Just yesterday, Ford's Mark Fields gave a speech in Washington, D.C. asking for U.S. government help in developing plug-in hybrids. Today, the Department Of Energy announced a $30m, three-year, three-project PHEV funding program that is intended to help create vehicles that can drive 40 miles on battery power. ETA of these vehicles is "cost-competitive by 2014 and ready for commercialization by 2016."

The three PHEV projects are:

  • General Motors has been selected for negotiation of an award for a project aimed at enhancement of Lithium-Ion battery packs, charging systems, powertrain development, vehicle integration, and vehicle validation. Following development, the PHEVs will be deployed over a three year period into a demonstration fleet in three regions of the U.S. Other team members include Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.
  • Ford Motor Company has been selected for negotiation of an award for a project to identify a pathway that accelerates commercial mass-production of PHEVs. The project will focus on development of battery systems and deployment of prototype PHEVs. The project will test and demonstrate the propulsion system design, controls, and communications necessary to develop a viable PHEV production program. Team members include Southern California Edison, Electric Power Research Institute, and Johnson Controls-Saft, Inc.
  • General Electric has been selected for negotiation of an award for a demonstration of PHEVs that relies upon an innovative dual-battery energy storage system capable of 40 miles accumulated electric driving range. The project will focus on developing the dual-battery energy storage system in parallel with vehicle integration. GE is partnering with Chrysler for this project.

Read the details from the DOE. While plug-in advocates will certainly welcome this news, the DOE isn't funding PHEVs the same way as other gasoline alternatives. For comparison, the DOE recently announced $130m for fuel cells and $86m for cellulosic biofuels.

[Source: DOE via Green Car Congress]


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