Originally posted on CleanTechnica
GPS and the Internet are just two of the countless innovations that have become integral to our society, courtesy of Uncle Sam. Can it do the same for the auto industry? The U.S. Department of Energy has announced $55 million of funding for advanced fuel efficient vehicles, focusing on batteries, EV drivetrains, lightweight materials, and efficient combustion engines.
Concept papers are due by February 25th, with the money being made available via public-private partnerships with the end goal of making plug-in cars as prevalent and popular as traditional combustion engines. This is hardly the only program the DoE has to support alt-fuel vehicles though, as the Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing (ATVM) loan program that helped fund Tesla Motors restarted in 2013 after a multi-year hiatus. That program has since been remade top-to-bottom to ensure there are fewer high-profile failures. In addition, the DoE is also making available $35 million towards hydrogen fuel cell research.
Altogether, the U.S. government has pumped untold billions into alternative-fuel projects, and we’re only just starting to see the fruits of those labors in the second wave of EVs. The extra $55 million is just a drop in the bucket compared to programs like the EV tax rebate, which will subsidize cars like the Tesla Model S to the tune of over a billion dollars.
But hey, every little bit counts, right? Who knows what sort of advances might come out of another private-public partnership. All it takes is one really great idea to turn the status quo on its head. Remember when you had to actually use the Yellow Pages to look up a phone number, or read a map to figure out how to get to your destination? Me neither, and if we’re lucky, the next generation of car drivers will look back on filling up with petrol as a similarly outdated practice.