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Oak Ridge Says The Numbers Show We Should All Be Happy With Double-Digit Range Limits

We've heard that the next big paradigm shift in electric vehicle acceptance will come with more 150- or 200-mile EVs. But a new study called Optimizing and Diversifying Electric Vehicle Driving Range for US Drivers says that cars that can go that far really won't make sense for anyone to buy until the battery cost can be dropped to $100 per kilowatt hour. Automakers today are incredibly secretive about how much each kWh in a pack costs, but it's safe to say we're nowhere near that goal just yet.

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When the best-selling US truck sheds the equivalent weight of three football fullbacks by shifting to aluminum, folks start paying attention. Oak Ridge National Laboratory took a closer look at whether the reduced fuel consumption from a lighter aluminum body makes up for the fact that producing aluminum is far more energy intensive than steel. And the results of the study are pretty encouraging.

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South Carolina-based BMI Corporation and the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory have developed a simple set of aerodynamic fairings that reduce fuel consumption of long-haul semi trucks by up to 12 percent. The aerospace-inspired add-ons, which BMI calls the SmartTruck UnderTray System, include five individual components that work in harmony to reduce the drag coefficient of tractor trailers. Specifically, the aero add-ons reduce the low pressure area that forms behind a truck.

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BMI Corporation, along with the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, have developed a set of aerodynamic fairings that are claimed to reduce fuel consumption of long-haul semi trucks by 7-12 percent. The aerodynamic add-ons, which BMI calls the SmartTruck UnderTray System, include five individual components that reduce the drag coefficient of tractor trailers.

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The United States Department of Energy has granted IBM 24 million hours of computing time on the supercomputers at the Argonne and Oak Ridge National Laboratories. The reason? Research on lithium air batteries. Lithium air batteries hold a lot of potential for dramatically increasing energy density for electric vehicles, potentially up to 5,000 watt-hours per kilogram.

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Now that Volkswagen has announced plans to build a plant in Chattanooga TN, the automaker may begin partnering with the nearby Oak Ridge National Lab to conduct transportation research. Volkswagen is one of the biggest proponents of diesel engines due to their inherent efficiency and may convince scientists at Oak Ridge to work with VW on diesel research, according to Thom Mason, who runs the lab. Mason was speaking at a Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce meeting. The lab has already been look

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With more emphasis on diesel technology, manufacturers will call on high-tech labs to test and develop new materials. One such location is the High Temperature Materials Laboratory at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Of primary consideration is the new generation of exhaust after-treatment products that must meet stringent durability standards. Analyzing the metals that go into catalytic converters or particulate traps requires state-of-the-art equipment. The research is paying off as one comp

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It looks like national laboratories are expending a lot of effort on developing various aspects of new energy sources. After the Argonne lab announcement of a new material for fuel production facilities, the Department of Energy has given $4.5 million to the Oak Ridge National Laboratory and its partners. Oak Ridge is developing nitrided metallic bipolar plates for use in automotive fuel cells. This award is a follow-up to a previous development deal to demonstrate the potential of material.

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