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DOE to Award $187M to 9 Projects to Improve Vehicle Efficiency for Heavy-Duty Trucks and Passenger Vehicles

The US Department of Energy (DOE) will award more than $187 million to nine projects to improve fuel efficiency for heavy-duty trucks and passenger vehicles. The funding includes more than $100 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and with a private cost share of 50%, will support nearly $375 million in total research, development and demonstration projects.

Three projects will focus on cost-effective measures to improve the efficiency of Class 8 long-haul freight trucks by 50%. These projects will receive more than $115 million in funding to develop and demonstrate systems-level fuel efficiency technologies by 2015, including improved aerodynamics, reducing engine idling technologies, waste heat recovery to increase engine efficiency, advanced combustion techniques, and powertrain hybridization.

The remaining six projects totaling more than $71 million will support efforts to increase the fuel economy for passenger vehicle engines and powertrain systems. The goal is to develop engine technologies that will improve the fuel economy of passenger vehicles by 25-40% by 2015 using an engine-only approach.

The following projects have been selected for awards under two topic areas:

Systems Level Technology Development, Integration, and Demonstration for Efficient Class 8 Trucks (SuperTrucks)
Cummins Inc. Develop and demonstrate a highly efficient and clean diesel engine, an advanced waste heat recovery system, an aerodynamic Peterbilt tractor and trailer combination, and a fuel cell auxiliary power unit to reduce engine idling. $38,831,115
Daimler Trucks North America, LLC Develop and demonstrate technologies including engine downsizing, electrification of auxiliary systems such as oil and water pumps, waste heat recovery, improved aerodynamics and hybridization. $39,559,868
Navistar, Inc. Develop and demonstrate technologies to improve truck and trailer aerodynamics, combustion efficiency, waste heat recovery, hybridization, idle reduction, and reduced rolling resistance tires. $37,328,933

Advanced Technology Powertrains for Light-Duty Vehicles (ATP-LD)
Chrysler Group LLC Develop a flexible combustion system for their minivan platform based on a downsized, turbocharged engine that uses direct gasoline injection, recirculation of exhaust gases, and flexible intake air control to reduce emissions. $14,458,572
Cummins Inc. Develop a fuel-efficient, low emissions diesel engine that achieves a 40% fuel economy improvement over conventional gasoline technology and significantly exceeds 2010 EPA emissions requirements. $15,000,000
Delphi Automotive Systems LLC Develop a novel low-temperature combustion system, coupled with technologies such as continuously variable valve control and engine downspeeding, to improve fuel economy by at least 25%. $7,480,572
Ford Motor Company Achieve a 25% fuel economy improvement with a gasoline engine in a 2010 mid- to large-size sedan using technologies including engine downsizing, turbo-charging, direct injection, and a novel exhaust aftertreatment system. $15,000,000
General Motors Co. Develop an engine that uses lean combustion and active heat management, as well as a novel emissions control system, to improve the fuel economy of a 2010 Malibu demonstration vehicle by 25%. $7,705,862
Robert Bosch Demonstrate a high compression, turbo-charged engine based on homogeneous charge compression ignition technology (a combustion technology that allows for lower emissions and higher efficiency) to achieve up to 30% fuel economy improvement in a gasoline-fueled light-duty vehicle. $11,953,786

The final details of each award contract will be finalized in negotiations between DOE and the grantee.


I would have liked to see more hydrogen and other alternative fueled projects funded, instead of just incremental changes, but at least one of the projects (from Cummins) will include fuel cells to provide auxiliary power instead of engine idling. There is a huge opportunity for this application.

Stan Peterson

Battery Plug powered rechargeable APUs for HVAC are no longer an exploratory technology. They are already showing up on the market.

They have an out-sized possibilities for fuel savings. It is common for long haul truckers to keep their main engine idling as they sleep, merely to provide HVAC for their sleeper compartment. In colder climes, they do this to also keep their diesels starteable.

If you have sufficient electric power to keep warming the engine and its oil, it is not necessary to run the main diesel.

Complicating it with an expensive Fuel Cell APU is a waste of time and needless complication. Storing H2 without its evaporating away means that truck stops must have it on hand, and truckers will waste lots of H2 just evaporating away.


They may use the Franklin copper ceria SOFC, it can take diesel fuel directly. Just because a story says "fuel cell" don't automatically assume that it means PEM and compressed hydrogen.

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