DOE to Award $30 Million for Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle Demonstrations
June 12, 2008
DOE has selected three cost-shared projects to develop and demonstrate cost-competitive plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) that are capable of traveling up to 40 miles without recharging. DOE announced on June 12 that General Motors Corporation, Ford Motor Company, and the General Electric Company (in a team with Chrysler LLC) will receive up to $30 million in funding over the next 3 years, subject to congressional appropriations. PHEVs are hybrid vehicles that can be driven in electric-only or hybrid modes and recharged from a standard electric outlet, and a 40-mile all-electric range would encompass most daily roundtrip commutes, satisfying 70% of the average daily travel in the United States without the use of gasoline.
The three projects will aim to develop PHEVs that can be mass produced, compete effectively in the marketplace, and substantially reduce petroleum consumption by offering fuel flexibility to U.S. consumers. Each awardee must develop and demonstrate at least 80 PHEVs over the next three years, starting with 10 vehicles the first year, 20 vehicles the second year, and culminating in 50 vehicles in the third year. The projects mark the first round of selections under a funding opportunity announcement that DOE released in December 2007 as part of its PHEV Technology Acceleration and Deployment Activity. Applications for the second round of funding are due on June 18. See the DOE press release, the DOE Vehicle Technologies Program, and the solicitation on the Grants.gov Web site.
In addition to selecting the three PHEV projects, DOE has added a Ford Escape Plug-in Hybrid Fuel-Flex Vehicle to its own fleet of alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles. The vehicle is equipped with a 10-kilowatt lithium-ion battery supplied by Johnson Controls-Saft that stores enough electric energy to drive up to 30 miles at speeds of up to 40 miles per hour. The Ford Escape is capable of running on E85 fuel, a blend of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline. If the vehicle is fueled exclusively with E85 and electricity, it is capable of consuming less than 75 gallons of gasoline per year. The new Ford Escape will be used to transport DOE employees to official events and meetings in the Washington, D.C., area. See press release from Ford Motor Company.