WASHINGTON -- U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu on Aug. 10 announced more than $175 million in grants over the next three to five years to accelerate development and deployment of advanced vehicle technologies. Among the grant recipients are Ford Motor Co., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, General Motors, General Electric and Azure Dynamics Inc.

The funding will support 40 projects across 15 states to help improve the fuel efficiency of next-generation vehicles. 

To view a list of the funded projects, click here

The projects will target new innovations throughout the vehicle, including better fuels and lubricants, lighter weight materials, longer-lasting and cheaper electric vehicle batteries and components, more efficient engine technologies and more. This broad approach to vehicle efficiency research and development will help ensure the technologies are available to help automakers meet recently announced fuel efficiency standards, according to the DOE. 

"The Department of Energy is investing in new advanced technologies that will significantly improve vehicle fuel economy, save consumers money, and create skilled jobs for Americans,” Chu said. "Investments in the next generation of autos will strengthen our economy and lead to a more fuel-efficient, clean energy future."

The funds will leverage additional investments by the grantees to support projects totaling more than $300 million. The selections announced focus on eight approaches to improving vehicle efficiency: 

  • Advanced fuels and lubricants -- Eight projects awarded to improve fuels and lubricants that will enable optimal performance of advanced combustion engines. 
  • Light-weighting materials -- Five projects awarded to accelerate commercial availability of lighter weight vehicles using advanced materials that dramatically reduce vehicle weight while maintaining the highest safety standards. 
  • Light weight multi-material prototype -- Two projects awarded to design, build and test a light-weight vehicle that is 50 percent lighter than a baseline light-duty vehicle.  These projects are being undertaken as part of the Clean Energy Dialogue with Canada.  
  • Advanced cells and design technology for electric drive batteries -- 12 projects awarded to develop high-energy or high-power batteries for electric vehicles that should significantly exceed existing state-of-the-art technologies in terms of performance and/or cost. 
  • Advanced power electronics and electric motor technology -- Four projects awarded to develop the next generation of power inverters and electric motors to meet demanding performance targets while achieving significant cost reductions. 
  • Thermoelectric and enabling engine technology -- Three projects awarded to improve the efficiency of thermoelectric devices to convert engine waste heat to electricity. Selections of projects to develop early-stage enabling engine technologies to improve fuel efficiency and reduce emissions are expected in September.  
  • Fleet efficiency -- Five projects awarded to develop and demonstrate fuel-efficient tire and driver feedback technologies that will improve efficiency of the passenger car and commercial fleet. 
  • Advanced vehicle testing and evaluation -- One project awarded to conduct laboratory and field evaluations of advanced technology vehicles and related infrastructure, while developing new or modified test procedures.