USCAR and DOE to Invest in Vehicle Battery Research

August 01, 2005 by Jeff Shepard

Ford Motor Co. (Dearborn, MI), General Motors Corp. (GM, Dearborn, MI), and DaimlerChrysler Corp. (Auburn Hills, MI), as members of the United States Council for Automotive Research (USCAR), signed cooperative research agreements with the US Department of Energy (DOE, Washington, DC) to support continued research and development in the areas of lightweight materials and advanced battery technologies for vehicles.

The agreements, which include DOE funding and industry cost share, represent a total investment potential of $195 million over the next five years. Nearly all of the DOE funding will be passed via subcontracts to suppliers and research institutions through the US Advanced Battery Consortium (USABC) and US Automotive Materials Partnership (USAMP), both consortia of the USCAR.

The $125 million USABC agreement is set for three years with two, one-year continuing options in which the government and industry will share the costs of research. Combined with a $70 million USAMP agreement for lightweight, high-strength materials research, which was initially announced in May, the total joint investment potential in vehicle technologies is $195 million over the next five years.

As part of the USABC agreement, the DOE's FreedomCAR Program will split the cost of research and development for a number of new battery materials and technologies that have the potential to increase energy storage and charge/discharge performance, improve durability and reliability and reduce cost. The USABC is pursuing the development of advanced lithium ion systems.