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US House Passes $2.85B Bill for Advanced Technology Vehicle R&D from 2010-2014

The US House yesterday passed by a vote of 312-114 a bill that would authorize additional appropriations totalling $2.85 billion over the 2010-2014 period for the US Department of Energy (DOE) to support a broad range of research activities for advanced technology vehicles.

H.R. 3246, the “Advanced Vehicle Technology Act of 2009” covers research on light-, medium- and heavy-duty vehicles, as well as infrastructure and pilot programs. Ultimately targeting the development of technologies and practices that improve the fuel efficiency and reduce emissions of vehicles produced in the US, the bill also aims to “ensure a proper balance and diversity of Federal investment in vehicle technologies”, while strengthening “partnerships between Federal and State governmental agencies and the private and academic sectors.

Priorities for the Department of Energy’s vehicle technologies research have shifted drastically in recent years among diesel hybrids, hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, and plug-in electric hybrids, with little continuity among them. The integration of vehicle, communication, and infrastructure technologies has great potential for efficiency gains through better management of the total transportation system.

The Federal Government should balance its role in researching longer-term exploratory concepts and developing nearer-term transformational technologies for vehicles.

—H.R. 3246

Of the $2.85 billion, the bill specifies $1.1 billion (39%) be targeted at medium- and heavy-duty commercial vehicles; $115 million (4%) for user facilities; and $60 million (2%) for a non-road pilot program.

The bill sets out a broad range of supported areas for research activities, including:

  1. hybridization or full electrification of vehicle systems;
  2. batteries and other energy storage devices;
  3. power electronics;
  4. vehicle, component, and subsystem manufacturing technologies and processes;
  5. engine efficiency and combustion optimization;
  6. waste heat recovery;
  7. transmission and drivetrains;
  8. hydrogen vehicle technologies, including fuel cells and internal combustion engines, and hydrogen infrastructure;
  9. aerodynamics, rolling resistance, and accessory power loads of vehicles and associated equipment;
  10. vehicle weight reduction;
  11. friction and wear reduction;
  12. engine and component durability;
  13. innovative propulsion systems;
  14. advanced boosting systems;
  15. hydraulic hybrid technologies;
  16. engine compatibility with and optimization for a variety of transportation fuels including liquid and gaseous fuels;
  17. predictive engineering, modeling, and simulation of vehicle and transportation systems;
  18. refueling and charging infrastructure for alternative fueled and electric or plug-in electric hybrid vehicles, including the unique challenges facing rural areas;
  19. gaseous fuels storage system integration and optimization;
  20. sensing, communications, and actuation technologies for vehicle, electrical grid, and infrastructure;
  21. efficient use and recycling of rare earth materials, and reduction of precious metals and other high-cost materials in vehicles;
  22. aftertreatment technologies;
  23. thermal management of battery systems;
  24. retrofitting advanced vehicle technologies to existing vehicles;
  25. development of common standards, specifications, and architectures for both transportation and stationary battery applications; and
  26. other research areas as determined by the Secretary.

Transformational technologies. The bill puts particular emphasis on transformational technologies with potential to achieve deep reductions in petroleum use and emissions, including:

  • hydrogen vehicle technologies, including fuel cells, internal combustion engines, hydrogen storage, infrastructure, and activities in hydrogen technology validation and safety codes and standards;
  • multiple battery chemistries and novel energy storage devices, including nonchemical batteries and electromechanical storage technologies such as hydraulics, flywheels, and compressed air storage;
  • communication and connectivity among vehicles, infrastructure, and the electrical grid; and
  • other innovative technologies research and development, as determined by the Secretary.

Innovative Automotive Demonstration Program. The bill directs the establishment of an Innovative Automotive Demonstration Program within the existing Vehicle Technologies Program to encourage the introduction of new vehicles into the marketplace.

The target is vehicles capable of achieving energy efficiencies significantly greater than required under current and pending Federal Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards. (EPA and NHTSA just released their joint proposed rulemaking for an average 250g/mile CO2 and 34.1 mpg US limit by 2016, earlier post.) Awards under this section are to be made on a competitive basis for demonstration of vehicles that carry at least four passengers; achieve at least 70 mpg or equivalent; provide acceptable performance; meet all Federal and State emissions requirement; and meet all Federal safety requirements, in addition to other criteria.

The bill also specifies the appointment of a full-time Director to coordinate research, development, demonstration, and commercial application activities in medium- to heavy-duty commercial, recreational, and transit vehicle technologies.

The bill was sponsored by Rep. Gary Peters (D-MI-9) and 16 co-sponsors.


The Goracle


Bankrupting the country with spending like this is cool!!! I like it that children now in grade school will each owe the federal government (borrowed from China) $100,000, plus, when they start working. HA!!! I don't have to pay for it so spend away! Good luck kids.

Praise be to Algore.



Uh goracle... thats less then what bush was spending on the exact same thing...


Bush was only following in Reagan's footsteps.

Roger Pham

Ah hah, Mr. Goracle! You obviously are neither scientist nor engineer, or else, you should be thrilled at the support for technologies that will help America win independence from petroleum. And in so doing, will employ more scientists and engineers...and that could be you, if you're qualified.

If you're working for the disinformation department of companies who would stand to lose if vehicles will gain fuel efficiency, then, my sympathy and condolence to you!


Often, new money is sent old companies for repeated, nonproductive research.

Nearly all advanced countries consider healthy citizens their greatest resource and national defense.

Other nations just hope their uninsured 50 million citizens won't infect the heartless insured or their children.

Dice anyone?


That money would be better spent on good lawyers to relinquish Chevron's control of the NiMH battery; then the market would do all these good things for us, at no taxpayers' expense.


Mark BC,

With the Patriot Act:

Citizens can be jailed without judge or phone call indefinitely ("under investigation" note each sixty days)

Warrant-less search of all (National Security Letters) communications

Individuals can be declared 'terrorist countries', without rights etc

but it would be illegal to end a patent for national security.


Excellent 26 ways to undo what the Big-3 have wrongly done over the last 50 odd years. This program is essential to force the Big-3 to change their ways and produce cleaner vehicles using much less imported crude oil. What is a bit unfair, is that the general public will end up paying for most of it.

The same could be said of the big banks and the tar sands oil extraction people. Both will have to be bailed out with public money.


HD, the ten year Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles billions of dollars didn't, directly or indirectly, address which of this 26 ways - yet where's the 80 mpg production '3 Big' sedans?

What we got was two of the 'Big 3' bankrupt.

These give-aways should be halted or returned, with interest, if significant, ongoing production implementations aren't successfully marketed.


Retrofitting existing vehicles has enormous potential to be "green" from a resource reuse perspective (i.e., not treating cars as throw-away items), but it's something that the auto manufacturers have been loathe to touch. It would be great to encourage innovative companies to design energy-efficiency retrofits--like better drivetrains, better tires, lightweight body panels and other components. I can imagine a second life for older cars with worn out drivetrains--conversion to EVs.


J.A. has nailed it. We completely ignore the retrofit of existing vehicles with EV and Hybrid drivetrains. That is a good use of existing vehicles for people that can't afford a new car and a much better use of exiting cars than scrapping and recycling from an energy perspective. I'm glad to see bullet 24 in the list.

I know it's not popular with the Big 3 and Toyota, Honda, BMW,etc. because they want to sell new cars. But we're not here to make them happy but find ways to make our fleet more efficient and do it so that everyone can afford to participate.

Roger Pham

Having health insurance or not is a private matter, just as whether a person owns a car or not. Do we worry about those Americans who do not own a car? And should our next President offer to buy cars for everyone who can't afford one, or do not want one?

But, the government should give out research grants for "risky" but vital areas that do not offer immediate financial rewards. The very "Internet" and WWW that we surf endlessly today is the result of the US dept of defense, as well as countless electronics and telecommunication and computer technologies that spun off from initially-far-out defense and aerospace research and basic government-grant research.

Being "risky research" subjects mean that for most of the time, the money seems to be wasteful...but the knowledge gain is extremely valuable for the commercial sector to later to capitalize on for profitable products. What do we gain from the billions USD spent on PNGV? Answer: fine HEV's like the Prius, Ford Escape hybrid, Fusion hybrid, Civic hybrid, and the knowledge gained from PNGV will later be applied to future PHEV's and BEV's as well.

You have a good point on the potential for Fraud, Waste and Abuse in utilizing these research grants...but that is another subject matter altogether, and NO Government program is free from Fraud, Waste and Abuse! No program ever!


Roger Pham,

"Having health insurance or not is a private matter, just as whether a person owns a car or not. Do we worry about those Americans who do not own a car?"

Let's buy a car as if it were US health insurance:

First, complete these forms exposing you and your entire family tree's genetics and health history. At our disgression, any errors or oversights and we will repossess the car.

We sell annual car models. If you can not prove continuous annual car purchases - you will be ineligible for a car purchase.

Do you have any 'pre-existing conditions' (too fat, thin, diabetic, yeast, over 25 years of age, over 30, 35, ..our definitions - subject to change) you will be
ineligible for a car purchase or only at several times the sticker price.

Each car manufacturer maintains their version of these sales contracts and there are NO used cars. You are driving this year's model or you have no car.

With the health insurance manner of buying a car - COULD YOU AFFORD A CAR? COULD YOUR WIFE, KIDS, GRANDPARENTS, ....

Also, without a car you could not arrive for healthcare. In otherwords, you and your's will die - as 20,000 carless American citizens do EACH YEAR.

It's called public health, not 'private matter' - especially in this age of bioterrorism.

As for research, fund the basic science (NASA, Defense) and leave cars to private enterprise.

Already, the PNGV cost seven (7) billion tax dollars and yeilded no cars and two bankruptcies so far.



Comparing health insurance to owning a car is ludicrous. I own two cars, a 1983 Toyota pickup and a 1991 Honda Civic hatchback. They're reliable, economical and of course have little value but they get me around. Insurance on them costs me about $20 per month. I have no health insurance. Full coverage health insurance would cost me more than $1000 per month. I don't make $1000 a month so having health insurance isn't really a choice for many(50,000,000) of us.


Any money spent on EV development is OK with me. It certainly beats flushing it down a rathole like Iraq.
(Afganhistan is a different matter).
Of course there will be waste. There is plenty of waste in the private sector, too. But any nudge in the direction of EV's is a good thing for the fed. govt to do.


Every year, sales of American cars have gone down while sales of non-Americar cars have gone up. Has anyone wonder why the Big-3 market share has gone from vertually 100% to around 40% in the last 50 years?

Could it be that the relative performance and technology gap grew so large that people noticed. Big-3 cars do about 18 mpg while others do 35+ mpg. Bigger is better is not true for everybody.

Could it be that the relative quality gap also grew so much that many people switched to other brands. Many got tired of driving lemons and bought trouble free cars. My last lemon was a huge 5000+ lbs, 400 cu. inch V-8 monster, 20+ years ago.

Will the Big-3 (if they still exist) produce competitive cars by 2012-2015? If they can't do it, they should be allowed go Chapter 7 and become history.


"Will the Big-3 (if they still exist) produce competitive cars by 2012-2015?"

What's their incentive? They know taxpayers will bail them out regardless, and the failing management wont even get the boot. It's a circus.


Reading these Healthcare debates made me laugh. American drivers gladly let somebody else pay for their driving; if it weren't for the subsidies you'd be paying $10-15/gallon, and gas taxes don't come anywhere near paying for the roads.

Pao Chi Pien

Many of the listed 26 supported areas for research activities have been pursued experimentally for decades with billions of dollars already spent. It is not likely that further significant fuel saving and emission reduction can be obtained by engine experiments alone without applying thermodynamics principle. Because the thermodynamic properties of working fluids of real engine are not in equilibrium, the equilibrium thermodynamics seems having no use at all. However, for thermodynamic analysis of a reciprocating engine performance, it is only required to know the average value of the temperature rather than the temperature distribution as described below.

The reciprocating internal combustion engine is a device to convert fuel chemical energy into mechanical work. Even though combustion taking place inside the cylinder, it is equivalent to combustion taking place out side the cylinder and the converted heat being transferred to the gas inside the cylinder. The heat so transferred is denoted by Q+. The ensuing expansion process converts a part of the thermal energy into mechanical work. The remaining part of the thermal energy is rejected from the cylinder at the end of expansion process. The heat transferred from inside the cylinder to the outside by the exhaust gas is denoted by Q-. By definition, the thermal efficiency is equal to (Q+ - Q-)/Q+. Heat loss during the combustion process reduces Q+. Heat loss during expansion process increases reduces Q-. Thermodynamic analysis of a reciprocating engine performance can be limited to combustion and expansion processes. The rest of processes are for logistics to replenish cylinder with fresh charge.

The necessary equations of the state to relate working fluid state at point 2 to that at point 1 are derived from idea gas law. Gases have various properties including the gas pressure p, temperature T, mass m, and volume V that contains the gas. If any two of the properties are fixed, the nature of the relationship between the other two is determined as follows. If the pressure and temperature are held constant, the volume of the gas depends directly on the mass. If the mass and temperature are held constant, the product of the pressure and volume is a constant (Boyle’s Law). If the mass and pressure are held constant, the volume is directly proportional to the temperature (Charles’ law). By combining these two laws, pV/T is always a constant when work is done on or by the gas or heat is transferred into or from the gas, as the gas going through a thermodynamic process. Because pV/T is always a constant, the equation p2V2/T2 = p1V1/T1 is true in every instance including when all gas properties are in equilibrium. Therefore, the equation p2V2/T2 = p1V1/T1 is an equation of the state to relate the gas properties in equilibrium at point 2 to that in equilibrium at point 1 so that the law of conservation of energy can be met. According to Dalton’s law, a gas mixture behaves in exactly the same fashion as a pure gas. Therefore, the equation of the state, p2V2/T2 = p1V1/T1, relates working fluid state at point 2 to that at point 1 regardless whether process 1-2 is isentropic or not. The pressure reaches equilibrium quickly and thus p2/p1 = (V1/V2)k can be taken as another equation of the state of working fluid. There two equations of the state of the working fluid can be used to compute the pressure p and the average temperature T of the working fluids in every instance. Because idea gas law is taught in high school physics, anybody having taken high school physics can understand how a reciprocating IC engine works and know how to improve it.


To be fair, give research grants to new auto firms, which haven't wasted prior grants.

For healthcare, all Americans must legally receive the same health insurance of their public servants - our senators and representatives.



Can you believe this is the proposed answer to unaffordable health insurance:

Be penalized up to $1500 per year/person if unable to afford health insurance .. Baucus Bill



Where have you seen Big-3's 80 mpg sedans?

All I see are 15 mpg monsters.



Below are the three 70+ mpg vehicles our taxes paid seven billion dollars for and then never went into production:

Roger Pham

@kelly & sascatcher

My sympathy and condolence to all those who are unable to get health insurance, extending to all those who are turned down when buying a car or a house due to bad credit or unable to qualify for loans.

However, please realize that it is the very existence of Health Insurance, or Third Party Payor system in general, that has wrecked the American Health care system, escalating the cost of obtaining health care and bankrupting our industries and our economy. A third-party payor system removes incentives for cost-cutting practice, while forcing physicians to order a battery of less pertinent tests just for CYA (Cover Your A**) purpose.

Let's look at this example: A patient in his 30's who is about to lose his job came to see his Dr. for recent episodes of non-exertional chest pain. He has a lot of anxieties and financial difficulties recently, but he has low risk for heart diseases based on lipid profiles and familiar history and body habitat, etc. The Dr. will immediately order an EKG, Chest X-ray, General Chemistries, Treadmill Stress testing, and even D-Dimer test, etc. in order to rule out cardio-pulmonary etiologies for the chest pain. If this man has no insurance, he will defer these thousand-dollar tests for later, since he can't afford them, and the Dr. will Rx him tranquilizers such as X*nax, and stress management counseling...THE DR. DOCUMENTED ON THE CHART THAT PT. REFUSES THESE TESTS, SO THAT THE DR. WON'T BE SUED LATER ON FOR "NEGLIGENCE" IN FAILURE TO ORDER APPROPRIATE TESTS, should in a 1/1000th chance that he may have underlying coronary disease.

And lo and behold, his chest pain went away with simple stress management, at the cost of under $100 for the office visit and medication...Had he has good insurance, this same patient would have cost the health care system thousands of dollars for the same outcome. In the case that THIS PATIENT HAS INSURANCE, THE DR. WILL HAVE LITTLE LEGAL STANDING FOR NOT ORDERING THESE LOW-YIELD BUT EXPENSIVE TESTS, in the 1/1000th chance that he ended up having coronary heart disease.

The Dr.'s license and 11-15 years of education costing hundreds of thousands of dollars cannot be sacrifice just for the purpose of reducing the cost of health care and saving the Insurance Company some money!!!


Only in America would THAT kind of logic work.

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