DOE JGI Releases Preliminary Soybean Genome Assembly To Enable Worldwide Bioenergy Research Efforts
Amberjac Selects Autocraft Industries UK as Manufacturing Partner For Volume Production of Li-Ion Systems for PHEVs and Other Vehicles

DOE to Invest Up To $30 Million to Accelerate Development and Deployment of Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle Technology

The US Department of Energy (DOE) will invest up to $30 million for cost-shared development and demonstration projects supporting Plug-In Hybrid Vehicles (PHEVs). Combined with a minimum 50% cost share with industry applicants, research investment will total up to $60 million.

This Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) seeks projects that will find solutions to improving battery performance to enable vehicles to deliver up to 40 miles of electric range without recharging, and address critical barriers to achieving DOE’s goal of making PHEVs cost-competitive by 2014 and ready for commercialization by 2016.

The vehicles selected must be comparable to current production vehicles (e.g., safety, performance, comfort, cost) to compete in the marketplace as well as compliant with all applicable FMVSS and emissions requirements.

With the emphasis on production, DOE is highly encouraging applications to be a high volume (more than 10,000 vehicles produced annually) vehicle manufacturer currently producing vehicles in the United States with other team members being subcontractors to the applicant. Applications from other entities will only be considered if a high volume vehicle manufacturer is a team member.

DOE will consider a novel application if the applicant demonstrates the capability for high volume production and the requisite technical expertise. Teaming with suppliers, national laboratories, utilities, state and municipal governments, small businesses, universities, fleet operators, etc. is highly encouraged if it enables the applicant to achieve the goals and objectives of the FOA, which in turn will produce a quality production ready vehicle.

The effort shall include the analysis, design, fabrication, and integration of plug-in hybrid electric propulsion systems (including battery, battery charger, power electronics, and electric drive) in vehicle platforms using standard practice for production-intent vehicles.

Selected projects will place PHEVs in small, geographically diverse fleets in order to collect operational data that will be used to evaluate and demonstrate the operational and economic viability of PHEVs in the marketplace.

The batteries expected to be included in the test fleet vehicles will showcase technologies developed with DOE funding. Information gathered under this demonstration project will be used to determine how these advanced hybrid vehicle components will operate in real world conditions.

DOE is expected to provide up to $7 million in Fiscal Year 2008 for this FOA, with the remaining $23 million expected to be available in FY’09-10, subject to appropriation from Congress. DOE will use this announcement to make one to four selections, in total, in two identical rounds. For consideration in the first round, applications are due 13 February 2008. Second round applications are due by 30 April 2008.




Too little, too late.  This is the money that should have gone to the programs in 2001.  Today, it should be subsidies at least as great as those for ethanol; even the hydrogen boondoggle gets more money than this.


10000 million for biofuels
30 million for PHEVs

That sounds fair, doesn't it?

Roger Pham

For a given battery kwh capacity, a full hybrid (HEV) would save a lot more energy (GHG release) than a BEV or PHEV. The battery capacity required for one PHEV (16-kwh GM Volt) is sufficient to make 10 (ten) full HEV of equivalent load capacity (GM's 2-mode HEV). A good full HEV can almost double the combined mpg of an equivalent non-HEV. For example, for every gallon of gasoline a non-HEV will burn, ten HEV's will save 5 gallons, while a PHEV in exclusively electric mode will only save 1 gallon of gasoline, thus 5:1 effectiveness ratio. But, a PHEV's even in its electric-only mode cannot improve much the overall thermal efficiency (from source to wheel) of a full HEV.

For that reason, it is important to reserve enough raw materials for enough battery production to make every new car a HEV in order for maximizing energy saving and minimizing CO2 release.

Concerns regarding the dwindling petroleum supply can be addressed by requiring (mandating) all new cars to be increasingly more and more full HEV’s, AND by making an increasing percentage of all of these new HEV’s to run on methane (compressed natural gas or CNG) instead of gasoline, AND mandating most large gas stations to make CNG available to the public.
Given the already extensive NG pipeline infrastructure already exist, providing NG at the gas station would be cost effective due to the much lower price of NG per unit of energy in comparison to expensive gasoline. Methane can be a renewable fuel from cellulosic farm waste, or synthesized from renewable hydrogen, or made from the gasification of coal. Even renewable methane is now more than cost-effective than gasoline, the latter is getting more and more expensive.

Methane adsorptive materials are now available to make the CNG tank at reasonable size and weight and using much lower pressures than before, that would allow cheaper hardware than before. Already, 7 millions cars in the world are running on CNG.
What is the USA waiting for? Until all the Iraqi oil (under the control of the US military) to be sold?


I have a hard time reconciling this announcement with news of solid progress from a multitude of companies and nations. See Amberjac today.

Does DOE really think plugins need to be spurred in order to produce them by 2014 and after? Or that $7m - or $30M for that matter - over several years will change either the timeline or the players.

IMO by 2014 plugins hybrids and EVs will be common. Routinely sold by the companies that sell vehicles now.

Fast judgements are often mistakes. But I grow more discouraged with DOE and our government every day. Perhaps I shouldn't write on days the stock market is going down but this announcement looks like BS from bureaucrats, a small handout already slated for some favorites.


I don't see the case where the raw materials for making batteries will be exhausted. Ultimately it is the consumers that will decide which kind of car technology they will adopt.

Roger Pham

Please kindly do some researching on the annual production of lithium and total world reserve of lithium. The price of Nickel and Cobalt has escalated recently even though the use of NiMh for HEV's (with small battery packs) only covers barely a few percent of the new vehicle market. Rapid adaptation of PHEV's will send the prices of these raw material for battery production thru the roof, and will inhibit any further growth of PHEV's or BEV's to the fringe or niche market of much less than 0.1% of total vehicles to be sold.
"An army cannot outrun its own supply"


"In 2005, world lithium consumption was the equivalent of nearly 80,000 metric tons of lithium carbonate.

Chile has been the world’s leading producer of lithium carbonate since 1997, when it surpassed the United States in production. Most commercial lithium carbonate production in the world is from brine deposits because of the significantly lower cost of production combined with the abundance of lithium in brines."

Estimated Crustal Abundance: 2.0×10^1 mgrams per kgram

It is reasonable to assume that long before lithium resources are threatened, yet another material for energy storage will arise. Combined with ultra-capacitors smaller batteries will do the work of large EV packs today. No, though lithium wars may peak doomer mindsets - it ain't going to happen.


Roger let us take your hypothetical one step further:

With a 40 mile range a typical car will use close to 2 gallons of fuel. Hybrid version of said vehicle will maybe achieve 40 miles on 1-1/3 gallons of fuel (20mpg average with a 50% improvement in efficiency). PHEV40 will use 0 gallons.

But we can make 10 HEV for the battery pack of the PHEV40 so we save 6-2/3 gallons of fuel versus saving 2 gallons of fuel (just over 3:1 advantage). But wait a second here...the material to make 10 large HEV-ICE is enough to make maybe 15 PHEV small generator-motors. 20 sets of electric motors in the HEV-ICE (1 for general starting/generating and a second for driving) may provide the materials for 5 PHEV class motors. Hmm, maybe we can't just make off-the cuff statements such as X-battery pack size makes Y number of HEV versus one PHEV.


Roger: The oceans are chock-a-block with Lithium. You can use selective absorbers to gather it, or get it as a byproduct of water desalinization.


Spot prices ,like rarity viz availability can change dramatically as more players enter the market -supply and demand.
Sure, some new 'saviour' and many current 'limitless' technologies do rely on unobtainium, but thats a different matter.
The spot price reflecting current availability on the market is often more related to future selling and the play between shareholders gambling habits, promoters sales abilities and the lure of a quick buck than any science.
Much as I disagree that it is 'reasonable to assume that 'something else will come along' (that accepts unsustainability from the outset) That is a pervasive argument and has some merit. Just not one the odds I would like.


You know what we are really short on?
Rhodium, Gold, Palidium, and Platinum.

i.e. The Catalysts required for PEM Fuel Cells.


gr, I don't quite follow your line of thinking in terms of how many PHEV's can you make with the battery power from one BEV. You are presuming that the only significant constraint in determining how many of these various cars will be made is in how you divvy up limited lithium (is it even limiting?). I think there are many more factors involved than that, not the least of which are marketing factors.


sorry, I think I mixed up who wrote what


Lithium is one of the more common elements on earth (33rd most common).

Roger Pham

An economy-optimized full HEV can nearly double the combined mpg of a non-HEV of similar load capacity. The 50% improvement of the GM 2-mode hybrid is due to the fact that the ICE is not reduced in size, in order to boast a more powerful vehicle. Likewise, the Camry hybrid does not have a down-sized engine, either, and the mpg gain is not as spectacular as the Prius, with driver-reported average combined mpg to be 48 mpg. An equivalent non-hybrid car with similar payload rating of 810 lbs would get a combined mpg of about 24-26 or so.
Economy-optimized HEV's and PHEV's have similar size of engines, motors and generators, so I don't know what you are talking about. A PHEV is simply an HEV with a larger battery pack. Now, with a larger battery pack, the ICE can be reduced a little in size, but the motor must be larger to make up for the less powerful ICE. The PHEV still suffers from the heavier weight of the larger battery pack.

It is uneconomical to extract lithium from sea water. The price of li-ion battery is already very expensive now, when lithium is extracted from source of much higher concentration than sea water. Cost is everything when determining which technologies to push forward. Synthetic methane and biomethane are cheap to make in bulk amount since it's so simple chemically, and the distribution infrastructure already exist, just like electricity.

Technology now exists to reduce the Platinum content of PEM Fuel cell to 1/100th the amount previously. Also, not every car have to be powered by FC. ICE-HEV running on methane or hydrogen will still be a viable propulsion means long into the future.

Harvey D

By 2014-2016 PHEVs will be all over the place. China may have produced 5 000 000 units already.

Could this mini-effort $30 million be useful to conduct an evaluation to determine the best PHEV models?


2008 Toyota Camry Hybrid 33/34 mpg

2008 Toyota Camry(4 Cyl) 21/31 mpg

So, if you can get 26 mpg combined in the regular Camry and 33 combined in the hybrid, 13,000 combined city/hwy miles will take 500 gallons in the regular car and 394 gallons in the hybrid for a savings of 106 gallons per year.

106 gallons x $3 per gallon = $318

The hybrid MSRP is $25,200

The regular MSRP is $19,620

The hybrid costs $5580 more.

$5580 / $318 is more than 17.5 years to payback the additional cost (simple estimate)

Since most people finance their cars for 3-5 years, this may be why people say that the price premium is not worth it.


PHEV seem like the worst of both worlds: the expense and weight of both a large batterpack and an ICE. BEV avoid the cost and weight of the ICE so will be one area of penetration of batteries into transport. Mild HEV like the BMW 1-series have the advantage of an evolution of changes so will be another method of penetration. That leaves PHEV as perhaps being the last thing to market.

Roger Pham

The Camry hybrid is far more equipped than the barebone $19,620 Camry. If you would get a Camry with automatic transmission and equipped similarly to the base Camry hybrid, the price differential would only be $3000-$4000. AND the Camry hybrid is worthy of higher price premium because it has 190 hp vs 156 hp for the Camry 4-cylinder, and the hybrid is capable of much faster acceleration, which is already worth several thousands dollars of price premium.

People would readily pay thousands higher for options such as a navigational system, more power, 8-cylinder smoothness etc...without ever considering the payback...BECAUSE THERE WILL BE NO PAYBACK POSSIBLE FOR LUXURY AND COMFORT OPTIONS...The hybrid is more comfortable, more quiet...and gives you bragging rights...How do price the ability to reduce petroleum and energy consumption, with much cleaner exhaust emission? PRICELESS!!!


I get your point, but does the buying public? This basic Camry had auto trans and you could get a base model with some of the features of the hybrid. Some of the features on the hybrid people may not even want nor want to pay for, but they have no choice. My point is that it is the perception of the buying public that will drive the sales of hybrids. They seem to be selling well, but we will need to sell well over 1 million per year to make a difference. You could sell 1 million per year for 10 years and still not do as well in reducing oil consumption as E10 everywhere.

Roger Pham

I get your point also. Auto mfg's have to charge hybrid option higher initially in order to recoup the investment costs, and also, the lack of availability of HEV's has been keeping the price of HEV's high. Battery availability has been one of the limiting factor in hybrid availability. Eventually, more production facility and tooling will be dedicated for HEV production, expect the price of an HEV to be comparable to that of a non-HEV. Toyota and Honda are announcing that they will reduce by half the price premium of hybrid from a conventional model. PHEV's can potentially claim too much of battery-production capacity that should be devoted to the production of a maximum number of economy-optimized HEV's.

The next bold step is for the Government to push for alternative fuels such as methane and hydrogen. It would not be too expensive for large gas stations to be equipped with CNG dispensing mechanism, and they can easily recoup this investment eventually.
By mandating increasing sales of HEV and methane-capable HEV's, similar to the CARB's ZEV mandate, petroleum dependency can be overcome in the proper time table to avert disastrous disruption in the economy and social fabric due to rapid petroleum exhaustion, falling far short of demand in the not-too-distant future.


Let's do some math here. While some of you forcefully debate the benefits of HEVs vs PHEVs, I contend that some of you are missing the whole point. Here is why:

The US currently buys 14 million barrels of oil every single day at an average price of about $90/barrel.

14,000,000 barrels/day x 365 days/year x $90/barrel=
459.9 billion dollars a year!

So here is my point: $30 million invested to stop a $460 billion hemorrage is nothing short of an intellectual insult. This is what we should do:
Take 10% of what we spend in oil (about 46 billion/year) and give a tax credit of $1,500 for a standard parallel hybrid, $2,000 for a series hybrid plus $30 per electric mile at highway speed with a cap at 100 miles. Add $1,000 for Atkinson cycle engines and an extra $1,000 for engines that work in HCCI mode.
At first, this may look like an astronomical amount of money - you can get up to $7,000 back if you buy a series hybrid with a 100 mile highway range with an Atkinson engine that can work on HCCI mode but, it will take years to car companies to build enough of these cars to deplete the $46 billion/year fund. The next question is what to do with the money that is not spent while car companies ramp up production. Very simple, have all government agencies become carbon neutral by investing in wind and solar power as well as large scale electric storage systems.

Harvey D


Are $$ the only reasons to buy a greener vehicle.

If so, a carbon tax could fix it. Tax gas guzzlers about $5K to $10K and subsidize PHEVs at the same rate and the reluctance to buy greener more expensive cars will quickly disappear.

A progressive new-additional gas-fuel tax (3 to 5 cents/gallon a month)or about (1 cent/litre a month) for the next 120 months (or longer), would also help to convince the others and help to finance the introduction of PHEVs and BEVs.

Polluters should pay, progressively more, for the damage they do. Non-polluters should receive adequate compensations for their efforts.


I would like to present one other thought. The PHEVs talk about 150 mpg and such, but energy is energy. While an HEV can get better mileage because of start/stop, regenerative braking and more efficient engine usage, the electricity has to come from somewhere.

Let's say that we have a therm of natural gas that we could burn in an HEV at say 20% efficiency. Take that same therm and put it in a gas turbine at the power plant and get maybe 25% efficiency or even 40% with a combined cycle plant. Subract 10% for transmission losses, 10% for power supply losses at the charger, 20% for round trip battery losses and you are back to the 20% as if you used the therm in an HEV.

I know some will say that electricity can come from hydro, wind, solar, nuclear, coal and other sources. But when you do the natural gas analysis this is what you get. 50% of the electricity in California comes from natural gas power plants and California is the largest car market in the U.S. I like PHEVs, but it is good to be realistic about it.


Roger correctly focuses on the Key Issue - how to maximise the reduction in oil consumption most cost and resource effectively.

First, Lithium batteries are an industrial non-starter due to very limited cost effective supply: the price has already tripled in 5 years under consumer electronics demand, only 25% of the Li produced today is used in batteries and the market distorting effects of only modest numbers of LiIon HEVs or PHEVs - a few million only - will send Lithium prices quadrupling, quintupling within 12 months. Talk of getting it from seawater and the crust is industrially unrealistic - you may as well say let’s import Helium 3 from the Moon. The Germans extracted gold from seawater during the war under war exigencies - is it worth doing today? No. Hydrogen is a lot more abundant on Earth than Lithium too but like the Lithium, try extracting and producing it economically both in energy and cost terms. Not possible.

So, a standard Prius today gets 50mpg, more than double the criminally delinquant US average of 20.68mpg. Demand for cars like everything is price eleastic. Clearly, 5 Prius cars with a 1.5kWh battery will be individually much cheaper than one PHEV with a 7.5kWh battery, since the battery cost dominates the equation so much. One 7.5kWh PHEV might be driven 15,000 miles per year with let’s say 50% electric miles, leaving 7,500 miles at 50mpg or 150 gallons of gasoline burned, overall saving 600USG over a 20mpg vehicle; but 5 50mpg Priuses driving 15,000 miles each will save 2250 USG overall over 5 20mpg vehicles. So for the same amount of battery capacity we save nearly 4 times as much fuel, and the HEV is available to a wider market than the 7.5kWh PHEV because it’s cheaper.

The Daihatsu UFEII hybrid, using a similar drivetrain to the Prius, does 120mpg (lightweight and aerodynamic body).

If we simply used small ICs to power a generator and drive all cars as series hybrids, that would reduce fuel consumption further.

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