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ASU leads 4-university effort to work with industry on vehicle efficiency, sustainability

A row of electric vehicles sit parked and plugged into chargers

Photo by baona/iStock

April 26, 2022

The Center for Efficient Vehicles and Sustainable Transportation Systems (EVSTS) has been awarded funding from the National Science Foundation to engage automotive companies in researching vehicle energy efficiency and environmental sustainability. 

The five-year Phase II grant, through the NSF’s Industry-University Cooperative Research Center program, provides the center $2 million through four universities to engage companies in research projects to help the world move toward more efficient internal-combustion engines, electric vehicles and the supporting infrastructure.

Arizona State University’s Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering will house the lead site, supported by research sites at the University of Alabama, University of Louisville and the University of Texas at Austin. 

“In the five years since the EVSTS center was formed, the automotive industry has been through a lot in response to shifting political priorities regarding climate change and greenhouse gas emissions targets,” says Hongbin Yu, the center director and a professor in the School of Electrical, Computer and Energy Engineering, one of seven schools in the Fulton Schools of Engineering.

“Our member companies are compelled to achieve emissions reductions and efficiency improvements for internal-combustion engine vehicles, which make up approximately 95% of global automotive sales, while still positioning themselves for strong futures in electric power. The companies help us identify shared research problems in the most critical areas, while our faculty and student researchers conduct the work and share results with the group.

“We are thrilled with this second NSF award and take it as a vote of confidence in the work the center is contributing to the automotive industry and to our planet’s health.”

In its first five years, the center raised more than $6 million in industry membership fees and NSF support for 30 research projects, supporting more than 30 faculty and 60 student researchers.

Currently in its sixth year of operation, the center, which is a National Science Foundation Industry-University Cooperative Research Center, blends academic, industrial and government partners who work together to engage in applied, pre-competitive research in five technical focus areas: electrified vehicle powertrains; conventional powertrains and alternative fuels; non-powertrain vehicle systems optimization; efficient/sustainable autonomous vehicles; and transportation systems and infrastructure.

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