The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) recently announced their collaboration to accelerate research, demonstration, and deployment of innovative transportation and alternative fuel technologies. The agencies made their formal Memorandum of Understanding known at an electric vehicle workshop in Berkeley, California. The initiative will tap each agency’s expertise in transportation energy technologies and safety systems, aiming to boost the analysis, tools, and applications of such technologies.
Transportation researchers at NREL have provided extensive research and analysis on smart transportation systems and played a significant role in the development of DOE’s System and Modeling for Accelerated Research in Transportation (SMART) Mobility consortium. DOE and DOT are also among several groups working with NREL to advance its Sustainable Mobility Initiative, which approaches transportation as a network of travelers, services, and environments, using connectivity and automation to reduce energy consumption.
“The collaboration between DOE and DOT will provide exciting opportunities for NREL and the other national labs in our SMART Mobility consortium, to provide research in both the energy efficiency and the greenhouse gas emission implications of these new transportation technologies,” said Chris Gearhart, director of NREL’s Transportation and Hydrogen Systems Center.
One of the programs that DOE will support is DOT’s Smart City Challenge, which was announced in December 2015 along with a call for proposals from U.S. cities to demonstrate vision-forward smart city and mobility solutions. The awarded city will receive up to $40 million in Federal Highway Administration funds; $10 million from the DOT’s private-sector partner, Vulcan, Inc.; and research support from the SMART Mobility consortium—enhancing valuable resources for vehicle electrification, alternative fuel infrastructure and fleet deployment, and energy-efficient transportation systems.
In addition to DOE’s SMART Mobility consortium and DOT’s Smart City Challenge, the collaboration will rely on cross-agency and multi-lab programs that NREL supports, including DOE’s EV Everywhere and Clean Cities programs.