Department of Energy

Energy Department and USCAR Invest $195 Million To Help Develop Energy-Efficient Vehicles

July 14, 2005

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Michigan Stop is Part of "Energizing America for Energy Security" Tour

DEARBORN, MICH - Secretary of Energy Samuel W. Bodman and leaders of the United States Council for Automotive Research (USCAR) today announced an agreement that could reach $125 million over five years to develop advanced high-performance batteries for electric, hybrid electric and fuel cell vehicle applications. Use of new technologies like these will reduce the demand for petroleum fuel as these vehicles are introduced into the nation's transportation system, significantly reducing our need for foreign sources of oil.

In Michigan to highlight this agreement and a similar one that will invest up to $70 million to develop lightweight, high-strength materials that increase fuel efficiency through a reduction of vehicle weight, Secretary Bodman expressed the Bush Administration's dedication to new energy technologies.

"Industry, government and academic partnerships like the ones announced today are key to securing our nation's energy future," Secretary Bodman said. "Energy-efficient technologies that will result from our work have the potential to significantly help American families by reducing fuel costs and preserving our environment."

The new $125 million agreement is set for three years with two one-year continuing options in which the government and industry will share the costs of research. Combined with the $70 million agreement initially signed in May, this brings the total joint investments in vehicle technologies to a potential $195 million over the next five years.

As part of the new agreement, the Department of Energy's (DOE) FreedomCAR Program and USCAR's U.S. Advanced Battery Consortium (USABC) will split the cost of research and development for a number of new battery materials and technologies that have the potential to increase energy storage and charge/discharge performance, improve durability and reliability and reduce cost.

The DOE/USCAR partnership has been ongoing for more than ten years. One of its major accomplishments has been the development of the nickel metal hydride (NiMH) battery technology used in all current, commercially available, light-duty hybrid electric vehicles. In addition, USABC is pursuing the development of advanced lithium ion systems. This emerging technology offers the promise of compact, longer-life, high power and high energy batteries for electric, hybrid-electric vehicles and fuel cell vehicles.

USABC provides a unique opportunity for battery developers to leverage their resources in combination with those of the automotive industry and the federal government. This pre-competitive cooperation minimizes duplication of effort and risk of failure, and maximizes the benefits to the public of government funds.

USCAR facilitates cooperative research among DaimlerChrysler Corporation, Ford Motor Company and General Motors Corporation, which share the common goal of strengthening the technology base of the U. S. automotive industry.

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Media contact:
Rebecca Neale, 202/586-4940