July 16, 2020. Today, in his remarks at General Motors in Detroit, U.S. Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette announced $139 million in federal funding for 55 projects across the country that will support new and innovative advanced vehicle technologies. Six of these innovative projects will be led by teams in Michigan.
“Technological innovation is key to revitalizing America’s manufacturing competitiveness, especially in the transportation sector,” said Secretary Brouillette. “I’m excited to announce that six of the 55 total projects will be led by teams here in Michigan, a state that has been the backbone of the American automobile industry for years. The Trump Administration is committed to investing in technologies that expand access to affordable mobility and provide consumers with a wide range of transportation options to meet their needs.”
Funded through the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), projects will conduct research in advanced batteries, electrification, and manufacturing in support of DOE’s Energy Storage Grand Challenge. Announced by Secretary Brouillette in January 2020, the Energy Storage Grand Challenge is a comprehensive strategy to create and sustain U.S. global leadership in energy storage technology, utilization, and exports.
Among the projects announced today, EERE’s Vehicle Technologies Office (VTO) and EERE’s Advanced Manufacturing Office (AMO) are collaborating on two projects totaling $15 million aimed at lightweight and high-performance fiber-reinforced polymer composites for vehicle applications. First, a Ford-led team, in collaboration with DOE’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory and other partners, will develop multi-functional composite structures with electronics integration for cross car beam applications. Second, a General Motors-led team is developing fiber-reinforced composites for high volume manufacturing of structural battery enclosures. Michigan State University’s Scale Up Research Facility is partnering with both teams. The facility was established with DOE funding under the Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation.
Selected projects under this funding opportunity will be managed by VTO. VTO research pathways focus on fuel diversification, vehicle efficiency, energy storage, lightweight materials, and new mobility technologies to improve the overall energy efficiency and affordability of the transportation system.
For example, the projects will:
- Advance lithium-ion batteries using silicon-based anodes,
- Reduce the need for critical minerals such as rare-earth materials in electric drive motors and platinum group metals in emission catalysts,
- Accelerate the development of smart charging technologies to mitigate potential electric vehicle impacts on the grid and maintain low-cost charging for consumers,
- Improve efficiency for light-duty gasoline engines, medium- and heavy- duty natural gas engines, and agricultural off-road vehicles,
- Increase demonstrations and infrastructure for advanced technology vehicles, including those for gaseous fuels,
- Develop lightweight and high-performance fiber-reinforced polymer composites for vehicle applications, and
- Support mobility technologies such as connected and automated vehicles, as well as innovations in transit.