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US DOE to invest nearly $300M in clean vehicle technology

The U.S. Energy Department is investing $297 million toward research and development of cleaner vehicle technologies, a senior agency official announced Jan. 23.

The money will fund electrified transportation, biofuels and hydrogen technology, department Undersecretary of Energy Mark Menezes said during the Washington Auto Show's industry media day.

Up to $133 million of the investment will focus on advanced electric-vehicle battery research, advanced engine and fuel technologies, lightweight materials, new mobility technologies and energy-efficient mobility systems, he said.

Another $100 million will fund the department's biofuels research, including reducing the cost of drop-in biofuels, which can be used in place of gasoline.

The remaining $64 million of the investment will support the department's fuel cells technologies office.

"This investment will support innovative hydrogen concepts to encourage market expansion and increase to scale hydrogen production," Menezes said.

This includes using hydrogen fuel cells for heavy-duty trucks, data centers and steel production, he said.

Menezes also announced a memorandum of understanding between the federal agency and the Electric Power Research Institute to accelerate the deployment of electric transportation systems.

The department and institute will work on creating a more reliable power grid as electric vehicle use increases, he said.