DoE offers grants for automotive CAFE standards advanced R&D

The U.S. Department of Energy has issued an Interim Final Rule implementing the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Incentive Program.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DoE) has issued an Interim Final Rule implementing the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Incentive Program, which was authorized by section 136 of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA). An omnibus energy policy bill drafted by the U.S. Congress, EISA was signed into law in December 2007. Its best-known provision establishes  a new corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standard of 35 mpg for each automaker’s combined fleet of cars and light trucks, a standard which must be met by the model year 2020. It also established renewable fuels standards and energy efficiency equipment standards for electrical appliances.

EISA’s section 136 also establishes an incentive program, consisting of both grants and direct loans — known as the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program (ATVM) — to support development of advanced technology vehicles and associated components in the U.S. The ATVM  program, administered by the DoE, will provide loans to automobile and automobile-part manufacturers for the cost of re-equipping, expanding, or establishing manufacturing facilities in the United States to produce advanced technology vehicles, such as plug-in hybrids or qualified components, and for associated engineering integration costs. Congress has appropriated $7.5 billion (USD) to support a maximum of $25 billion in direct loans under the ATVM — $5 billion has been set aside for companies with fewer than 500 employees. DoE has stated that it intends to act quickly to review and evaluate applications it receives from eligible applicants under the section 136 program. Composite materials are likely to be important elements of retooled, high-mileage cars.

Information: www.atvmloan.energy.gov/