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DoE Awards Nine Michigan Projects $45M For Vehicle R&D

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U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu Wednesday announced more than $175 million over the next three to five years to accelerate the development and deployment of advanced vehicle technologies.

The  funding will support 40 projects across 15 states and will help improve the  fuel efficiency of next generation vehicles.

Nine Michigan projects have been selected to receive more than $45 million to accelerate the development and deployment of advanced vehicle technologies.

The 40 projects will target new innovations throughout the vehicle, including better fuels and lubricants, lighter weight materials, longer-lasting and cheaper electric vehicle batteries and components, more efficient engine technologies, and more.  This comprehensive approach to vehicle efficiency research and development will help ensure the technologies are available to help automakers achieve recently announced fuel efficiency standards.

Last month, President Obama announced new fuel efficiency standards for cars and light trucks which will bring fuel efficiency to 54.5 miles per gallon by Model Year 2025 and which, combined with steps already taken by this administration, will save American families $1.7 trillion at the pump and reduce oil consumption by 12 billion barrels by 2025.  And Tuesday, the administration announced of first-of-their-kind fuel-efficiency standards for work trucks, buses and other heavy-duty
vehicles, which will save American businesses who operate and own these commercial vehicles approximately $50 billion in fuel costs over the life of the program.

Said Chu: “Investments in the next generation of autos will strengthen our economy and lead to a more fuel-efficient, clean energy future.”

The following nine Michigan projects have been selected for awards:

* Ford Motor Co., Dearborn, $1.5 million. This project will identify fuel properties that can be used to enable novel combustion strategies with low emissions of nitrogen oxides in an engine, and enhance existing models to capture the effect of additional key fuel properties on combustion.

* Ford Motor Co., $1.2 million. This project will research, develop, and demonstrate polyalkylene glycol-based engine oil technology which can reduce engine friction relative to conventional petroleum-based and synthetic oils.

* United States Automotive Materials Partnership LLC, Southfield, $3 million. This project will design, engineer, fabricate, and test an integrated magnesium-intensive automotive assembly focused on a 45 percent weight reduction over currently used steel counterpart structures.

* United States Automotive Materials Partnership, $3.5 million. This project will validate crash models for carbon-fiber composites that would enable the use of lightweight composites in primary-structural automotive crash and energy management applications.

* Vehma International of America Inc., Troy, $10 million. This project will develop and validate a “new passenger vehicle design architecture” which facilitates a 50 percent weight reduction through the extensive use of lightweight and high strength
materials.

* Chrysler Group LLC, Auburn Hills, $10 million. This project will develop and demonstrate a cost effective, lightweight, multi-material vehicle incorporating technologies targeting 50 percent weight reduction.

* Denso International America Inc., Southfield, $2,610,555. This project will develop and demonstrate an innovative
battery thermal management system that will allow vehicle OEMs to reduce the size of PHEV and EV battery packs or increase
the drive range.

* General Motors LLC, Detroit, $6 million. This project will develop high performance, low-cost power module and inverter switching technologies that lead to the design and fabrication of the next generation of power inverters.

* General Motors LLC, Detroit, $8 million. This project will develop a thermoelectric generator system to convert waste heat to electric power, with the control systems necessary to utilize that power in a vehicle.

Read the full list of award  winners.

DOE’s Office of Energy  Efficiency and Renewable Energy currently supports research in electric  drive vehicle systems, advanced combustion engines, materials technologies,  fuels and lubricants, energy storage, and automotive electronics.  The
selected projects address key technology barriers to improving vehicle fuel  economy, such as lowering the cost of lightweight materials.

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