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DOE Announces $30 Million for PHEV Projects

The US Department of Energy (DOE) will provide up to $30 million in funding over three years for three cost-shared Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) demonstration and development projects led separately by General Motors, Ford Motor Company, and General Electric.

The selected projects are designed to accelerate the development of PHEVs capable of traveling up to 40 miles without recharging, which includes most daily roundtrip commutes and satisfies 70% of the average daily travel in the US. The projects are also intended to 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. DOE’s funding for these projects, which is subject to Congressional appropriations, will be combined with an industry cost share of 50%.

Assistant Secretary of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Andy Karsner announced the funding at the “Plug-In Electric Vehicles 2008: What Role for Washington?” conference, sponsored by the Brookings Institution and

The funding represents the first round of selections under DOE’s PHEV Technology Acceleration and Deployment Activity funding opportunity announcement. A second round of applications is due July 18, 2008. 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 regions of the US.

    Other team members include Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), 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.



“…to achieving DOE’s goal of making PHEVs cost-competitive by 2014 and ready for commercialization by 2016”. Maybe the DOE has consulted with Dr. Anderman to set such an ambitious goal with such a breathtaking speed of development.

BYD has said they will do it by the end of 2008.

Anyway this is penny money well spend. It compares to the cost of less than 90 minutes of patrolling by US forces in Iraq which is money less well spend in my humble opinion. ($200 billion a year / 365 days *24 hours) = $22.8 million per hour.


Isn't this what CalCar and others have been doing in recent years? Apparently their research and development is not in keeping with Washington's high standards. If GM and Ford's words can be believed, then this (40 miles) should be a forgone conclusion by 2010.


I'd rather see our federal government support a PHEV R&D program that lowers the 40-mile battery operation range to 20-miles. There are crucial advantages with this lower driving range stipulation. The smaller battery pack, (roughly half-size), may utilize NiMh technology, will reduce costs, will have broader application, will encourage shorter driving distances, thus will make many trips possible without having to drive, thus encourage walking, bicycling and the use of mass transit, thus encourage local economic development.

Why must American motorists plan for an average of 40 miles of daily driving? Me thinks 40 miles is too much.

Joe Rocker

700 billion dollars a year going to overseas for petrol and Bush can only com up with 30 million for research and some stupid rebate checks. It is amazing this country is in one piece.


A truism that applies her.

Howard Lyman is a walkin', talkin' Marlboro Man.His The Golden Rule: "Them that's got the 'gold' make all the rules!


Wells: "Why must American motorists plan for an average of 40 miles of daily driving? Me thinks 40 miles is too much."

Because this is about how far most cars are driven in a single day.


Like déjà vu all over again.
Funny it seems like yesterday, but it was 1993 that Detriot got $2 Billion tax payers money to come up with a 80mpg car by 2004.

Brad Godfrey

Didn't GM already say the volt was going to be ready for commercialization by 2010? what the hell? Where has the DOE been, I think they should be funding the production of PHEV's, not giving the domestics money for PHEV "projects".


Wells: Why must American motorists plan for an average of 40 miles of daily driving? Me thinks 40 miles is too much.

No problem my friend. Just tell me how to afford a home closer then 20 miles from my job and I will gladly cut my commute. I travel 46.6 miles to and from work each day. I live on the south side of Baltimore and travel to the north side of DC. The communities I travel through have average home prices 3 to 7 times me annual salary. There is little that is closer I could afford. And I'm lucky. To obtain housing that is affordable for my coworkers requires many of them to travel from Harford County on the north side of Baltimore with commutes of as much as fifty miles. One coworker travels two hours from southern Pennsylvania as he wanted a home in a really rural community (but hes clearly an extreme example so never mind). of the folks that live closer, either they purchased their homes years before I bought mine (and I bought in '84) or their spouses make considerably more then mine does and they have no children to pay for. (I have two wonderful daughters who I love dearly, but for whom the cost of education and braces, and all the other niceties of life have meant evaporation of most of my disposable income for the last 20 years).
And thats only the cost of getting to and from work. Then theres driving to doctors visits, and dropping children at their jobs, and trips to stores and etc, etc, etc, Getting the picture?
To me 40 miles is an understatement of daily travel needs.
And I ain't alone.




I am sure you are not alone, but there are thousands (maybe millions) of people like me. I live 5 miles from my primary office and 9 miles from another office to which I have to travel twice a week. My wife is retired and travels within a 5 mile (maybe 10 mile max) radius, except on rare occasions.

While a 20 mile electric range would cut our gas costs by 80-90%, it would only save you maybe 40%. Still there is a market, particularly if it makes $5-6k difference in the price of the car.

My point is that you represent one market segment, but there is no reason to ignore another market segment waiting to satisfy your needs. Some people commute 80 miles each way, and I sure as hell don't want to wait for a PHEV with 160 mile electric range, nor do I wish to pay for one.

$30 million in funding over three years for General Motors, Ford Motor Company, and General Electric.

Ok, so where is the 10 million for Tesla that already did the work and has the car all ready for testing. I think the money would be well spent getting their white star car crash tested and put through the other testing processes needed to bring it to public production.

So ,,, how is it that an innovative company is overlooked, while wasteful dinosaurs are slathered in taxpayers money?


Why is this boondoggle limited to only three "major" vehicle manufacturers?



I would like to offer another commuter coping strategy that you may want to consider. That is, consider relocation to the DC city proper.

It still may not be too late. Many high power professionals have invested in the rehabilitation of run down urban housing in the city proper. There was and may still be an incentive program put in place to facilitate this relocation strategy by the DC city Government.

In my opinion, life in the city of Washington DC is one of excitement and stimulation; I lived and worked there for a number of years. A tip, leave for work before 7 am to miss the commuter crush. Also buy a house that can support battery recharge.



Another strategy comes to mind. Exit I 95 at the Metro park and ride. If your place of employment is not near the metro station, take a foldable bike if local traffic permits.


This is peanut money. It is much too little too late.

The Big-3 need at least $10 to $20 Billion to retool and mass produce various size PHEVs by 2011/2012.

Future EV advanced batteries + (control systems & motors), mass production factories need at least $5 to $10 billion to get rolling by 2011/12.

That much money may look like a lot to many but it does not even represent one month of the current futile wars cost.

Even $30 Billion would be a small price to pay to accellerate the mass production of affordable PHEVs and BEVs. It could even put an end to the current oil price speculations. A few million PHEVs on US roads would send a clear message. Oil price would be heading down quickly enough.

However, $30 million would definately not do it.


If a person only wants to drive 20 miles on electricity why cant they just put less batteries in their car for that day. Put more in when you can afford it or if you have to drive farther. We could probably have millions of phevs on the road now testing the technology and speeding us along closer to affordable 40 and 60 mile batteries if they had some 10 and 20 mile batteries in todays cars.




You have to trust the manufacture to stay in business, continue the product line, etc. Most people want the whole product up front, and they still worry about it performing right.


What gives?

Again we get DOE funding research to make PHEVs cost-competitive years from now (2014) and commercialized by 2016.

But Toyota, GM, and no doubt lesser companies seem committed to selling PHEVs in 2010.

I will concede that announcements saying 2010 may slip and model choices will be few. Even so that is a lot earlier than 2016, a date so far away as to mean nothing in governmentspeak.

Developing and selling vehicles with 20m electric only ranges seems sensible to me. Arguing about 20M OR 40m range when you can buy neither seems odd. Ignore those imaginary barriers.

Why not market 20M when you can? Probably NiMh in something like an improved Prius or Civic. Those who see it as meeting their needs will buy.

And when it becomes possible also offer more; 40m for those needing that and willing to pay for it.


What gives?
Again we get DOE funding research to make PHEVs cost-competitive years from now (2014) and commercialized by 2016

Answer as follows:



• The EIA forecasts as its base case real world crude oil prices (defined as the price of light, low-sulfur crude oil delivered in Cushing, Oklahoma, in 2006 dollars) decline gradually from current levels to $57 per barrel in 2016 ($68 per barrel in nominal dollars), as expanded investment in exploration and development brings new supplies to the world market. After 2016, real prices begin to rise, as demand continues to grow and higher cost supplies are brought to market. In 2030, the average real price of crude oil is $70 per barrel in 2006 dollars, or about $113 per barrel in nominal dollars.

Sound crazy doesn’t it?

$68/barrel in 2016
$113/barrel in 2030

But all government agencies use these numbers for planning and funding research: Such as CAFFA fuel standards and planning for electric car development. This is how the administration slows down all progress everywhere. A neat trick isn’t it?


Larry and others who absolutely have to live 40 miles from work might be buying too much house. I wanted to live close to work, so I live in an older, smaller house that doesn't look like much. I have NEVER regretted not buying a house that was larger, newer, and even a little cheaper, but was 20 miles away. I hope GM wises up and offers a "half battery" Volt that costs thousands less for guys like me, because I almost never need 40 miles on a charge.


Axil writes: Also buy a house that can support battery recharge.

Axil, you might be surprised how many houses can support battery recharge already. They can be spotted by the existence of telltale signs such as having refrigerators, washers and dryers, toasters, and televisions.

John Taylor

Honda sees no future for plug-in hybrid vehicles. They aren't going to make improvements in them, invest in them or market them.
Instead they will be making a better product, battery electric vehicles.

Now that the competition has noticed the PHEV idea obsolete, we find the USA willing to begin investing in it, and trying to sent USA automakers down a dead end street.

Is Bush Insane?


@ george "They can be spotted by the existence of telltale signs such as having refrigerators, washers and dryers, toasters, and televisions."

LOL, but then who's been driving around neighborhoods with binoculars ? I really think you should get another hobby george ;=)

Regarding Tesla funding, I believe that there may be rules with govt funding to privately held companies. That may be the reason Cerberus/Chrysler is absent as well.

re PHEVS - I am of the school of thought that also thinks that putting a large battery in a car to be charged by an MG set is poor idea. This series hybrid advocate feels that energy is best left in the fuel tank and not in expensive electrochemical containers.
We need smaller engines that can come to temperature quickly for the more frequent short trips that most of us make. The experimentation of powerful parallel twins in hybrids rather than three cylinder donkey engines should be funded in my opinion. We need to start moving on 2020 technology today.


PHEV/BEV range: 20, 40 or more electric miles?

It would make sense to sell PHEVs/BEVs with modular/upgradeable battery packs, with a base pack for 20 miles. Battery compartment would have the same size for say 20, 40 and 60 miles of battery packs. For air-cooled battery packs, it should be a relatively simple task to add one or more standardized packs, in say "20 mile" eq sizes. Perhaps add more cooling fans for more packs.

Car dealers should be able to add battery packs at the time of vehicle purchase, and later.
As those battery packs can be heavy, it would be desirable that whatever number of packs, they're always positioned in the compartment, so that their centre of gravity remains the same, not to affect vehicle balance. In a boxy compartment, a simple task.
Such batteries (that require just air-cooling) are already available.

An issue could be mixing older and newer battery packs, but intelligent control systems already need to handle that issue in multi battery packs, even 'identical' new batteries often age differently or fail at different times.

Considering that currently (and in a next couple of years) battery packs are probably the most expensive component of BEVs, this approach could significantly speed up adoption of BEVs/PHEVs, as many people need just 20 mile electric range.
So people would be able to buy reasonably priced 20 mile BEVs/PHEVs say in 2010/2011.
Later when battery price drops, they could upgrade if they wish.

The problem with this approach is that modular, standardized battery packs would become thieves' target if easily accessible.



Your modular plug-in battery approach makes too much sense.

Standardized (small) 3 to 4 Kwh and mid size 6 to 8 Kwh packs would be ideal as long as cars were designed to accept up to 3 packs at a latter date. Secondly, 2 to 4 years down the road, those packs would be much cheaper and offer much better performance.

I strongly believe that buyers will (eventually) have the choice to pick various size batteries to extend electric range to suit their requiremens.

Somebody will offer that option sooner or latter.

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