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It is time to get more hybrid and electric vehicles on the road.
In order to do that there is now a focus on a suite of technologies for advanced systems integration, vehicle electrification, batteries and energy storage, characterization, optimization and combustion of biofuels and lightweighting structures.
The group, part of the lean vehicles consortium of the U.S.-China Clean Energy Research Center, consists of the University of Michigan, which leads the consortium announced by the Department of Energy and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), said Robert Wagner of ORNL’s Energy and Transportation Science Division.
Government funding for the Clean Energy Research Center totals $25 million, with the clean vehicles and clean coal consortia, announced the same day, each to receive $12.5 million over the next five years. The grantees will match the funding.
“The U.S.-China Clean Energy Research Center will help accelerate the development and deployment of clean vehicle and clean coal technologies here at home,” said Energy Secretary Steven Chu. “This new partnership will also create new export opportunities for American companies, ensure the United States remains at the forefront of technology innovation and help to reduce global carbon pollution.”
While levels of funding are still up in the air, Wagner sees the collaboration strengthening partnerships and speeding the effort. Core partners include Ohio State University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Sandia National Laboratories and the Joint BioEnergy Institute, which will partner with several Chinese entities.
“Numerous other industrial partners have committed to contributing to the Clean Energy Research Center with funding or in-kind and many additional companies have expressed interest,” Wagner said.
In the clean vehicle proposal to DOE, the team wrote that the center aims to have an impact on three of society’s grand challenges: climate change, energy security and environmental sustainability.
“The strategic intent of the Clean Energy Research Center clean vehicles consortium is to forge a strong partnership between the U.S. and China, the largest greenhouse gas emitters and the largest existing and emerging vehicle markets, for breakthrough research and development,” the proposal stated.
The hope is this effort will facilitate joint research and development of clean energy technologies by the U.S. and China.
Other members of the clean vehicles team are General Motors, Ford, Toyota, Chrysler, Cummins, Fraunhofer, MAGNET, A123, American Electric Power, First Energy and the Transportation Research Center.

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