Vehicle Technologies Office Recognizes Individuals and Teams with Extraordinary Results at 2016 Annual Merit Review

June 16, 2016

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At this year’s Annual Merit Review and Peer Evaluation in Washington, DC, the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Vehicle Technologies Office recognized some of its most outstanding partners involved in research, development, and deployment of sustainable transportation technologies. The Vehicle Technologies Office bestowed Distinguished Achievement and Lifetime Distinguished Achievement awards for teams and individuals that have contributed to projects and programs with extraordinary results.


  • Michael Martin (U.S. DRIVE) received a Lifetime Distinguished Achievement Award for his longstanding personal commitment and significant contribution to successful DOE/USCAR collaboration through the Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles, FreedomCAR & Fuel Partnership, and U.S. DRIVE Partnership.
  • Natalie Olds (USCAR) received a Lifetime Distinguished Achievement Award for her Collaboration Specialist insights as well as her focus that created the elements necessary for the Electrical/Electronics Technical Team to make significant progress on power electronics and electric machines each year.  Her experience as one of the pioneers in electric vehicle development in the early 1980’s allowed her to have insights that few people have. It also enabled her to ask tough questions that made the Electrical/Electronics Technical team a better, more methodical, and effective team.

Advanced Combustion Engines

  • John Dec (Sandia National Laboratories) received a Special Recognition Award for his pioneering the use of “partial fuel stratification” in understanding the combustion processes in internal combustion engines.  His work contributed substantially to the body of knowledge and may lead to overcoming the technical barriers of pure homogeneous charge compression-ignition combustion for future internal combustion engines. 
  • Richard Peterson (General Motors) received a Lifetime Distinguished Achievement Award for his significant achievements as a member of the Advanced Combustion Engine Technical Team for over 15 years. His technical knowledge and analytical abilities are universally recognized by all of the team members.  He is known for basing his views and opinions on technical merit and supporting those views with in-depth and no-nonsense analyses based on his broad and detailed knowledge of engine and drivetrain technologies.
  • The Volvo Trucks North America SuperTruck team received a Distinguished Achievement (Team) Award for exceeding both the freight efficiency and engine efficiency goals of its SuperTruck project on time and within budget.  This project required building a vehicle demonstrator, which incorporates numerous systems, subsystems, components, and controls.  All of this equipment needs to be integrated efficiently and effectively. Volvo has clearly demonstrated the ability and willingness to innovate while remaining true to the original SuperTruck vision. 

Electric Drive Technologies

  • Kevin Bennion (National Renewable Energy Laboratory, NREL) received a Special Recognition Award for his expertise and unique experience in motor designs and motor thermal management as part of the Electric Drive Technologies Research team.  He has provided significant insights and inputs to the motor research area. His coordination with other labs and industry has been critical to developing and enabling motor innovations to eliminate rare earth magnets. His designs emphasize improved motor performance using improved thermal management technologies.
  • John Czubay (General Motors) received a Special Recognition Award for his extensive contributions as Co-Chair of the USCAR Electrical/Electronics Technical Team.  The technical team accomplished meaningful results, including wide-band gap research, through his strong leadership, consensus building, extensive experience in developing production power electronics, and work with the supply base on hybrid and plug-in electric vehicles. 

Energy Storage

  • Eric Heim (USABC) received a Lifetime Distinguished Achievement Award for his 22-year collaboration with the Vehicle Technologies Office and his long track record of helping to develop energy storage technologies that have been subsequently commercialized.  These technologies include the development of:  (1) nickel metal hydride battery technology, lithium-ion battery technology, and ultracapacitor technology for hybrid vehicles and (2) higher energy lithium-ion battery technology for plug-in electric vehicles. As the USABC Business Manager, Eric was instrumental in assuring that over $700M of cost-shared battery development contracts were negotiated, awarded, and executed to successful completion.  


  • Robert McCune (Ford [retired]/USAMP [consultant]) received a Distinguished Achievement Award for his contributions to organizing and executing the Magnesium Front End Research and Development Program. This complicated program involved nine technical teams, three countries, and dozens of participants.  Robert was instrumental in coordinating and executing the activities that culminated in the successful design, construction, and testing of hundreds of magnesium demonstration structures.
  • Eric Nyberg (Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, PNNL) received a Distinguished Achievement Award for his work over the past 10 years on the Magnesium Front End Research and Development Program.  Eric's technical contributions and spirited team building allowed the program to overcome hurdles in a variety of areas and ultimately to deliver validated, lightweight magnesium demonstration structures.

Vehicle Systems

  • The Wireless Power Transfer (WPT) Research & Development Team from Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) received a Distinguished Achievement (Team) Award for developing and demonstrating the world’s first 20-kW wireless power transfer charging system for electric vehicles.  The system has achieved 92% efficiency at greater than three times the charge rate of the plug-in systems commonly used to charge electric vehicles today.  This achievement far exceeds the original goals of the project and can help accelerate the adoption and convenience of electric vehicles.

Clean Cities

  • Marcy Rood (Argonne National Laboratory) received a Special Recognition Award for her 20-year history with Clean Cities both at DOE and Argonne.  She currently leads Argonne’s work in technical assistance, workforce development, training, and outreach and education projects relating to alternative fuels and advanced vehicle deployment.  She has been a major force in leading efforts to help Clean Cities with strategic planning and re-envisioning to adopt SMART Mobility and other new technologies.

The Hydrogen and Fuel Cells Program also gave out awards recognizing individuals and teams in research, development and deployment. Read about their awards on the DOE Hydrogen and Fuel Cells Program website.