Department Of Energy
The federal government last funded the green-vehicle technology program in 2007.
Figuring out a way for a hybrid powertrain to co-exist with the performance expectations of a classic American muscle car is a challenge that could vex that most experienced automotive engineers. It's a challenge, in fact, being handed to a bunch of college students.
As is its job, the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) continues to bang the drum of what it says is a stacked deck against alternative fuels like ethanol. Earlier this month it took on Big Oil. Now, it's the US Department of Energy (DOE). Go big or go home, huh?
There is death. There are taxes. And there is the US Department of Energy (DOE) periodically funding millions of dollars worth of grants towards advancing hydrogen fuel-cell technology. This time, the DOE says it will write checks for $20 million, and the goal is pretty specific: bringing the production and distribution costs of hydrogen to less than the equivalent of $4 a gallon.
Think 10 miles per gallon, and your mind may harken back to muscle cars along the line of the General Lee from The Dukes of Hazzard. Apply that figure to a semi-truck, though, and we're talking actual fuel-efficiency gains. That's what the four-year-old SuperTruck program shot for, and two of its four teams have already hit that goal.
Hydrogen fuel-cell technology, it's still a California thing. At least, it is according to the US Department of Energy.
The possibility of $1-a-gallon fuel would make a lot of US governmental entities sit up and take notice. The state of Oklahoma and the city of Dallas are making that happen. Those two entities are buying up a bunch of Ford F-150 pickups retrofitted to run on compressed natural gas (CNG), all in the name of cost savings and emissions reduction.
The Department of Energy has made it clear that it favors a technology-somewhat-neutral, "all-of-the-above" strategy for developing energy alternatives for the US, as the new Strategic Plan 2014-2018 (PDF) states. What this looks like in the real world is another $10 million for "Technologies to Produce Advanced Biofuel Products from Biomass."
The US government really does have a plan for how advanced-drivetrain technology will help the country meet its goal of cutting petroleum imports in half by the end of the decade, which means US emissions will need to be 17 percent lower than they were in 2005. The plans involves, among other things, battery improvements, hydrogen fuel-cell technology, biofuels and more vehicle-electrification advancements. Not to mention lions, and tigers and bears. Oh my.
The US will soon work with China as the world's most populous nation works to draft stricter emissions standards. The two countries certainly know how to put pollution into the air – China is the world's biggest emitter polluter, followed by the US.
Fisker, which made the $100,000+ Karma plug-in hybrid until it shuttered its plant 15 months ago, is said to finally have a buyer in an investment group led by Richard Li, one of Hong Kong's richest men. That's according to a new Reuters report, which notes that the the deal remains private since the sale hasn't been finalized finalized.
How will a federal government that is partially shut down sell an automaker that is all-but-shut-down? We'll find out Friday when the Department of Energy starts an auction for what is left of Fisker's assets, according to TheDetroitBureau.com. The DOE said last month that auctioning off the $168-million remainder of Fisker's loan obligation was the, "best possible recovery for the taxpayer."
The US Department of Energy (DOE) has released a list of 38 new projects that will receive a share of $45 million to accelerate research and development of clean vehicle technologies. While John DeCicco, a prominent skeptic of federal funding for green cars, would likely give thumbs down to the DOE grants, a long list of private enterprises, universities and national labs were likely thrilled to hear about it.
Mention the term "alkaline battery" and folks of a certain generation will remember the old Eveready battery commercials with actor Robert Conrad daring the viewer to knock the battery off his shoulder. Very macho. Now, alkaline has moved from manliness to money-saving, as the fine folks at Princeton University have been granted almost $1 million from the US Department of Energy to develop alkaline batteries suitable for electric-vehicle use, Princeton Patch reports.
As Department of Energy relaunches loan program, we consider past successes and failures
The US Department of Energy (DOE) is trying out a new solution to loans that have flopped – auctioning them off. A $50-million loan previously award to Vehicle Production Group LLC (VPG) through the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing loan program (ATVMP) has gone unpaid. VPG, a maker of compressed natural gas-powered wheelchair-accessible vans, shut its doors in May after running out of cash.
This is a good time to be in the business of selling electric vehicles. Once moribund, sales of electric cars have more than doubled in the U.S. during the first six months of 2013.