Published on April 17th, 2014 | by Robyn Purchia
Department of Energy Promises Big Vehicle Improvements
Earlier this week the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) released its comprehensive, Strategic Plan 2014. The Plan provides a roadmap for the DOE’s work over the next four years and highlights its major priorities.
“Following this roadmap, the Department will continue building a cleaner energy environment, strengthening our economy, creating jobs, and fostering innovation in the process,” said Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz. “The priorities outlined in this plan are critical to advancing the nation’s energy security and providing for a more secure and prosperous country for future generations.”
It’s clear from the Plan that implementing President Obama’s Climate Action Plan through the use of “all of the above” energy technologies will be a high priority for the DOE over the next four years. The Plan promises to halve the county’s net oil imports by 2020 by accelerating development of new transportation technologies. This includes development of advanced lightweight materials, improvements in aerodynamics, and engines and power train technologies to improve vehicle efficiency. DOE will also continue to develop advanced batteries and fuel cells, alternative fuels, and encourage vehicle electrification.
To accelerate development, the Plan reestablishes DOE’s commitment to use the federal loan program to support project developers deploying “all of the above” energy technologies. Yes, “all of the above.” This means that the widest possible swath of companies can expect to benefit from government-funded efforts to improve vehicle efficiency, diversify fuel sources, and reduce emissions. The hope is that increased government spending will support a range of clean energy and advance vehicle technologies.
The Plan has specific goals and performance targets. For example, DOE analysis has indicated that costs in the range of $125/kWh are required for a broad range of plugin-electric vehicles to be cost-competitive with gasoline-powered vehicles. So the DOE has set a performance target of reducing the cost of plug-in vehicle battery technology from its current value of below $400/kWh to $300/kWh by 2015 and $125/kWh by 2022.
While it’s always hard to trust that government bureaucracies will deliver on their promises, the DOE’s Strategic Plan does set forth some pretty exciting goals. We could see greater government funding going to development of new technologies and a strong market push for electric vehicles and alternative fuels. Things could dramatically change in just four years. Lets keep those fingers crossed.
Check out the DOE’s Strategic Plan 2014-2018 here.
Source: Autoblog Green