Manufacturers use propulsion (or powertrain) materials in the components that move vehicles of every size and shape. Conventional vehicles use these materials in components such as the engine, transmission, fuel system, and exhaust after-treatment systems. Electric drive vehicles use propulsion materials in their electric motors and power electronics. Developing advanced propulsion materials is essential to commercializing new, highly efficient automotive technologies that have technical requirements that existing powertrain materials cannot meet.
The Vehicle Technology Office's (VTO) research in propulsion materials focuses on four areas:
- Materials for hybrid and electric drive systems
- Materials for high efficiency combustion engines
- Materials to enable energy recovery systems and control exhaust gases
- Materials by design for use in specific applications
The Materials subprogram hosted a Lightweight and Propulsion Materials workshop in March 2011 in Dearborn, Michigan to understand industry's needs and technology gaps. These reports serve as a benchmark of current state-of-the-art technologies as well as technical goals in these areas.