The latest round of funding to be announced by the US Department of Energy’s Vehicle Technologies Office includes support for a wide range of projects designed to advance low-carbon transportation technologies, including several EV-related initiatives.
A big chunk of the money—$60 million—will go to the United States Advanced Battery Consortium to further develop pre-competitive vehicle-related battery R&D. Focus areas include EV batteries using abundant and domestically available battery materials and more cost-efficient battery recycling processes.
The remaining $71 million will be distributed among 27 projects. Some of these are also focused on advancing battery technology—three companies and four educational institutions will receive multi-million-dollar grants to research lithium-sulfur batteries. The lowly lead-acid battery remains in the mix—East Penn Manufacturing scored $1.6 million to research “Improved 12-Volt Lead-Acid Batteries for Safety-Critical Electric Vehicle Applications.”
Other technologies receiving funding support include vehicle lightweighting, wireless charging and autonomous vehicles.
Most scientists and most manufacturers now believe that battery-electric vehicles represent the best way to reduce transport emissions, and fortunately this reflected in the fact that the majority of this research funding is going to battery-related projects. However, as long as the fossil fuel industry commands political support, every round of federal funding will probably include a chunk of money for hydrogen. Diesel engine manufacturers Cummins, PACCAR and MAHLE were each awarded $3.5 million for R&D related to hydrogen internal combustion engines for heavy-duty vehicles. Clemson University will receive $2.5 million to develop a dimethyl ether engine for off-road applications.