24 University- and Industry-Led Projects Focus on EV and Battery Technology, New Mobility Systems and Vehicle Lightweighting to Cut Pollution

WASHINGTON, D.C.— The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced $60 million for 24 research and development projects aimed at reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from passenger cars and light- and heavy-duty trucks. The projects will help decarbonize the transportation sector and enhance the infrastructure needed to support the growing adoption of zero-emission vehicles—crucial to reaching the Biden-Harris Administration’s ambitious goal of a net-zero emissions economy by 2050.   

“Fossil-fuel powered cars and trucks are a leading cause of air pollution and carbon emissions, and that is why we are focusing on decarbonizing the transportation sector to achieve President Biden’s climate goals,” said Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “Partnering with industry and leading research universities, DOE’s investment in these 24 projects will create technologies and techniques that will cut vehicle greenhouse emissions and boost America’s competitiveness in the global clean energy market.”  

Transportation accounts for approximately 30% of total U.S. energy needs and generates the largest share of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions. The projects, funded through DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) Vehicles Technology Office (VTO), address the two largest contributors to transportation sector emissions: passenger cars and light-duty trucks account for nearly 60% of emissions and medium- and heavy-duty trucks account for nearly 25%. 

The selected projects will:  

  • Accelerate innovation in EV batteries and electric drive systems – Awardees across 12 projects will focus on developing next generation lithium batteries with improved lifespan, safety, and affordability, improving the performance and durability of electrolytes that carry ions within batteries, and increasing the power density of electric drive systems. These advancements would increase the useful life of EVs and enable more affordable, better performing vehicles. (Total award amount: $28.1 million.)
  • Ready new mobility systems technology for commercial and consumer use – Awardees across six projects will help develop a better understanding of new mobility technologies, particularly on how automated, connected, electric, and shared vehicle technology, like automated electric shuttles and connected vehicle/infrastructure technologies, interact with the larger transportation system. (Total award amount: $20.2 million.)
  • Develop lightweight materials to increase passenger and commercial vehicle efficiency – Clemson University will develop a lightweight, multi-material passenger vehicle body structure, addressing challenges in joining dissimilar materials. (Total award amount: $5.8 million.)
  • Reduce exhaust emissions while improving commercial vehicle engine efficiency – Two projects will develop simulation tools to accelerate and optimize the development of advanced emissions systems for heavy-duty vehicles. (Total award amount: $5.1 million.) 
  • Improve understanding of energy use and environmental impact of new vehicle technologies – Three projects will develop tools to understand charging infrastructure needs for medium- and heavy-duty electric vehicles and analyze environmental, cost, and energy impacts of infrastructure upgrades. (Total award amount: $1 million).  

Access a full list of the projects HERE.   

“This nearly $2 million will be a well deserved boost for WMU’s ongoing autonomous vehicle research. Yes, climate change is real and technology developed here at institutions like WMU will certainly chart a path forward for a cleaner tomorrow. Clean energy jobs will help rebuild the American economy and protect our planet,” said U.S. Representative Fred Upton (MI-06)

“Michigan has long been the heart of the auto industry and we’re working every single day to ensure that statement remains true,” said U.S. Representative Debbie Dingell (MI-12). “We must keep the United States at the forefront of technology and innovation, and with over $1.6 million to Navitas Advanced Solutions Group in Ann Arbor, we can work towards that goal. This critical funding from the Department of Energy to advance next generation electric vehicles batteries will accelerate the increased deployment of electric vehicles and create a pathway to a clean energy future.”

"Today's announcement represents the federal government’s strong commitment to prioritize the health of our communities and our planet,” said U.S. Representative Jimmy Gomez (CA-34). “Thanks to the Biden Administration, the funds announced today by the U.S. Department of Energy will help ensure more electric vehicles on Los Angeles roads and fewer CO2 emissions in our skies. I'd like to thank President Biden for his continued partnership in our shared efforts to address the climate crisis by strengthening our nation's green economy."

The battery and electrification projects under this funding opportunity support the National Blueprint for Lithium Batteries’ goal of maintaining and advancing U.S. battery technology R&D leadership.   

EERE’s mission is to accelerate the research, development, demonstration, and deployment of technologies and solutions to equitably transition America to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions economy-wide by no later than 2050. The projects and work supported through EERE aim to ensure the clean energy economy benefits all Americans, creating good paying jobs for the American people—especially workers and communities impacted by the energy transition and those historically underserved by the energy system and overburdened by pollution. Learn more about EERE