US Gets Hot Over Hybrids

The big news this week is the greening of America's gas-guzzling vehicles. Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced that New York City's distinctive yellow fleet of taxis would be turning a shade of green with all the cabs being fuel-efficient within the next five years. Currently, only 375 out of the city's 13,000 taxis are hybrid vehicles. This fits right into Bloomie's plans to make NYC 30% more responsible by producing 30% fewer carbon emissions by 2030.

On a grander scale, the Department of Energy is jumping into the fuel-efficient game as well. Yesterday, the DOE awarded $19 million in funding to be split amongst five companies who are developing plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, hybrid electric vehicles, and fuel cell vehicles. With industry support the cumulative total for the companies will reach $33.8 million.

According to the DOE, he selected projects are:

Delphi Automotive Systems in Troy, Michigan, has been selected for negotiation of an award of up to $4.9 million for high-temperature three-phase inverter research. Three-phase inverters control and regulate the speed of electric motors. Other team members include Dow Corning, GE Global Research, GeneSiC, Argonne National Laboratory, and Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University of Blacksburg, Virginia, has been selected for negotiation of an award of up to $1.7 million for a project that will focus on developing an advanced softswitching inverter for reducing switching and power losses. Other team members include Azure Dynamics, Powerex, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

General Electric Global Research of Niskayuna, New York, has been selected for negotiation of an award of up to $3.4 million for work on developing high-speed electric motors. Specifically, this work will focus on increasing the traction motor drive power density and efficiency at reduced costs for PHEVs, HEVs and FCVs by developing an electric motor of at least 55kW peak power and capable of high speed operation – with a goal of at least 14,000 revolutions per minute (RPM). Team members include GE Motors and the University of Wisconsin at Madison.

General Motors Corporation in Torrance, California, has been selected for negotiation of an award of up to $7.9 million for development of a combined traction motor and power electronic inverter for PHEV, HEV, and FCV. This aims to lower the cost, weight, and package volume, and increase efficiency. Team members include Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Ames National Laboratory, Arnold Magnetics, Encap Technologies, Isothermal Systems Research, and AVX.

U.S. Hybrid Corporation of Torrance, California, has been selected for an award of up to $1.3 million for a bi-directional DC/DC converter for PHEVs. This work will include a vehicle system study to determine the optimum operating battery and DC-link voltages, allowing for higher efficiency and lower costs. Team members include University of Illinois, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and SiCED.

Also check out the funding that the DOE threw towards solar energy. This is one gov't agency that seems to be on the right track . . .