DOE to fund $55 million in vehicle efficiency, electric vehicle projects

The Obama administration announced Thursday that it will give $55 million to 31 projects that aim to improve electric vehicle technology and increase fuel efficiency for other vehicles.

Nineteen of the projects funded by the Department of Energy (DOE) are part of the Obama administration’s efforts to reduce plug-in electric vehicle prices to the level of combustion vehicles by 2022.

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“Investments in the next generation of vehicle technologies will both strengthen our economy and lead to a more fuel efficient, clean energy future,” Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said in a statement.

“Improving vehicle efficiency is instrumental to establishing a 21st century transportation sector that creates jobs as well as protects future generations from harmful carbon emissions.”

Specifically, the electric vehicle projects aim to develop battery technologies other than lithium ion, the dominant technology currently used for cars. Grant recipients will also try to make vehicle components lighter and reduce drivetrain friction.

The U.S. Army is providing $3.7 million for the electric vehicle grants, the DOE said.

Twelve of the projects the DOE is funding are aimed at improving the efficiency of vehicles that use gasoline or diesel. The department said grantees will work on dual-fuel technologies that reduce petroleum use, improving engine efficiency and getting advanced lubricants to market.