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US DOE awards more than $175M to 40 projects for advanced vehicle research and development

The US Department of Energy will award more than $175 million over the next three to five years to accelerate the development and deployment of a range of advanced vehicle technologies. The funding will support 40 projects across 15 states and will help improve the fuel efficiency of next generation vehicles.

The funds will leverage additional investments by the grantees to support projects totaling more than $300 million. The selections announced focus on eight approaches to improving vehicle efficiency:

Advanced fuels and lubricants: Eight projects awarded to improve fuels and lubricants that will enable optimal performance of advanced combustion engines.

Advanced fuels and lubricants
GranteeDescription DOE award
Alliance for Sustainable Energy, LLC—NREL This project will determine levels at which higher alcohols and other advanced oxygenated fuel components can be readily integrated into the existing fuel supply (i.e., drop-in replacement fuels). $1,506,164
Ford Motor Company This project will identify fuel properties that can be used to enable novel combustion strategies with low emissions of nitrogen oxides in an engine, and enhance existing models to capture the effect of additional key fuel properties on combustion. $1,500,000
Wisconsin Engine Research Consultants LLC This project will optimize fuel-based control of novel combustion strategies in light- and heavy-duty vehicles to enable diesel-like efficiencies with ultra-low engine-out emissions. $1,500,000
MIT This project will investigate the use of novel lubricant formulations that target differing lubrication requirements of the major engine subsystems (e.g., valve train vs. bearings). $1,497,531
Ford Motor Company This project will research, develop, and demonstrate polyalkylene glycol (PAG)- based engine oil technology which can reduce engine friction relative to conventional petroleum-based and synthetic oils. $1,200,000
Oak Ridge National Laboratory (dba UT-Battelle, LLC) This project will investigate the use of ionic liquids as a new class of multi-functional (anti-wear and friction modifier) lubricant additives to allow the use of lower viscosity engine oils, to improve engine efficiency. $1,200,000
MIT This project will enable diesel-like efficiency and increased maximum power output in a gasoline engine by using a secondary fuel to suppress engine knock under high load. $962,497
UChicago Argonne LLC This project will develop boron-based lubricant additives to achieve higher fuel economy, longer durability, and better environmental compatibility in future and legacy engines. $800,000

Light-weighting materials: Five projects awarded to accelerate commercial availability of lighter weight vehicles using advanced materials that dramatically reduce vehicle weight while maintaining the highest safety standards.

Light-weighting materials
GranteeDescription DOE award
Metal Oxygen Separation Technologies Inc. This project will develop a new process that enables low-cost, domestic manufacturing of magnesium. Increased availability of magnesium can enable vehicle weight reduction and improvement in fuel efficiency. $6,000,000
Zoltek Companies, Inc. This project will develop a novel low cost route to carbon fiber using a lignin/PAN hybrid precursor and carbon fiber conversion technologies leading to high performance, low-cost carbon fiber. Increased availability of low cost carbon fiber can enable vehicle weight reduction and improvement in fuel economy. $3,748,865
United States Automotive Materials Partnership, LLC This project will validate crash models for carbon-fiber composites that would enable the use of lightweight composites in primary-structural automotive crash and energy management applications. $3,500,000
United States Automotive Materials Partnership, LLC This project will design, engineer, fabricate and test an integrated magnesium-intensive automotive assembly focused on a 45% weight reduction over currently-used steel counterpart structures. $3,000,000
Plasan Carbon Composites This project will evaluate and validate models for predicting the crash behavior of carbon fiber composites by building and testing subcomponent structures. $2,493,000

Light weight multi-material prototype: Two projects awarded to design, build, and test a light-weight vehicle that is 50 percent lighter than a baseline light-duty vehicle. These projects are being undertaken as part of the Clean Energy Dialogue with Canada.

Demo Project for Multi-material light-weight prototype vehicle
GranteeDescription DOE award
Vehma International of America, Inc. This project will develop and validate a “new passenger vehicle design architecture” which facilitates a 50% weight reduction through the extensive use of lightweight and high strength materials. $10,000,000
Chrysler Group LLC This project will develop and demonstrate a cost effective, light-weight, multi-material vehicle incorporating technologies targeting 50% weight reduction. $10,000,000

Advanced cells and design technology for electric drive batteries: Twelve projects awarded to develop high energy or high power batteries for electric vehicles that should significantly exceed existing state-of-the-art technologies in terms of performance and/or cost.

Advanced cells and design technology for electric drive batteries
GranteeDescription DOE award
The Pennsylvania State University This project will develop a high energy density lithium-sulfur cell technology that significantly reduces battery size, and improves performance and life. $5,000,000
Amprius, Inc. This project will develop next generation, high-energy lithium ion cells leveraging silicon anodes, doubling the capacity of state of the art vehicle batteries. $4,998,336
Dow Kokam, LLC This project will develop and deliver low cost, large format cells with extremely high energy density, that meet performance, life, and safety requirements of electric drive vehicles. $4,986,984
Applied Materials Inc. The project will design and assemble a low cost, high volume manufacturing module for fabricating high capacity metal alloy anodes in a continuous roll-to-roll configuration. $4,902,862
Seeo, Inc. This project will develop high-energy cells using a lithium metal anode and a proprietary solid polymer electrolyte that significantly reduces battery cost and size, and improves life and safety. $4,874,391
Nanosys, Inc. This project will develop next generation, high-energy lithium ion cells leveraging high voltage composite cathode materials and silicon based anodes doubling the capacity of state of the art vehicle batteries. $4,840,781
3M Company This project will develop a cell, with high energy density at low cost for Lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries for automotive applications by integrating advanced chemistries and enabling technologies related to electrode preparation. $4,577,909
Miltec UV International, LLC This project will develop and demonstrate the use of Ultraviolet (UV) and Electron Beam (EB) curing technology to reduce the cost of manufacturing Lithium ion battery electrodes more than 50%. $4,405,935
Johnson Controls, Inc. This project will develop and demonstrate a portfolio of advanced manufacturing process improvements to significantly reduce the manufacturing cost of large format Li-ion cells by 50%. $3,673,132
A123 Systems, Inc. This project will develop and demonstrate dry process electrode fabrication to reduce cost of EV and PHEV’s innovations in lithium ion battery production. $2,992,744
DENSO International America, Inc. This project will develop and demonstrate an innovative battery thermal management system that will allow vehicle OEMs to reduce the size of PHEV & EV battery packs or increase the drive range. $2,610,555
Optodot Corporation This project will conduct research and development to reduce the cost of manufacturing lithium ion batteries by 40% by incorporating new inactive components and by utilizing a simpler and faster battery assembly process. $2,249,127

Advanced power electronics and electric motor technology: Four projects awarded to develop the next generation of power inverters and electric motors to meet demanding performance targets while achieving significant cost reductions.

Advanced power electronics and electric motor (PEEM) technology
GranteeDescription DOE award
General Motors LLC This project will develop high performance, low-cost power module and inverter switching technologies that lead to the design and fabrication of the next generation of power inverters. $6,000,000
General Electric This project will develop high-performance motors with non-rare earth materials by concurrently engineering advanced motor designs, materials, thermal management, and motor controls. $5,967,114
Azure Dynamics, Incorporated This project will develop an inverter with improved thermal performance with focus on materials and technology innovations to improve efficiency and reduce cost to enable vehicle electrification. $5,355,625
UQM Technologies, Inc. This project will develop a non-rare-earth permanent magnet motor architecture that will enable the use of low energy magnet technology. $3,024,592

Thermoelectric and enabling engine technology: Three projects awarded to improve the efficiency of thermoelectric devices to convert engine waste heat to electricity. Selections of projects to develop early-stage enabling engine technologies to improve fuel efficiency and reduce emissions are expected in September.

Solid state thermoelectric energy conversion devices
GranteeDescription DOE award
Amerigon Incorporated This project will improve passenger car fuel efficiency by 5% through the conversion of exhaust gas waste heat to electric power using a thermoelectric generator. $8,000,000
General Motors, LLC This project will develop a thermoelectric generator (TEG) system to convert waste heat to electric power, with the control systems necessary to utilize that power in a vehicle. $8,000,000
GMZ Energy, Inc This project will demonstrate a robust thermoelectric exhaust waste heat recovery system that provides >5% fuel efficiency improvement for a light-duty vehicle. $8,000,000

Fleet efficiency: Five projects awarded to develop and demonstrate fuel efficient tire and driver feedback technologies that will improve efficiency of the passenger car and commercial fleet.

Fleet efficiency
GranteeDescription DOE award
Cooper Tire & Rubber Company This project will develop and demonstrate a new class of fuel efficient tires, focused on the replacement market, using innovative materials technology and tire design concepts to improve overall fuel efficiency by 3%. $1,500,000
The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company This project will develop and demonstrate an in-tire system for automatically maintaining a set pressure in a commercial truck tire. $1,499,771
PPG Industries, Inc. Monroeville Technical Center This project will research, develop, and validate a modified silica-based tire tread material to reduce tire rolling resistance and a barrier coating to provide extended tire pressure retention. $1,485,851
The Regents of the University of California, Riverside This project will develop and demonstrate driver feedback technology that will improve fuel efficiency of passenger cars and commercial vehicles. $1,210,237
Eaton Corporation This project will develop a simple and inexpensive driver feedback and powertrain management technology to reduce driver-bias on commercial fleets and improve average fleet fuel economy by at least 2%. $914,551

Advanced vehicle testing and evaluation: One project awarded to conduct laboratory and field evaluations of advanced technology vehicles and related infrastructure, while developing new or modified test procedures.

Advanced vehicle testing and evaluation
GranteeDescription DOE award
Electric Transportation Engineering Corp. This project will test and evaluate early production, and pre-production light-, medium-, and heavy-duty advanced technology vehicles using a variety of fuels, energy storage systems, and propulsion systems. $26,420,018



If all findings are (freely and widely) used, these full gamut projects could turn out to be a good investment for the end users (us).

On the other hand, vehicle-tire-ancillaries manufacturers could have done most of that research work many years ago if they had been interested in making more efficient vehicles.


Don't try to make sense of it...just keep borrowing from China to expand government! Who cares? Future generations will have to pay it back...not us!


The could turn out to be a good investment for the end users (us), but probably NOT. But hey, take my money and gamble with it.

But the DOE does its job - spend our money; not necessarily well but on the better of the poor investments - spend lest the DOE be eliminated.

The administration is rewarded - they want to please the 21st century flower children at whatever cost.

The vehicle-tire-ancillaries manufacturers ARE doing their part - making more efficient vehicles, when the buyers want them - without the DOE; because they want to, HAVE TO MAKE money - not spend it.

Roger Pham

@ejj and ToppaTom,
Do you want to give research grants to our US car mfg's and industry so that they will be more successful technologically and commercially, and create more jobs and expand the tax base?
Or would you rather give them bail-out money or unemployment checks when they fail, only?

What should be cut in the budget is subsidies to already very profitable businesses such as oil, gas, farming, etc. to the tune of billions yearly!

It's better to raise the tax rates for the rich instead of borrowing more money from China, or from whomever or don't matter where the money is borrowed from! But, tax increase should be avoided unless the all subsidies to highly profitable businesses (read: highest donors with the deepest lobbying pockets) have been cut and we still have a deficit. I would doubt it! If all the porks and unreasonable entitlement programs are to be removed, I think that the budget stand a good chance of being balanced.

Roger Pham

The above being said, gov. research funding should only be given to vital cutting edge areas of technology with little prospect of immediate return on investment, that few companies would want to risk their hard-earned money. Research funding should not be used as a thank you gifts from elected officials for previous campaign contributions.

There are so much consumer technologies today that came from public research fundings, such as NASA, DARPA (Military) or other goverment-funded research. Heck, the very computer and the internet that we are using right now originated from NASA and DARPA research funding!


The defennse department has driven MANY technological advances. No question.

The government MUST provide for the common defense.

And only NASA could take us to the moon.

We're talking the DOE here.

They mostly just exist and spend money with vague arbitrary goals.

Much might be worthwile when we have money to waste.

Not now.


$175 million is about the cost to run the Iraq war for about 12 hours. Go ahead and scream about wild spending if you want, but please look at where that spending is really taking place. This is not it. You may be against this investment, that's is up to you. I suspect the oil companies and OPEC won't like this investment either. You'll have that in common with people who support terrorism. Hooray for you, the defenders of the oil dependent planet.


Every day, this site reports millions of tax dollars given to profitable, or bailed out, corporations.

What is the result of forty years of these grants? Don't forget, we're approaching the ten year anniversary of Bush's Hydrogen Initiative.

How many $billion hydrogen cars do you see on the road?

The world suffered a Great Depression, from which it learned the required financial regulations and tax rates, especially for the loophole affording rich.

All America's financial problems trace back to Reagan and Wall Street. De-regulation means legalize.

We saw the failure of this Reagan/Bush fraud in the Savings and Loan collapse of the Bush 1 nineties, $130 Billion stolen. We saw the failure of this Reagan/Bush fraud in the 'Global Financial Meltdown of the Bush II 2000's($700 Billion stolen - oops 'bailed out') - and it's about to happen again, only worse.

Simple solution, return to pre-Reagan laws and tax rates - which worked for over forty years.

If Wall Street and the super rich don't like this, make they move to whereever they hide their tax-free(GE's $4B profits..) money.

The Cayman Islands are small and may become boring. How many more Paris Hiltons does the species need..


Bush didn't put any money behind he hydrogen economy, any more than he put money behind sending a man to Mars. He was just very skillful at taking current news items and claiming credit. He did the same with switchgrass -- no money, just talk.


JMartin, Bush handed his buddies $billions, "Since 2001, the Federal Government has provided nearly $18 billion in funding to research, develop and promote alternative energy technologies that help to improve our energy security. The President's 2009 budget seeks more than $3.5 billion for alternative energy technologies.

In 2003, President Bush announced a $1.2 billion hydrogen fuel initiative to help reduce America's dependence on oil by developing the technology for commercially viable hydrogen-powered fuel cells and hydrogen infrastructure needed to power cars, trucks, homes, and businesses. The hydrogen fuel initiative complements the President's FreedomCAR initiative, which is developing technologies needed for mass production of safe and affordable hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicles."

The money($Billion(s)/year) is gone dude, just like the Bush Terror War no-bid, no results, contracts.


I have no fond memories of Bush & and a GOP congress doing a proper job of managing our nation's finances. Bush & Obama have both been disgraceful. But, Obama's stomping on the spending accelerator with little to show for it and sending us into oblivion has been particularly disgusting. Obama and the Democrats have been running the broken record message of "new revenues" recently, but they could have easily rammed through a myriad of new revenues when they had supermajorities in both houses of congress! This whole situation is disgusting & I am doubtful anything is going to change even if the GOP retakes the White House & congress.

Roger Pham

WE all feel your pain, ejj!


The Reagan/Bushes dug a deregulated(lawless) 30 year(minus 1 Clinton surplus year) financial abyss the US can't climb out of, at least not with more Republican greed.

2010 is Obama's ONLY full budget year. No one, no color, can correct the terrorism the Republican NeoCons have done to earth in decades with only years. The middle class has already had most of it's retirement plans value stolen.

What is to be feared even more is that a significant Fed can actually lock away whoever he calls 'terrorist'. Maybe your Fed neighbor thinks your wife is 'hot', but your around.

Read those 350 'Patriot Act' pages carefully. The NSA, FBI, HS, .. is reading your email, think 'National Security Letters' - esp. if your last name begins with a letter.

The US, after the last thirty years, has the THE MOST UNEVEN distribution of wealth in the developed world (besides 37th rated health care).

America has become a 'Banana Republic'

When the US has it's London-like riots, watch what this nation, already with the world's highest imprisoned population percentage, starts doing with what's "on the books 'laws'"

That a once dirt poor, now 'constitutional scholar' lawyer and President, hasn't fought this is perhaps the greatest horror.


USA (and many industrialized countries) will have to learn how to effectively deal with rising competition from China, Korea, India and many Asian countries. We will have to learn how to become MORE not LESS productive. More of the huge current profits will have to be re-invested to make our nation more productive. For years our workers and union members were proud to work less and get paid more. That led the Big-3 and many others into bankruptcy. Bail outs cost $$$$B. The wiser ones moved to Asia, South America, Eastern Europe etc.

The question is who should have the responsibility to see the essential changes done. The majority of profit minded free enterprises will elect to move where they can produce at much lower cost. They don't really care if the middle and lower classes get poorer. Governments cannot do it with reduced middle and lower classes money ONLY. It is not enough. Going deeper in debt has its limits. The burden will have to be better shared.

Rich people will have to pay much more taxes and re-invest more of their huge profits locally to improve productivity. Workers will have to be more productive, ie. produce more for less or same compensation.

Walmart, Cosco, Target, Homedepot, Best Buy, etc etc will have to sell more local products, even if they cost a bit more and profit margins are a bit less.

Promoting new greener economy, such as electrified vehicles, transforming many of our gas guzzlers into more efficient clean vehicles, upgrading-replacing our dirty coal fired power plants with NG, bio-gas, Wind, Solar power plants, promoting the implementation of domestic Solar plants and storage units, promoting the electrification of our railroads, installing new associated infrastructures are all worthwhile but it is going to be very difficult to get local industries on board.

The stick and carrot approach may have to be used to avoid a commercial war with Asia. There are many ways to do it, such as:

1. Impose a stiff goods and services Fed tax and compensate the middle and low wage classes with much lower Income Taxes. This way, you tax the rich and imported goods without hurting the other classes.

2. Tax the gas guzzlers and luxury vehicles i.e. with higher purchase taxes, higher registration fees and fuel taxes. Simultaneously, further lower Income Taxes for the middle and lower wage classes to compensate.

3. Many more possibilities.

Properly announce the overall (productivity-competitiveness) recovery program but introduce it progressively, over 5+ years, to give everybody enough time to adapt.


Americans know they are and have been systematically cheated by the Government and the Wealthy. Wall Street, Congressmen, and their kids aren't being shot in their foreign wars.

"Rah, rah it's off to work we go" may not work another thirty years.


It appears class warfare has found fertile ground.

The underachievers blame EVERYBODY - but themselves.

Roger Pham

Good point, TT. Blame never solve anything. Only by working together can we stave off disaster and chart a promising and prosperous future. Let's embrace all members of society and remind each other of our common destiny and our common goal and our common mission to save the earth from ourselves!

Sometimes, in our struggle for survival, we have to compete with one another for limited resources...ugly confrontation, distortion of the truth if not deception, or outright killing...elimination of the competition...but let's be assured that by working together constructively and by observing some degree of frugality and conservation, we will sufficient resource for everyone. WE have enough science and technology to accomplish that.
No need for the destructive old-style warfare anymore. With nuclear weapon, there will be no winner.


Good news this morning:

1. China has increased its US$ reserves from $2.1T to $3.3T.

2. China has re-valued its currency upward by 12% relative to the USD.

3. USA has devalued its currency downward by 12+% will regards to the Chinese currency.

Which one of 2) or 3) is more correct?

What will be the total net impacts on USA's imports from China (down?), on USA's competitiveness (Up?), on goods and services price in USA (Up?), on Americans standard of living (down?), USA's employment figures (Up?). USA's budget deficits (down?). etc?

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