U.S. to Shift More Funds To Electric Vehicle Technology Research

The U.S. Department of Energy is expected to shift more of its research spending into the development of electric vehicle technologies, a strategy that officials hope will significantly reduce oil imports and greenhouse gas emissions over the next two decades. The new strategy, which is to be announced today by Energy Secretary Steven Chu, comes as the Obama administration endures heated criticism over its clean energy initiatives following the failure of the solar company Solyndra, which filed for bankruptcy despite receiving more than $500 million from the government. “Currently [the Energy Department] focuses too much effort on researching technologies that are multiple generations away from practical use,” according to the government’s first-ever Quadrennial Technology Review. According to the review, which prioritized research that can be developed within a decade, the Energy Department “underinvested” in transportation, with only 26 percent of its $3 billion research budget targeting that sector. According to the review, government spending will now target technologies that do not require new fueling infrastructure, and will focus on advanced biofuels for heavy-duty trucks rather.