The DOE will award $49.4 million in new funding for projects that accelerate research and development of new vehicle technologies. The announcement identifies 13 areas of interest, of which 7 are described as “critical technologies” to meet the EV Everywhere Grand Challenge, which has a goal of making EVs more affordable and convenient to own than legacy vehicles within a decade.
Areas of interest that relate to EVs include:
- Development of low-cost, high-strength automotive aluminum sheet
- Development of carbon fiber composites
- Beyond lithium-ion technologies
- Commercialization of power electronics using wide-bandgap semiconductors
- Tire efficiency
- Multi-speed gearbox for electric commercial delivery vehicles
- Climate control auxiliary load reduction
Announcing the new funding at the Washington Auto Show, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said, “Today, the American auto industry is on the rise, experiencing the best period of growth in more than a decade. The new research and development funding announced today will help support our domestic automakers’ continued growth and make sure that the next generation of advanced technology vehicles are built right here in America.”
The DOE also released a progress report highlighting the growth of the US plug-in industry. Among the achievements noted:
- The US plug-in market is on track to pass the 200,000 sales milestone by spring 2014 – nearly two years earlier than hybrids reached this milestone since their introduction.
- Over the last four years, the cost to manufacture EV batteries has fallen by 50 percent, while size and weight have been reduced by over 60%.
- Kelley Blue Book ranked the Chevrolet Volt as #6 on its list of vehicles with the lowest total cost of ownership for five years.
- In the first year of the Workplace Charging Challenge, over 50 employers have pledged to provide charging access to their workforce at more than 150 sites.