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DOE Provides up to $19 Million for Advanced Vehicle Technologies

US Department of Energy (DOE) today announced the selection of five next-generation vehicle research projects, which will receive up to $19 million in DOE funding to further the development of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs), and fuel cell vehicles (FCVs). Combined with industry's cost share, projects selected for negotiation of awards total $33.8 million (FY'07-'10). The five projects support advanced power electronics and electric motor technologies to help bring advanced PHEV, HEV, and FCV applications to market in support of President Bush's Twenty in Ten plan, which seeks to reduce U.S. gas consumption by twenty percent within the decade by increasing the use of alternative and renewable sources of energy and modernizing the current Corporate Average Fuel Efficiency (CAFE) standards.

"These projects will not only help alleviate our 'addiction to oil' but also play a critical role in accelerating commercialization and making more clean and efficient alternative vehicles available to consumers," Assistant Secretary Karsner said. "Not only will more alternative vehicles on the road help reduce our reliance on imported sources of energy, it's also critical to confronting climate change."

Projects will focus on reducing the cost, weight, and size of electric drive and power conversion devices while also increasing vehicle efficiency. Selected projects focus on advancing research on four areas: high-temperature three-phase inverters; high-speed motors; integrated traction drive systems and; bi-directional DC/DC converters.

Selected projects are as follows:

Delphi Automotive Systems in Troy, Michigan, has been selected for negotiation of an award of up to $4.9 million for high-temperature three-phase inverter research. Three-phase inverters control and regulate the speed of electric motors. Other team members include Dow Corning, GE Global Research, GeneSiC, Argonne National Laboratory, and Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University of Blacksburg, Virginia, has been selected for negotiation of an award of up to $1.7 million for a project that will focus on developing an advanced softswitching inverter for reducing switching and power losses. Other team members include Azure Dynamics, Powerex, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

General Electric Global Research of Niskayuna, New York, has been selected for negotiation of an award of up to $3.4 million for work on developing high-speed electric motors. Specifically, this work will focus on increasing the traction motor drive power density and efficiency at reduced costs for PHEVs, HEVs and FCVs by developing an electric motor of at least 55kW peak power and capable of high speed operation - with a goal of at least 14,000 revolutions per minute (RPM). Team members include GE Motors and the University of Wisconsin at Madison.

General Motors Corporation in Torrance, California, has been selected for negotiation of an award of up to $7.9 million for development of a combined traction motor and power electronic inverter for PHEV, HEV, and FCV. This aims to lower the cost, weight, and package volume, and increase efficiency. Team members include Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Ames National Laboratory, Arnold Magnetics, Encap Technologies, Isothermal Systems Research, and AVX.

U.S. Hybrid Corporation of Torrance, California, has been selected for an award of up to $1.3 million for a bi-directional DC/DC converter for PHEVs. This work will include a vehicle system study to determine the optimum operating battery and DC-link voltages, allowing for higher efficiency and lower costs. Team members include University of Illinois, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and SiCED.

Advancing vehicle technologies is a significant part of DOE's Vehicle Technologies Program, which aims to develop vehicle technologies and alternative fuels that could dramatically reduce the demand for petroleum, decrease emissions of air pollutants and greenhouse gases, and enable the U.S. transportation industry to sustain a strong, competitive position in domestic and world markets.

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