March 30, 2020
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The U.S. Department of Energy awarded 43 advanced vehicle technology research projects a combined total of $59 million in funding on August 16; projects focused on developing lithium-metal solid state batteries, new materials and designs for advanced electric motors, and the combination of new powertrain materials with new combustion regimes to significantly improve fuel economy.

Under Secretary of Energy Mark Menezes noted in a statement that the “ultimate goals” of those projects – which are funded through the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy – are to strengthen national security, support American energy dominance, and enable future economic growth.

[For example, here’s how lithium-metal solid state batteries could engender change in transportation. Video courtesy of the Laboratory for Energy Storage and Conversion.]

“Vehicles drive our national economy,” he explained. “At DOE, we support a broad portfolio of technologies, generating the knowledge needed for industry to further develop and commercialize affordable, secure, and reliable transportation systems.”

Mark Menezes

Menezes added that vehicles transport 11 billion tons of freight annually in the U.S. – more than $35 billion worth of goods each day – and move people more than 3 trillion vehicle-miles.

The DOE also noted that, on average, U.S. household spends nearly one-fifth of its total family expenditures on transportation, making it the most expensive family spending category after housing.

editor@aashto.org

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