Editorial: Advanced technology vehicles looming on the horizon
The internal-combustion engine isn't quite ready for the Smithsonian Institution, but the push for transportation products powered by batteries, hybrid electric systems and fuel cells is growing-technologies that include an electric drive, or electric propulsion system. The Electric Drive Transportation Association (Washington, DC) recently announced that about $272 million funding is requested in the Administration's fiscal year 2004 Budget for electric drive technologies and infrastructure-especially fuel cells and hydrogen technologies. DOE's FreedomFuel and FreedomCAR programs aim to facilitate a fuel cell vehicle and hydrogen infrastructure commercialization decision by industry in the year 2015, allowing rapid market penetration and significant oil displacement for the year 2020 and beyond.
Funding of $157.6 million is requested for the FreedomCar and Vehicle Technologies program including:
- Vehicle Systems ($14.514 million) to develop heavy-vehicle systems that reduce parasitic energy losses, included losses in aerodynamic drag.
- Hybrid and Electric Propulsion ($49.563 million) to reduce the production cost of a high power 25-kW battery (advanced lithium polymer) for use in light vehicles to enable cost competitive market entry of hybrid vehicles.
- Advanced Combustion Engine R&D ($37.085 million) to maintain/improve engine efficiency while reducing NOx emissions in light-duty diesel vehicles and heavy-duty diesel engines
- Materials Technology ($39.64 million) to reduce the production cost of carbon fiber, to develop propulsion materials technologies and lightweight materials.
- Fuels Technology ($6.8 million) to identify an advanced petroleum based fuel formulation, incorporating the use of nonpetroleum based feedstocks.
- Technology Introduction ($5.9 million) to accelerate the adoption and use of alternative fuels and advanced technology vehicles and to continue testing and evaluation of near market ready advance technology vehicles
- Clean Cities ($6.61 million) to increase the use of alternatives to gasoline and diesel fuel in participating cities.
Funding of $165.5 million is requested for the Hydrogen, Fuel Cells, and Infrastructure Technologies Program including:
- Fuel Cell Technology ($77.5 million) to develop integrated stationary fuel cell systems; to obtain cost reduction for fuel cell stacks, to determine the feasibility of on-board fuel processors; and to conduct a controlled fleet demonstration of fuel cell vehicles to validate performance, cost and reliability.
- Hydrogen Technology ($ 87.982 million) to expand hydrogen production and delivery research; to continue R&D of solid-state materials to meet 2010 storage targets; to develop and validate the feasibility of hydrogen generation stations that derive hydrogen from both renewable and fossil-fuel feedstocks for stationary and transportation fuel cells systems; to develop a national education campaign to educate about hydrogen and fuel cells and to communicate the hydrogen vision; and, to ensure the safety of hydrogen technologies and the development of widely-accepted technology codes and standards.