The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) will invest as much as $10 million in the development of battery-electric trucks, forklifts and other cargo vehicles in a further attempt to cut petroleum use by the domestic transportation industry.

The DOE will fund as much as 50 percent of the development of particular technologies related to cargo vehicle electrification, DOE Secretary Steven Chu announced Tuesday. Companies have until May 15 to submit applications, and the DOE will announce funding recipients by September 30.

The Obama Administration, in addition proposing tightened greenhouse-gas emissions standards for light-duty vehicles, is looking to cut pollution from and fuel use by heavy-duty vehicles as well. Last August, the White House proposed standards that would require semi trucks to cut fuel use and emissions by 20 percent by 2018, while heavy-duty vans and pickups would have to cut fuel use by 15 percent. Buses and garbage trucks would be required to reduce fuel use by 10 percent over the same time period.

Such standards would cut $50 billion in fuel expenditures and save about 530 million barrels of oil – surprisingly, that's only equal to about a full month's worth of U.S. heavy-duty truck use – during the lifetimes of trucks built from 2014 to 2018. Companies that have already invested in electric-drive heavy-duty vehicles include California-based Balqon, which makes a battery-powered yard tractor.
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Energy Department Announces up to $10 Million to Promote Zero Emission Cargo Transport Vehicles

March 20, 2012
Energy Secretary Steven Chu today announced up to $10 million available this year to demonstrate and deploy electric transportation technologies for cargo vehicles, such as trucks and forklifts. The Energy Department's support for the development and demonstration of innovative alternative vehicle technologies is helping reduce the nation's reliance on gasoline and diesel and diversifying our nation's energy portfolio. The Administration's investments in advanced vehicles are part of a comprehensive strategy to cut America's oil imports, develop clean alternative fuel vehicles, and help protect American families and businesses from spikes in oil prices.

Electrifying cargo transportation vehicles and infrastructure will slash petroleum use, carbon emissions, and air pollution at transportation hubs, such as ports. The Department seeks applicants for this funding to demonstrate cost-effective zero emission cargo transport systems and collect detailed performance and cost data to analyze the benefits and viability of this approach to freight transportation.

This funding opportunity is open to local governments and private companies, with federal funds matched in a 50% cost share. Detailed application instructions, including eligibility, can be found on DOE's Funding Opportunity Exchange website under Reference Number DE-FOA-0000669. Applications will be accepted until 8 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time on May 15, 2012. DOE anticipates notifying applicants selected for award by the end of July 2012, and making at least one award by September 30, 2012.

The Energy Department's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy accelerates development and facilitates deployment of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies and market-based solutions that strengthen U.S. energy security, environmental quality, and economic vitality. Learn more about DOE's efforts to meet tomorrow's transportation challenges with an integrated portfolio of advanced vehicle and fuel research, development, demonstration, and deployment activities.

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