DOE opens funding opportunity for alternative fuel vehicles

By Erin Voegele | July 22, 2014

The U.S. Department of Energy has announced it will award up to $4.5 million in funding to expand the use of alternative fuels through the Clean Cities program, which works with nearly 100 local coalitions and thousands of stakeholders across the nation to decrease the use of petroleum in transportation. The program supports the deployment of alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs), including flex-fuel vehicles (FFVs) and those powered by natural gas or propane, and plug-in electrics. 

A funding opportunity announcement (FOA) published by the DOE indicates the objective of the funding is to create and implement high-impact and highly innovative approaches to increase the acceptance and deployment of AFVs. Awards will be made under three different areas of interest, including AFV-use demonstrations via hands-on experiences, safety-related training, and emergency preparedness. 

According to the FOA, the intent of the demonstration via hands-on experiences is to combine a targeted vehicle demonstration project with a driver or fleet education experience that allows participants to better understand the benefits of a vehicle or technology. Projects under this category may include local ride-share or car-share programs, rental car programs, and commercial truck/bus leading and demonstration programs. In addition, eligible projects may feature activities that include driver feedback devices, data gathering, and analysis that help customers understand benefits. The DOE also offers projects that assess what kinds of incentives motivate drivers and fleets to purchase AFVs as an example of an eligible project.

Under the category of safety-related training, the FOA indicates that projects that provide safety and technical training to emergency first responders, public safety officials and critical service providers may be eligible. This can include training for technicians and service personnel that will operate and maintain AFVs and associated fueling and service facilities.

Among the eligible projects under the emergency preparedness category are applications that include collaboration and participation with state and local governments to incorporate the use of AFVs and alternative fuel infrastructure into existing and future emergency preparedness plans.

According to the DOE, between seven and 15 awards are expected to be made under the FOA, with individual awards ranging from $250,000 to $1 million. Team arrangements that include one or more active designated Clean Cities Coalitions and other partners with relevant experience and expertise are strongly encouraged. An informational webinar is planned for July 24 and concept papers are due Aug. 1. Full applications are due Oct. 1. Selection notifications are expected to be made in late February.

Additional information on the FOA is available on the DOE’s Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy website under DE-FOA-0000951.