DOE announces almost $200M for clean transportation

A total of 25 research, development, and demonstration projects will advance electrification of freight trucks, reduce vehicle emissions and improve electric vehicle charging infrastructure

Vice President Kamala Harris and U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm traveled to New York this week to announce the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded $199 million to fund 25 projects aimed at putting cleaner cars and trucks on America’s roads, including long-haul trucks powered by batteries and fuel cells, and at improving the nation’s electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure. 

“As America’s solutions department, DOE is working with manufacturers and industry partners to reimagine vehicle transportation across the country to achieve our climate goals—from lowering carbon emissions to increasing efficiency and affordability,” said Granholm. “This investment and the innovations that come from it will help shape our clean energy future and strengthen domestic manufacturing that support good-paying careers for hardworking Americans.” 

SuperTruck 3 Funding Opportunity Selections 

DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy initially launched the SuperTruck Initiative in 2009 to improve heavy-duty truck freight efficiency by 50%. The second iteration, SuperTruck 2, sought to double fuel efficiency for 18-wheeler trucks. Now, selectees for SuperTruck 3 will work to improve medium- and heavy-duty truck efficiencies and reduce emissions of freight transportation. 

SuperTruck 3 will fund five heavy vehicles manufacturers with a combined $127 million to pioneer electrified medium- and heavy-duty trucks and freight system concepts to achieve higher efficiency and zero emissions. Projects will be funded over five years, subject to appropriations, and recipients will match federal funding, dollar-for-dollar:  

PACCAR Inc (Bellevue, WA) will develop eighteen Class-8 battery electric and fuel cell vehicles with advanced batteries and a megawatt charging station will also be developed and demonstrated. (Award amount: $32,971,041)

Volvo Group North America, LLC (Greensboro, NC) will develop a 400-mile-range Class-8 battery electric tractor-trailer with advanced aerodynamics, electric braking, EV optimized tires, automation and route planning. A megawatt charging station will be developed and demonstrated. (Award amount: $18,070,333)

Daimler Trucks North America, LLC (Portland, OR) will develop and demonstrate two 2 Class-8 fuel cell trucks with 600-mile range, 25,000-hour durability, equivalent payload capacity and range to diesel. (Award amount: $25,791,669)

Ford Motor Company (Dearborn, MI) will develop and demonstrate five hydrogen fuel cell electric Class-6 Super Duty trucks targeting cost, payload, towing, and refueling times that are equivalent to conventional gasoline trucks. (Award amount: $24,952,314)

General Motors, LLC (Pontiac, MI) will develop and demonstrate four hydrogen fuel cell and four battery electric Class 4-6 trucks. The project will also focus on development of clean hydrogen via electrolysis and clean power for fast charging. (Award amount: $26,061,726) 

Low Greenhouse Gas Funding Opportunity Selections 

Separately, DOE also released the Low Greenhouse Gas (GHG) funding opportunity that will invest $71 million in 20 research, development, and demonstration projects with industry, academia, and non-profits including Clean Cities Coalitions for the creation of solutions to reducing emissions for on- and off-road vehicles and accelerating the expansion of EV infrastructure and charging. 

Projects will work to lower emissions by leading the expansion of EV charging stations, including EV charging community projects, such as installing charge stations within multi-unit housing, hosting community-led demonstrations that address barriers to EV adoption and lowering costs for direct current (DC) fast charging equipment. Each of the selected projects include plans for achieving diversity, equity, and inclusion objectives, including advancing equity within the project team, and producing benefits for underserved communities.

For a complete list of projects selected under Vehicle Technologies Office’s Low GHG funding opportunity, visit here

Must Move Quicker

The Sierra Club issued a statement applauding the announcement but urged quicker action. “There are major levers the administration can pull to electrify medium- and heavy-duty vehicles, and we urge them to do so urgently. The most important is moving swiftly on a federal rule to address NOx pollution from trucks, a commitment that President Biden made in August. There is no time for delay,” said Katherine García, Acting Director of the Sierra Club’s Clean Transportation for All campaign.

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Jennifer Runyon is a Senior Content Director at Clarion Energy, writing, editing and posting content on POWERGRID International and planning conference sessions for DISTRIBUTECH's live and virtual events. She is the conference advisory committee chair for DISTRIBUTECH International. You can reach her at Jennifer.Runyon@ClarionEvents.com.

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