The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recently announced plans to fund five next-generation vehicle research projects, which will receive up to $19 million. The five new vehicle research projects will focus on furthering the development of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs), and fuel cell vehicles (FCVs). The five projects support President Bush’s Twenty in Ten plan, which concentrates on reducing America’s consumption of gasoline by 20 percent within the next ten years.

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“These projects will not only help alleviate our ‘addiction to oil’ but also play a critical role in accelerating commercialization and making more clean and efficient alternative vehicles available to consumers,” said Assistant Secretary Karsner. “Not only will more alternative vehicles on the road help reduce our reliance on imported sources of energy, it’s also critical to confronting climate change.”

The five projects will support advanced power electronics and electric motor technologies to expand advanced PHEV, HEV, and FCV applications to the market for consumers. Each project will focus on reducing the cost, weight, and size of electric drive and power conversion devices while also increasing vehicle efficiency.

Delphi Automotive Systems in Troy, Michigan, has been selected for negotiation of an award of up to $4.9 million for high-temperature three-phase inverter research, which works to control and regulate the speed of electric motors.

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University of Blacksburg, Virginia, has been selected to receive up to $1.7 million for a project that will focus on developing an advanced soft switching inverter for reducing switching and power losses.

General Electric Global Research of Niskayuna, New York, has been selected to receive up to $3.4 million for work on developing high-speed electric motors. The team will focus on increasing the traction motor drive power density and efficiency at reduced costs for PHEVs, HEVs, and FCVs by developing an electric motor of at least 55kW peak power and capable of high-speed operation. The team’s goal is to achieve 14,000 revolutions per minute.

General Motors Corporation in Torrance, California, has been selected for negotiation of an award of up to $7.9 million for the development of a combined traction motor and power electronic inverter for PHEV, HEV, and FCV.

The U.S. Hybrid Corporation of Torrance, California, has been selected for an award of up to $1.3 million for a bi-direction DC/DC converter for PHEVs. The team will focus its efforts of a vehicle system study to determine the optimum operating battery and DC-link voltages, allowing for higher efficiency and lower costs.

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