U.S. funds future of automotive industry

Feb. 18, 2011 at 8:47 AM
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WASHINGTON, Feb. 18 (UPI) -- A $5 million effort to back research on advanced automotive technology helps with a U.S. push to put more electric vehicles on the road, an official said.

U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced the U.S. government had up to $5 million to support educational centers focused on training the next generation of automotive engineers.

"Given the challenge and the enormous economic opportunities in clean energy, it's time for America to do what we do best: innovate," Chu said in a statement.

The funding measure announced by Chu helps support U.S. President Barack Obama's goal of putting 1 million electric vehicles on the road by 2015. This, the Department of Energy said, could cut domestic oil consumption by as much as 750 million barrels through 2030.

Funding will support Graduate Automotive Technology Education centers of excellence. Graduate-level courses there will train engineers in advanced energy storage and hybrid propulsion systems for the next generation of clean-energy vehicles.

"With educational investments like the GATE centers, our future scientists and engineers will gain the expertise to develop and deploy the next generation of advanced vehicle technologies, helping to ensure America has the workforce we need to win the future," added Chu.

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