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Vehicle Technologies Program

Advancing New supports President Obama’s goal


of 1 million plug-in hybrid vehicles
vehicle fuel efficiency would save
consumers over $2 billion annually.
Vehicle Technologies (PHEVs) by 2015. The Program is
also actively working with industry Partnering for Success
and Fuels and state and local governments to
develop domestic battery and
The VT program’s success depends
on its relationship with universities,
Today, America imports more than electric-drive component plants to vehicle and engine manufacturers,
half of the oil we consume, 69 percent secure our energy future. material suppliers, nonprofit technology
of which is used for transportation. organizations, energy suppliers
n Deployment of alternative fuels can and national laboratories. The
Unless action is taken, Americans
rapidly reduce oil imports. The VT FreedomCAR and Fuel Partnership
will continue to be dependent on this
program leads in facilitating and 21st Century Truck Partnership
non-renewable resource and its ever
deployment of alternative fuels are designed to identify and select
fluctuating price and availability.
(ethanol blends, biodiesel, hydrogen, appropriate research and development
Research and development undertaken
electricity, propane, and compressed objectives to achieve the Program and
by the U.S. Department of Energy’s
natural gas) and fuel infrastructures its partners’ strategic goals. Projects
(DOE’s) Vehicle Technologies program
by partnering with state and local are conducted through a variety of
(VT) is helping to change this trend.
governments, universities, and mechanisms including cooperative
The VT program is actively developing industry. agreements, university grants,
and accelerating the deployment of n Reducing vehicle weight directly subcontracts, and in-house research
clean and efficient vehicle technologies, funded at DOE’s national laboratories.
improves vehicle efficiency and
as well as renewable fuels, which
fuel economy, and can potentially
together could dramatically reduce the Program Components Work
reduce vehicle operating costs. The
U.S. demand for petroleum products.
introduction of cost-effective, high- Together: Achieving Results
The VT program works with industry,
strength materials can significantly Hybrid Electric Systems – Hybrid-electric
universities, and state and local govern-
reduce vehicle weight without systems (e.g. energy storage, electric-
ments to strengthen the economy,
compromising safety. drive componens, and systems analysis
create jobs, and make a difference in
and testing) R&D activities continue to
the everyday lives of Americans. n Improved combustion technologies be a hugely successful part of DOE’s
and optimized fuel systems can vehicle research program.
Current Goals and Activities improve near- and mid-term fuel
n Development of hybrid-electric efficiency. Goals are to improve Energy storage technologies, mainly
and plug-in hybrid-electric vehicles efficiency for passenger vehicles to batteries, are critical enabling
can provide significant improvement 45 percent by 2010, and for commer- technologies for the development of
in fuel economy and petroleum cial vehicles to 55 percent by 2013. more fuel-efficient light- and heavy-
displacement. Researchers are duty vehicles. The development of
looking to make batteries more Reducing highway oil use has more durable and affordable advanced
affordable and recyclable, as well potential to improve the Nation’s batteries is essential for wide-spread
as enhance battery range, perfor- energy security than any other action; integration of hybrid-electric and plug-
mance, and life. This research even a one percent improvement in in hybrid-electric vehicles. Currently,
Vehicle Technologies Program

the Program is enabling industry and development of durable and cost- economy measures. This subprogram
state and local governments to build effective high-efficiency materials facilitates deployment and encourages
domestic battery manufacturing and for vehicles. This is accomplished by the adoption of alternative fuels
electric-drive component plants, identifying and addressing materials through partnerships with local, state,
one of the strategic goals set forth in needs based on technological hurdles and federal agencies; public health
President Obama’s Recovery Act. expected to confront envisioned and transportation departments;
advanced vehicle systems. These commercial fleets; transit agencies;
Power electronics and electrical efforts are closely coordinated and other government offices; as well
machines’ technologies are integral to with the other VT subprograms to as auto manufacturers, car dealers,
the advancement of hybrid and plug-in effectively identify future materials fuel and equipment suppliers, public
hybrid electric vehicles acceptance needs and provide efficient technology utilities, and nonprofit associations.
into the market place. These transfer from materials development Since 1993, Clean Cities and its
technologies must be compatible with to component applications. The use stakeholders have reduced petroleum
high-volume manufacturing; must of lightweight, high-performance consumption by 2 billion gallons.
ensure high reliability, efficiency, and materials will contribute to the
ruggedness; and must simultaneously development of vehicles that The VT program’s education activities
reduce cost, weight, and volume. provide better fuel economy, yet are include 10 Graduate Automotive
comparable in size, comfort, and Technology Education Centers of
Technology validation confirms that Excellence at nine U.S. universities,
the technologies the VT program safety to today’s vehicles. The goal is
to develop and validate cost-effective and advanced student engineering
helps create will work in the actual competitions. The latest student
vehicle system under varying high strength materials technologies
that significantly reduce vehicle competition, EcoCAR: The Next
operating scenarios. It is important Challenge, challenges university
to compare the Program’s research weight without compromising cost,
performance, safety, or recyclability. students to reduce the environmental
results with similar work performed impact of vehicles by minimizing
worldwide. Through laboratory Fuels Technology — The fuels and the vehicle’s fuel consumption and
testing, researchers compare vehicles lubricants effort supports R&D that reducing its emissions while retaining
and components to validate models, will provide consumers with fuel the vehicle’s performance, safety and
support the setting of technical options that are cost-competitive, consumer appeal. Many students who
benchmarking targets, and provide enable higher fuel economy, deliver graduate from the student vehicle
data to guide technology development. lower emissions, and reduce the use of competitions, and from the GATE
Advanced Combustion Engine R&D —
imported oil. For example, the team is Program, go on to take jobs in the auto
Boosting the efficiency of internal evaluating the impacts of intermediate industry, government, and academia,
combustion engines is one of the ethanol/gasoline blends (e.g., E15 and where they bring unprecedented
most promising and cost-effective E20) on performance, emissions, and appreciation and understanding of
approaches to increasing vehicle durability of the existing vehicle fleet advanced automotive technologies.
fuel economy over the next 30 and on small, non-road engines.
years. In fact, the United States can
Technology Integration and Deployment
For More Information
cut its transportation fuel use 20 to
— Integrating newly validated Contact the EERE Information Center
40% through commercialization of 1-877-EERE-INF or 1-877-337-3463
technologies is a multi-faceted
advanced engines. The Advanced or visit www.vehicles.energy.gov
challenge incorporating education
Combustion Engine R&D subprogram
and training, consumer education,
is working to identify technologies,
and early adopter support, as well as
configurations, and engine control
supporting relevant legislative and
strategies—such as low-temperature
rulemaking activities.
combustion, variable compression
ratio, and exhaust gas recirculation— Clean Cities is the main deployment
that achieve the best combination of arm of the VT program. It is a
high fuel economy and low emissions government-industry partnership
for advanced internal combustion designed to reduce petroleum
engines, advanced diesel engines, consumption in the transportation Prepared by NREL, a national laboratory of the U.S. Department
hybrid-electric vehicles, and other sector by advancing the use of of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy,
alternative-fueled vehicles. alternative fuels and vehicles, idle operated by the Alliance for Sustainable Energy, LLC.
Materials Technology — Advanced reduction technologies, hybrid DOE/GO-102009-2571 • May 2009
propulsion materials enable the electric vehicles, fuel blends, and fuel Printed with a renewable-source ink on paper containing at least
50% wastepaper, including 10% post consumer waste.