U.S. Department of Energy Awards $18 Million for Cutting-Edge Technologies to Optimize Vehicle Performance and Efficiency
WASHINGTON, D.C.—The U.S. Department of Energy today announced $18 million in funding for four cutting-edge projects that will help passenger vehicles operate more efficiently, reduce energy consumption, and contribute to the Biden Administration’s goal of reaching net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. This funding is part of Phase II of the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy’s (ARPA-E) Next-Generation Energy Technologies for Connected and Automated On-Road Vehicles (NEXTCAR) program.
As Dr. Atkinson’s term as an ARPA-E Program Director comes to a close, we sat down with him to reflect on his ARPA-E experience, the NEXTCAR program and the future of powertrain technologies, and what’s next for him.
Every year, convention centers around the world fill with eager attendees looking for a chance to experience firsthand the latest and greatest in the world of automobile innovation. Whether you’re a classic gearhead or technology enthusiast, the auto manufacturers’ annual showcase season is truly a sight to behold. To celebrate car show season, here’s a quick look at some of ARPA-E’s transportation portfolio and a few projects that could one day shape how Americans get around.
Americans use a lot of energy to move themselves and their stuff. Over one quarter of all the energy consumed in the United States goes directly to transportation, equivalent to about 4.8 billion barrels of oil per year. Of course, where there is lots of energy being used, there are opportunities to make big improvements. Many ARPA-E programs seek to boost transportation efficiency and diversify energy sources—through better fuels, new batteries, or high-powered electronics.
Department of Energy Announces 10 New Projects to Improve Connected and Automated Vehicle Efficiency
The Energy Department’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) today announced up to $32 million in funding for 10 innovative projects as part of its newest program: Next-Generation Energy Technologies for Connected and Autonomous On-Road Vehicles (NEXTCAR). With a goal of reducing individual vehicle energy usage by 20 percent, NEXTCAR projects will take advantage of the increasingly complex and connected systems in today’s—and tomorrow’s—cars and trucks to drastically improve their energy efficiency.
The U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) today announced up to $60 million in funding for two new programs that aim to solve some of the nation’s most pressing energy challenges by accelerating the development of novel energy technologies. The first program, NEXT Generation Energy Technologies for Connected and Automated on-Road vehicles (NEXTCAR) seeks to develop new technologies that decrease energy consumption of future vehicles through the use of connectivity and automation. The second program, Rhizosphere Observations Optimizing Terrestrial Sequestration (ROOTS) seeks to improve crop breeding for root and soil function to allow for greater carbon storage in plants.
This workshop convened experts from a number of fields to consider the development of future high efficiency light-duty vehicle powertrains for connected, semi-autonomous and fully autonomous (driverless) vehicles.
Behind the Scenes with Dr. Chris Atkinson, Program Director at ARPA-E Dr. Chris Atkinson discusses his background, why he came to ARPA-E, and the possibility of an interdisciplinary solution to creating energy-efficient, automated vehicles.