DoE’s 2014 Funding Opportunity Announcement to Focus Mostly on Plug-In Vehicle Advancements

DEC 30 2013 BY ERIC LOVEDAY 12

With 2014 set to roll in soon, the Department Of Energy’s (DoE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) announced that it intends to issue, on behalf of the Vehicle Technology Office (VTO), a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) for Fiscal Year 2014.

Though we don’t yet know what will be included in the announcement (expected to be officially announced sometime in January 2014), the DoE says the following:

 

“The Vehicle Technologies Office supports a broad technology portfolio aimed at developing and deploying cutting-edge advanced highway transportation technologies that reduce petroleum consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, while meeting or exceeding vehicle performance and cost expectations. Research, development, and deployment efforts are focused on reducing the cost and improving the performance of a mix of near- and long-term vehicle technologies including advanced batteries, power electronics and electric motors, lightweight and propulsion materials, advanced combustion engines, advanced fuels and lubricants, and other enabling technologies.”

“Specifically, activities are aimed at meeting the goals and objectives of the President’s EV Everywhere Grand Challenge as well as improvements in other vehicle technologies such as powertrains, fuel, tires, and auxiliary systems and VTO. The EV Everywhere Grand Challenge seeks to make the United States the first country to produce a wide array of plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) models (PEVs, including plug-in hybrids and all-electric vehicles) that are as affordable and convenient as the gasoline powered vehicles we drive today by 2022. The EV Everywhere Blueprint outlines the goals and describes the research, development, and deployment needed to meet the overall EV Everywhere goal as well as other aggressive, technology-specific goals. The technical targets for the DOE PEV program fall into four areas: battery R&D; electric drive system R&D; vehicle lightweighting; and advanced climate control technologies.”

Some specific goals include:

• Cutting battery costs from their current $500/kWh to $125/kWh
• Eliminating almost 30% of vehicle weight through lightweighting
• Reducing the cost of electric drive systems from $30/kW to $8/kW

So, look for most of the funding opportunities to focus on the advancement of plug-in vehicles.  There is a mention of funding for increasing MPG for ICE, but we suspect that the vast majority of the awarded funds will go towards plug-in vehicles.

Look for us to bring you more on this story when the DoE makes the announcement official.

Categories: Battery Tech, General

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12 Comments on "DoE’s 2014 Funding Opportunity Announcement to Focus Mostly on Plug-In Vehicle Advancements"

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I think the manufacturers have enough incentive to keep doing battery research. I think the DoE would be better off spending more money on charging infrastructure. HOWEVER, they need to hire somebody in each metro area to go find the correct locations to get them installed so they end up where people will actually use them. Having good charging at logical locations would go a long way to convincing people to go electric.

I think we need both: more long-term focused R&D, and more infrastructure. Both of these are areas in which any for-profit corporation will hesitate to invest.

Infrastructure is probably more critical though, since today’s EVs are good for most use cases already. I long for the day where some energy company will install fast chargers around the country (not unlike Tesla, except useable by all EVs). Could you imagine a company like Valero rebranding itself as an energy company, and having a CCS charger and CHAdeMO charger next to each of its gasoline and diesel pumps? What would that do to EV adoption? But they won’t make the investment until the cars are there, so in the meantime it’s up to the government to get the ball rolling.

Ha, I disagree with both of you and agree with the DOE. I think the Obama administration has played leader in the EV field and continues to do so. Today’s affordable EVs are good enough for most use cases that involve commute/errands. For these, there’s little infrastructure needed beyond the home and work plugs. And chargers represent a rather simple electrical technology. OTOH, we are right now in Portland, a destination many Seattle locals go to many times a year (or to Vancouver BC – a slightly shorter drive), but for us a rare trip. We have come here in our aging ICE SUV which was removed from insurance-storage for the occasion. There’s plenty of quick-charge infrastructure along the I-5 corridor between Seattle and Portland. But under winter conditions, our 2012 Leaf would have required 3, maybe 4 quick-charge stops to complete the 180-mile trip here. There’s a limit how many times you can stop for 20-30 minutes at a time, with 3 kids in tow. If our winter range was ~40% longer, a rather reasonable single stop would have sufficed. EV technology needs one little extra push in order to deliver cars that will leave ICE vehicles in the… Read more »

And a fourth opinion. I hope the EV Everywhere challenge of keeping the push for work chargers continues strong. Short of that, I agree with Assaf to get the extra push.

The silver lining though is that at least there is some investing going on. Had 2012 elections gone differently and oil lobbyist got their way, we would not have to debate where to invest for the money would be pulled. So I will be happy wherever it goes.

I’m not sure why you’re laughing at me, or what exactly you disagree with.

I will point out that here in upstate NY, there are NO quick chargers at all. I’m happy that you have chargers between Seattle and Portland. That’s what we need between Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse and Albany. Just because you have the chargers doesn’t mean infrastructure isn’t lacking.

I completely agree that battery tech needs to improve, which is why we need both. However, as David says, the car / battery companies already have an incentive to improve the batteries on their own. I suspect, however, that they will focus on evolutionary changes, whereas the DoE can focus on revolutionary changes. The latter involves higher risk / reward, and a longer term focus than the quarterly earnings report.

Sorry, not laughing at you. Just a friendly disagreement starting with the unusual exclamation ‘Ha’.

Seriously, no intent to offend.

As to infrastructure vs. range, I was just pointing out that even *with* the existence of adequate QC infrastructure, the most ubiquitous BEV (Leaf) still falls short of what most people would like to see their car able to do on a typical (not extreme) vacation outing, especially in cold/very-hot weather.

Unless they are keeping some 2014 model surprise-rabbit deep inside their hat (I surely hope so), at the moment it seems that Nissan is *not* feeling too hard-pressed to increase battery-pack capacity.

Again, barring major surprises, 2014 would be the 4th straight model year in which they present the same battery-pack capacity, without the slightest increase. And Renault-Nissan is the most EV-invested among all major automakers. So someone (besides Tesla) needs to light a fire under them.

The way to change the game is to work toward a 250+ mile/charge/day car, AND be able to charge it in our garage. Public charging infrastructure investments are risky right now, as the cars have 3.3kW, 6.6kW, 10kW chargers built into them, and with THREE DIFFERENT PLUGS! How useful is a L2 charger at WalMart that can only get you 10 miles per hour of charge, or a CHAdeMO to the Spark? Or like you said about the charge times with the CHAdeMO chargers along the Portland/Seattle route with your Leaf. They charge too slowly. ALL of them, including the Tesla. Have we not all had that, “uh, I’m a little bit of a moron” feeling while we sit in our car for 20-30 minutes trying to get just a few miles of juice? So here is my two cents on what the govt should do (next) to keep this ball rolling: Standardize the QC port and charging capability: Mandate that by year 20-whatever, all new EV’s have CHAdeMO ports and minimum 6.6kW (10 maybe?) onboard chargers. BTW the Volt is only 3.3kW ugh. Standardize the battery pack form factor: – Design a battery pack “box” that is of a… Read more »

Having EV drivers show some common sense at charging ports would go a long way too. Was at the movies last night- the parking garage, a big one, only has 4 EV parking slots. There were three Leafs and one volt filling them up, but only one Leaf was actually plugged in. So the other three were merely taking advantage of the nicely situated parking spots.

It’s almost worse than getting ICE’d… it’s like your own family stabbing you in the back.

“Eliminating almost 30% of vehicle weight through lightweighting”

Oh boy! I smell a New Year’s resolution coming. Where are the diet pills?!

All EVs to the gym, bright and early every morning, you slackers, you lazy only 80-mile/charge bums, sitting all day/night mooching on some e-s! 😉

“The technical targets…fall into four areas….and advanced climate control technologies.” The Volt is the only current EREV/PHEV, and at that, the 2013/14’s are the only ones allowing heat management thru ‘Hold’ mode. BEV’s have their challenges, and the smaller batteried PHEV’s do too, but the sweet spot of controlling engine use has so far been the exclusive domain of the Chevrolet Volt. Here’s why they might focus on this. I could just go ‘Auto’ for a couple dollars in gas each trip, but over the range exceeding short holiday trips I’m back to running the engine. I frequently do it enough to open the thermostats, warming the battery coolant. I then further milk the heat using just the fan, in BEV mode. Cabin heating initially on battery can wipe out almost 10 miles of range, upping net gasoline use. The defroster also works great on warm coolant, avoiding another source of annoyingly fast range decline, but dare one be caught recirculating cabin air as it cools off. You can drop ‘recirc’ letting cool air hit your toes while it slowly clears the windshield, or you can spend the 17 seconds it takes to engage the dehumidifying a/c on the windshield… Read more »

+1

I’m not sure what you are saying about the Volt? I have a C – Max Energi with the option of running as a hybrid, pure EV, or on the ICE only. On these cold mornings I precondition the cabin while plugged in. The I run the ICE most of the way to work, and shift to EV mode to finish when I get off the interstate and onto the city streets.
I plug in at work, precondition before I leave, and can make it home as an EV.
I am still working out the details on how to maximize EV only use. When the weather gets warmer, and I don’t need the defroster, I will be able to run in EV mode both ways for the entire trip.