U.S. Sen. Kit Bond has secured $1.66 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to fund a partnership between Missouri University of Science and Technology and the Kansas City, Mo., government to provide clean battery-powered transit vehicles to the city.
Bond secured $1.66 million in federal funds in the 2008 omnibus appropriations bill to fund research and pilot projects for alternative energy transit vehicles and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles at Missouri S&T. The funds will support program design, infrastructure and clean technical support costs.
“With the current auto industry troubles, Missouri is at risk of losing 200,000 auto-related jobs,” said Bond. “This project will harness Missouri’s battery technology know-how to help produce the next generation of clean transit vehicles and create jobs. We can do both.”
Missouri S&T will partner with the Kansas City local government and Kokam America Inc., a lithium ion battery company in Lee’s Summit, Mo. The project will help fulfill Kansas City’s goal to reduce carbon emissions and purchase about a dozen small to mid-size plug-in hybrid cars for local government employees.
Plug-in hybrids allow owners of hybrid vehicles to recharge their battery by plugging into a traditional electric socket. Plug-in hybrids also allow drivers to run the first 40 miles of their trip solely on electric power and then switch over to hybrid engines. When this technology is fully developed for consumer vehicles it will drastically lower fuel costs and emissions because many trips and commutes are less than 40 miles.
“Working with the City of Kansas City and Kokam America Inc., our researchers will be able to demonstrate the viability of plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) technologies in a real-world environment,” says Angela Rolufs, director of the Missouri Transportation Institute at Missouri S&T and the principal investigator for the project. “We’re excited to be partnering with a company and a major city that are both at the forefront of alternative energy solutions. We’re also thankful to Sen. Bond for his instrumental role in securing the necessary funding to move this project forward.”