GM, Ford, American Axle, Roush, and Michigan Tech Awarded $25M in U.S. Energy Grants

During a tour of advanced battery research labs at General Motors Co.’s Warren Technical Center, U.S. Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette on Thursday announced $139 million in federal funding for 55 projects across the country that will support new and innovative advanced vehicle technologies.
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Dan Brouillette and Kent Helfrich at GM's Warren Technical Center
Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette (left) gets a closer look at the latest vehicle batteries at General Motors’ Estes Engineering Center battery lab at the Warren Technical Center with GM Executive Director of Global Electrification and Battery Systems Kent Helfrich on July 16, 2020. // Photo by Jeffrey Sauger for General Motors

During a tour of advanced battery research labs at General Motors Co.’s Warren Technical Center, U.S. Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette on Thursday announced $139 million in federal funding for 55 projects across the country that will support new and innovative advanced vehicle technologies.

Six of the innovative projects — nearly $25.9 million — will be led by teams in Michigan.

“Technological innovation is key to revitalizing America’s manufacturing competitiveness, especially in the transportation sector,” said Secretary Brouillette. Michigan is “a state that has been the backbone of the American automobile industry for years. The Trump Administration is committed to investing in technologies that expand access to affordable mobility and provide consumers with a wide range of transportation options to meet their needs.”

Funded through the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, project descriptions include research in advanced batteries, electrification, and manufacturing in support of DOE’s Energy Storage Grand Challenge. In January, Brouillette announced the Energy Storage Grand Challenge to create and sustain U.S. global leadership in energy storage technology, utilization, and exports.

Among the projects announced, DOE’s Energy Efficiency Department’s Vehicle Technologies Office (VTO) and Advanced Manufacturing Office (AMO) are collaborating on two projects totaling $15 million aimed at lightweight and high-performance fiber-reinforced polymer composites for vehicle applications.

In the private sector, Ford will lead a team, in collaboration with DOE’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Oak Ridge, Tenn., and other partners, to develop multi-functional composite structures with electronics integration for cross car beam applications.

A General Motors-led team will focus on bringing forward fiber-reinforced composites for high volume manufacturing of structural battery enclosures. Michigan State University’s Scale Up Research Facility is partnering with both teams. The facility was established with DOE funding under the Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation.

Selected projects under the funding opportunity will be managed by VTO, which has research pathways centered on fuel diversification, vehicle efficiency, energy storage, lightweight materials, and new mobility technologies to improve the overall energy efficiency and affordability of the transportation system.

The projects will:

  • Advance lithium-ion batteries using silicon-based anodes,
  • Reduce the need for critical minerals such as rare-earth materials in electric drive motors and platinum group metals in emission catalysts,
  • Accelerate the development of smart charging technologies to mitigate potential electric vehicle impacts on the grid and maintain low-cost charging for consumers,
  • Improve efficiency for light-duty gasoline engines, medium- and heavy- duty natural gas engines, and agricultural off-road vehicles,
  • Increase demonstrations and infrastructure for advanced technology vehicles, including those for gaseous fuels,
  • Develop lightweight and high-performance fiber-reinforced polymer composites for vehicle applications, and
  • Support mobility technologies such as connected and automated vehicles, as well as innovations in transit.

To learn more about the DOE projects, visit here.

DOE FY20 Advanced Vehicle Technologies Research
Michigan Awards: $25.9M

$7.5M
Project: Lightweight and High-Performance Fiber-Reinforced Polymer Composites for Vehicle Applications
Solution: Multi-functional Smart Composite Structures with Electronics Integration for Smart Vehicles
Award: Ford Motor Co., Dearborn

$7.5M
Project: Lightweight and High-Performance Fiber-Reinforced Polymer Composites for Vehicle Applications
Solution: Development of Tailored Fiber-Reinforced Composites Materials Systems for High Volume Manufacturing of Structural Battery Enclosure
Award: General Motors Co. Detroit

$5M
Project: Low Cost Electric Traction Drive Systems Using No Heavy Rare Earth Materials
Solution: Low Cost, High-Performance, Heavy Rare Earth-Free 3-In-1 Electric Drive Unit
Award: American Axle & Manufacturing Inc., Detroit

$2.5M
Project: Platinum Group Metals Content Reduction to Enable Cost-Effective Aftertreatment for Gasoline and Diesel Engines
Solution: Slashing Platinum Group Metals Content in Catalytic Converters: An Atoms-to-Autos Approach
Award: General Motors Co., Detroit

$2M
Project: Enabling Vehicle and Infrastructure Connectivity
Solution: Cohort-based Energy Optimization for Mixed Vehicle Classes, Powertrains, and Levels of Automation via Expanded Data Sharing Using Vehicle-to-Vehicle and Vehicle-to-Infrastructure Communication
Award: Michigan Technological University, Houghton

$1.4M
Project: Technology Integration Open Topic
Solution: Waste Not, Want Hot? A More Sustainable Way to Keep Buses Warm. Develop and Demonstrate a Propane-powered Cabin Heating System for Battery-electric Buses.
Award: Roush Industries Inc., Livonia

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