicle.
The $3 million cost-shared solicitation will support engineering advances to improve the fuel economy of E85 engines and reduce vehicle emissions. The solicitation also serves to undertake research and development projects that will result in flex-fuel vehicles, which take advantage of the favorable properties of ethanol gasoline blends.
DOE’s FreedomCAR and Vehicle Technologies Program will lead the efforts. The solicitations are subject to Congressional appropriations.