Five years ago this week, the DOE finalized its Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing loan to Tesla Motors, which paid back the $465-million loan nine years early. So it seems like a propitious date to announce a new program that will make over $55 million in loans available for “cutting-edge vehicle technologies that strengthen the clean energy economy.”
Speaking at the Washington Auto Show, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said the new funding is intended for research into lightweight materials, improved batteries and other electrification technologies, especially more convenient recharging. “This is directly supporting our EV Everywhere Grand Challenge,” he said.
“Our goal is to help establish these industries and help them grow,” Moniz said, adding that private partnerships may have a major role. “We think there is an advantage in bringing more lenders and more banks to have experience in terms of getting into debt financing across this whole spectrum of technologies.”
“Energy Department investments in advanced vehicle technologies have had a major impact on the industry, driving down costs for consumers and reducing carbon emissions,” said Moniz. “These projects will continue America’s leadership in building safe, reliable, and efficient vehicles to support a strong, 21st century transportation system.”
The DOE also plans to make up to $35 million available to advance fuel cell and hydrogen technologies – a formal announcement will be made in early February.