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CAR Receives Federal Funding for Energy-Efficient Vehicle Technologies

September 13th, 2011


The Ohio State University Center for Automotive Research has been selected to receive a Graduate Automotive Technology Education (GATE) Initiative Award from the U.S. Department of Energy to prepare college students for careers designing and building advanced vehicle technologies.

Ohio State will receive $907,026 to fund projects to prepare a new generation of engineers to lead system integration projects in the following areas related to energy-efficient vehicles: efficient energy conversion, advanced energy storage, lightweight body and chassis systems, and vehicle systems control, including vehicle-grid and vehicle-infrastructure connectivity. In addition to energy department funding, the program will benefit from cost share from many industry partners, and it is expected that the value of the program will be at least doubled over the next five years.

“The selection of Ohio State as a recipient of this award clearly establishes Ohio State as one of the leading institutions in the country in research and graduate education in sustainable mobility,” said Giorgio Rizzoni, director of the Ohio State Center for Automotive Research.

This award is part of a $6.4 million, five-year program to support seven Centers of Excellence at American colleges, universities, and university-affiliated research institutions.

The centers will focus on three critical automotive technology areas: hybrid propulsion, energy storage, and lightweight materials. The funding supports Graduate Fellows, curriculum development and expansion, as well as laboratory work. The program aims to educate future automotive engineering professionals to overcome technical barriers preventing the development and production of cost-effective, high-efficiency vehicles for the U.S. market.

The Ohio State GATE program, directed by Rizzoni, who also is the Ford Motor Company Chair in Electromechanical Systems and a professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, includes participation of 17 faculty from the Departments of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Integrated Systems Engineering, and Materials Science and Engineering.

The Ohio State University is the recipient of two previous U.S. Department of Energy GATE Centers of Excellence: “Hybrid Drivetrains and Control Systems,” 1998-2004, and “Modeling, Control and System Integration of Advanced Automotive Propulsion Systems,” 2005-2011.

These programs leveraged energy department funding by a factor of 5:1 and produced over 100 graduates (roughly two-thirds M.S., one-third Ph.D.), almost all employed in the automotive sector. The GATE program has led to an interdisciplinary graduate specialization in automotive systems engineering at Ohio State and in a distance education certificate program aimed at industry participants. The current award will significantly expand the scope of the graduate specialization and of the certificate program by including elements related to lightweight vehicles, aerodynamics, and electric power to CAR’s well-established expertise in engines and powertrain, hybrid and electric propulsion, energy storage, and control and system integration.

News media contact: Holly Henley,, (614) 292-4217