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Vehicle Technologies Office: Technologies

To support DOE's goal to provide clean and secure energy, the Vehicle Technologies Office (VTO) invests in research and development that:

  1. Helps Americans use conventional fuels more efficiently and
  2. Replaces them with less expensive, domestically-produced alternatives.

Achieving these aims would drastically reduce America's dependence on foreign oil, while improving the country's environmental and economic security. Transportation accounts for more than two-thirds of total U.S. oil consumption and generates nearly one-third of the country's greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, the U.S. continues to send nearly $1 billion a day overseas for imported oil.

If VTO is fully successful in meeting its technical goals and these technologies are widely adopted, it would reduce highway petroleum use up to 1.8 million barrels a day by 2020. These technologies would help manufacturers reach light-duty corporate average fuel economy standards of 54.5 mpg and substantially increase the county's heavy-duty truck fleet fuel efficiency.

To move these technologies forward, VTO invests in long-term, high-risk research projects that industry alone is unlikely to pursue but have significant public benefits. These projects reduce the cost and improve the performance of a mix of near and long-term vehicle technologies. It specifically focuses on research in these major areas:

When appropriate, VTO also pursues projects across multiple research areas.

  • The EV Everywhere Grand Challenge seeks to make the U.S. the first country to produce plug-in electric vehicles that are as affordable and convenient as today's gasoline-powered vehicles by 2022.
  • The SuperTruck initiative aims to develop technologies to improve the freight hauling efficiency of heavy-duty Class 8 long-haul vehicles by 50 percent by 2015 compared to a 2009 vehicle.

VTO collaborates with its industry and academic partners through the US DRIVE and 21st Century Truck partnerships to develop and validate technologies. VTO selects research and development projects through a competitive solicitation process and offers funding opportunities throughout the year.

Many different paths exist to reach a sustainable transportation future. While VTO does not build cars and trucks, our research and development lays the groundwork for vehicles that will increase consumers' choices and reduce the sector's impact on our nation's security and environment.

Learn more about VTO's goals and strategies in its Multi-Year Program Plan. Learn more about its current projects in its Annual Progress Reports and Annual Merit Review presentations.