U.S. Department of Energy Under Secretary of Energy Mark W. Menezes announced $59 million for 43 projects for new and innovative advanced vehicle technologies research. Funded through the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, these projects address priorities in advanced batteries and electric drive systems, co-optimized engine and fuel technologies, materials for more efficient powertrains, and alternative fuels and new energy efficient mobility systems. The projects support the Energy Department’s goals to strengthen national security, support American energy dominance, enable future economic growth, and increase transportation affordability for all Americans.

“Vehicles drive our national economy,” said Under Secretary Menezes. “At DOE, we support a broad portfolio of technologies, generating the knowledge needed for industry to further develop and commercialize affordable, secure, and reliable transportation systems.”

Utah Clean Cities is the recipient of two grants selected through the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy and Vehicle Technologies Office. 

1) East Zion National Park Electric Vehicle Shuttle System Plan:

The East Zion National Park Electric Vehicle Shuttle System Project will demonstrate a small-scale, environmentally-sound, zero-emission, electric vehicle shuttle system through the east entrance of Zion National Park. This project includes the development of an electric shuttle system including a Shuttle Hub and shuttle stops. This project will prove viability of these electric vehicles (EV) in a rugged environment with extreme temperature variations and difficult road conditions in southern Utah.

The project has been designed for universal scalability, with deployment in other high-traffic, environmentally sensitive National and State Parks throughout the United States in mind. The project will increase regional resiliency and connectivity throughout the southern Utah region, and stand as a model for national implementation as project results will be shared nation- wide to further the research and implementation of electric vehicle shuttle systems.

2) Supporting a strong EV Market in the Intermountain West through consumer education, stakeholder engagement and rural infrastructure:

The Utah Clean Cities Coalition has partnered with the REV West project team, and Clean Cities throughout the Intermountain West to create this regional project supporting the emerging EV market. The project’s goal is to develop a strong EV market and EV infrastructure network in underserved areas of the Intermountain West, by identifying and addressing key barriers to widespread adoption. Supporting work includes regulatory analysis, developing strategies to support rural station investments, and consumer education and awareness to build demand for EVs.

The project team represents a unique-cross section of practitioners, policy-makers, and stakeholders in the energy and transportation sectors. The breadth of knowledge on the project team will enable the project to identify key barriers to market development and develop novel strategies to promote transportation electrification, both within the Intermountain West and on a broader scale through replicable programs.

The result will consolidate resources and efforts to promote EVs through tool development, analysis, outreach and education templates, and marketing efforts, in order to ensure EV drivers have access to necessary infrastructure to travel without concern throughout the full region.

Utah Clean Cities and their large stakeholder base in Utah and throughout the region have generated the support needed with key partnerships and have secured solid support for the grants.   

“When the private and public sector collaborate and apply pioneering thinking and state-of-the art technologies to address challenges, we build sustainable communities, demonstrate true leadership and empower our citizens in to meaningful action. In this current collaborative effort, we have experienced the multiplier effect in the most profound way,” said Tammie Bostick, Utah Clean Cities Executive Director. ”We have all worked hard for this success and look forward to test and deploy next innovation in clean transportation.”

Annually, vehicles transport 11 billion tons of freight – more than $35 billion worth of goods each day – and move people more than three trillion vehicle-miles. The average U.S. household spends nearly one-fifth of its total family expenditures on transportation, making it the most expensive spending category after housing. For example, projects selected today will accelerate the development of lithium-metal solid state batteries (materials, tools and modeling), novel materials and designs for advanced electric motors, and combine new powertrain materials with new combustion regimes to significantly improve fuel economy.