The United States Department of Energy is offering $50 million for the development of plug-in vehicles as to support its EV Anywhere Grand Challenge. The program is intended to improve plug-in vehicle efficiency and performance.
While the initial cost of electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids is their greatest Achilles Heel, improving their efficiency enables them to travel further using the same amount of power, resulting in improved range per charge. Longer range will go a far way towards relieving people of the so-called “range anxiety” where drivers fret over running out of charge whilst on the road.
Improving that range enables manufacturers to use fewer batteries to achieve the same range that they do now, saving money, as plug-in vehicle batteries typically cost $500 to $1,000 per kWh of energy storage capacity. So even a little efficiency improvement could be substantially helpful in reducing EV prices. This initiative is focused on the research and development of low-cost batteries, electric motors, advanced power electronics, as well as test models and simulation tools to simulate the performance of advanced and conventional electric propulsion systems.
While $50 million seems like a lot of cheddar, keep in mind that analysts estimate that Nissan alone has sunk more than $1 billion into electric vehicle development, 20x more than what the Feds are offering. Are they really expecting a major breakthrough with such a small amount of funding?
Source: Autoblog Green
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