Frequently Asked Questions

Select a FOA to view questions and answers for the specific funding opportunity. Alternatively select "Non-FOA related items" to view system FAQ items.

Question 1: Do you accept other air battery technologies under topic area 2?
Answer 1: Lithium-air is the only accepted air battery technology for AOI 2.


Question 2: For Topic Area 5: Will proposals for individual components, where 5 - 10 lb reductions may be attainable, be accepted. Or does each proposal have to account for the entire 160 lb reduction on a sub-assembly?
Answer 2: Each proposal should account for the entire 160 lb weight reduction. Individual components must be part of a multi-material vehicle subsystem (on a MY2015 or later baseline) that meets the 160 lb weight reduction requirement.  Weight reductions of various, unrelated subsystems are not desired.
Question 3: Is there a mechanism in this proposal for providing "Teaming Partner Information"
Answer 3: Information regarding teaming partners may be included in the Concept Paper and/or the technical qualifications and resources section of the technical volume.
Question 4: For AOI8 Transportation and Energy Analysis, and particularly the 'economic value of managed charging' and 'strategies for grid scale up', does this AOI specifically refer to studies from the grid operator's point of view, but not from EV owner's perspective? Thank you!
Answer 4: This AOI does not refer to specific studies from a particular perspective.
Question 5: 1. For DE-FOA-0002420, can the state Department of Transportation receive the award as the prime recipient? 2. For DE-FOA-0002420, can Clean Cities coalition receive the award as the prime recipient?
Answer 5: 1) Section III.A.iii (page 40) of the FOA indicates that states are eligible to apply as a recipient or subrecipient to this FOA.
2) Section III.A.iii (page 40) of the FOA states that domestic nonprofits are eligible to apply as a recipient or subrecipient to this FOA.
Question 6: Under past VTO FOA, EERE would generally fund FFRDCs independently of the project team through the DOE field work proposal (WP) system; however, page 39 states that "FFRDCs will be funded through the prime recipient as a member of the project team." Page 46 also says, "For subawards to DOE FFRDCs, the recipient shall use the department's strategic partnership projects program and the terms and conditions established for that program;" however, page 60 says, "If a DOE/NNSA FFRDC contractor is to perform a portion of the work, the applicant must provide a DOE WP in accordance with the requirements in DOE Order 412.1A, Work Authorization System." Would you please clarify how VTO intends to funds FFRDCs participating as a sub-recipient? Will funding arrive from the prime through the strategic partnership projects program, or will FFRDCs need to generate a Field Work Proposal to receive funding from DOE via the Work Authorization System.
Answer 6: For this FOA, FFRDC's/National Labs participating as a subrecipient will be funded through the prime recipient and not directly by DOE.  This is a change from past practice.
Question 7: "I have two questions on the last point in the Applications Discouraged for Topic 5 “Lightweight Multi-Material Glider System” in DE-FOA-0002420. 1. Does the last point in Applications Discouraged section directly point to the ladder frames of electric pickup trucks? 2. Does topic 5 envision work only on unibody vehicles and exclude body-on frame vehicles? thank you for your reply. Happy holidays"
Answer 7: The passenger vehicles of interest for this FOA include class C-D cars and SUVs with unibody construction. Applications targeting body-on-frame specific sub-assemblies are discouraged.
Question 8: For AOI 2, is a national laboratory at USA eligible to be a subrecipient?
Answer 8: Section III.A.iii (pages 40-41) of the FOA state that DOE Federally Funded Research and Development Centers (FFRDCs) are not eligible to apply to AOI 2 as a recipient or subrecipient.  All other non-DOE/NNSA FFRDCs and federal agencies are eligible to apply as subrecipients only.
Question 9: We noticed a significant change from past FOAs to the funding mechanism for an FFRDC national lab as a subrecipient. All funding to FFRDC national labs used to be distributed directly by DOE to national labs though a Field Work Proposal (FWP). Can you please confirm that the FWP is not a required document for this FOA and if so, is this a DOE EERE department-wide policy change? 3. Value/Funding The value of, and funding for, the FFRDC/NL portion of the work will be included in the award to a successful applicant. DOE/NNSA will not fund a DOE/NNSA FFRDC/NL through the DOE field work authorization process and other FFRDC/NLs through an interagency agreement with the sponsoring agency. FFRDCs/NLs will be treated as subawards for applicants. Therefore, applicants should prepare the budgets utilizing rates appropriate for such an arrangement. For subawards to DOE FFRDCs, the recipient shall use the Department’s strategic partnership projects program and the terms and conditions established for that program.
Answer 9: FFRDCs/National Labs are not required to submit an FWP as part of their subcontract with the prime.  However, if the value of the FFRDC/National Lab work exceeds $250K or 25% of the total project value, they will be required to submit a detailed budget justification.
Question 10: The FOA states “For subawards to DOE FFRDCs, the recipient shall use the Department’s strategic partnership projects program and the terms and conditions established for that program.” The statement of work between the DOE FFRDC and the lead institution determines the contractual agreement between a national laboratory contractor and a private company or university – either a Strategic Partnership Project (CRADA) or Collaborative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA). Please confirm that CRADAs will also be allowed as appropriate.
Answer 10: The prime recipient is allowed to use CRADAs as a contract mechanism/agreement with the FFRDC.  Regardless of the type of agreement selected, it must include the terms and conditions from the DOE strategic partnerships programs.
Question 11: For FOA-DE-FOA-0002420 Topic 2: Li-S and Li-Air cell development, doe this topic rule out any solid state Li-S battery work?
Answer 11: Yes, it rules out solid state Li-S development.
Question 12: Does the grant allow prototype development and test of new hardware for AOI 6?
Answer 12: Yes, prototype development and new hardware testing is allowed for AOI 6.
Question 13: We are looking for a funding opportunity for our project about electric vehicle fire suppression systems. I was wondering if we can submit a proposal under this FOA. If not, will you be able to direct us to the right person(s)?
Answer 13: Please submit a concept paper to receive a recommendation reagrding your proposed project.
Question 14: For DE-FOA-0002420 AOI 2: Is a national laboratory eligible to be a subrecipient? We plan to team with a scientist at national laboratory for this topic.
Answer 14: As stated in section II.A.iii (page 40) of the FOA, FFRDCs/National Labs are not eligible as either a prime or subrecipient for AOI 2.
Question 15: Do FFRDC/National Labs still need to provide a field work proposal if funding is being distributed via subcontract with the prime rather than directly from DOE?
Answer 15: FFRDCs/National Labs are not required to submit an FWP as part of their subcontract with the prime.  However, if the value of the FFRDC/National Lab work exceeds $250K or 25% of the total project value, they will be required to submit a detailed budget justification.
Question 16: Can the proposed electrolyte contain carbonate co-solvents?
Answer 16: Carbonate-based cosolvents are acceptable as long as the electrolyte contains novel, next-generation electrolyte technologies that would have the capability to overcome the issues identified in the area of interest.
Question 17: For AOI4: The "Additional Deliverables" section of the FOA states that "Simulation tools developed under this program, including new software or user defined functions called by commercial software, must be made widely available." Question 1: Would it be sufficient, if using a proprietary simulation platform, to simply demonstrate that the developed subroutines/modules are compatible with a commercial tool, or, does a 3rd party commercial software vendor have to be a partner/sub-recipient? Question 2: Would publication (conference/paper) of subroutines suffice for making "widely available", or must the distribution be via commercial licensing agreement with a 3rd party software vendor? Thank you.
Answer 17: 1.  If the developed model is incorporated into both  proprietary software and as a user defined function for a third-party vendor package,  that would be sufficient.
2.  Publication of the subroutine should be sufficient.  A commercial agreement with a 3rd party vendor is not required.
Question 18: On Topic 5 - Lightweighting 1. Can we have links to the previous studies to review all previous project research (this would be easier than our searching for them)? 2. Does the proposal need to identify all 160 lbs. in a single subsystem or can it be multiple subsystems to equal the total/ 3. Does any single proposal need to reach the total 160 lbs. or can it focus on a portion of the 160 lbs. 4. Can the proposals just focus on parts of the requirements, like just methods for sorting end of life scrap or Real-time control of joining processes to ensure quality of dissimilar material joints.
Answer 18: 1. The Materials Program Record document at the link provided (https://www.energy.gov/eere/vehicles/reports-and-publications) provides a summary of recently completed lightweighting projects.  Annual Merit Review presentations for on-going VTO projects may be found at https://www.energy.gov/eere/vehicles/annual-merit-review-presentations.
2. Each application should account for the entire 160 lb weight reduction. Individual components must be part of a multi-material vehicle subsystem (on a MY2015 or later baseline) that meets the 160 lb weight reduction requirement.  Weight reductions of various, unrelated subsystems are not desired.
3. Each application should account for the entire 160 lb weight reduction. Individual components must part of a multi-material vehicle subsystem (on a MY2015 or later baseline) that meets the 160 lb weight reduction requirement.  Weight reductions of various, unrelated subsystems are not desired.
4. Applications must include all aspects (numbered 1 through 7) under the Requirements section of the Area of Interest.
Question 19: With respect to Topic Area 7 it states "Applicants are encouraged to include partnerships with past and current EEMS research organizations with direct research experience and tools that are relevant to these pilot studies." Where can applicants find a list of past and current EEMS research organizations?
Answer 19: Information regarding EEMS prjects and the participating organizations may be found at:
Publications: https://www.energy.gov/eere/vehicles/reports-and-publications
Annual Merit Review: https://www.energy.gov/eere/vehicles/annual-merit-review-presentations
Annual Program Report: https://www.energy.gov/sites/prod/files/2020/06/f76/VTO_2019_APR_EEMS_COMPILED_REPORT_FINAL_compliant_.pdf
Question 20: The objective for Topic Area 8 reads as broad analytical/analysis tools, but then all the bullet points are specific to types of EV charging. Is this accurate? Is there opportunity for analysis not specific to EV charging? For example, something utilizing the MEP metric?
Answer 20: The FOA language for AOI 8 topics of interest includes ‘other timely, priority economic analysis of medium and heavy vehicle electrification’, such that the AOI is not entirely specific to EV charging.
Question 21: We are looking to apply to the open solicitation for High Power Density Inverters (DE-FOA-0002420) but we are confused about how it is different from existing Inverter projects seen in the 2019 VTO Annual Report. The current solicitation asks not to replicate existing projects but seems to ask for a project application that is identical to existing projects that you manage. Can you clarify differences or advancements in the new opportunity? Perhaps addressing where inverter developments are at today in existing projects and what next step this project hopes to accomplish? Can you provide some clarity?
Answer 21: The status of current DOE funded inverter projects may be seen in the Annual Merit Review reports at https://www.energy.gov/eere/vehicles/annual-merit-review-presentations.
Question 22: Hello, Our team is developing a lithium metal battery with a liquid electrolyte. Would our technology, which is neither Li-ion, nor Li-S or Li-air, be eligible? If so, would you recommend applying under Topic 1a or 1b? Thank you. Best regards.
Answer 22: AOI 1a states "Projects are limited to next-generation Li-ion cells which utilize graphite-based anodes and NMC 622 or higher Ni-content cathodes, or comparable advanced, commercial cathode".  For AOI 1b there is a requirement of Sulfur-based cathodes, so a Li metal battery containing any cathode aside from Sulfur-based is not applicable.  So a lithium metal battery would not appear to meet these requriements.
Question 23: We have a battery technology that does not use rare metals and that can be applied to existing vehicles. Twelve years ago, we innovated a novel method to store high temperature (1750°C), high density (15.2 MJ per kg, 1,551 MJ per m3 ) thermal energy, which uses molten metals and can be charged by virtually any renewable source. Brayton cycle engines only require a heat source and a drive fluid, typically air or water in turbines. However, using liquid nitrogen (LN2) as a drive fluid in a reciprocal engine takes advantage of LN2’s aggressive expansion when heated rapidly. We created a method to replace combustion in Brayton Cycle turbines using our thermal storage. Our research goal moving forward is to take our experience with turbines to the reciprocal engine using LN2 and to refine our thermal storage for mobile use. We have already experimented with a simple benchtop two-cycle engine using LN2. Although crude, it was a proof of concept that using the LN2 and our heat source was a potentially viable method of powering a reciprocal engine. We also are aware of the LN2-powered mail truck that successfully operated at the University of Washington, using ambient heat Does that comply with this RFP.
Answer 23: Please submit a concept paper to receive a recommendation regarding your proposed project.
Question 24: Under AOI2, based on the solicitation, it appears national labs cannot be a collaborator. Is that correct? Also, under "Teaming arrangements", it says "None". I understand there is no teaming arrangement requirements, but is there is a preferred teaming structure? For example, multiple universities and/or industry partner?
Answer 24: FFRDCs cannot be a subrecipient or a prime.  There is no preferred teaming structure.
Question 25: For DE-FOA-0002420 AOI 8, would a project on electrification of boats - fishing vessels - be considered?
Answer 25: The FOA focuses on electrification data analysis of light, medium and heavy duty road transportation vehicles.
Question 26: Is there a limit, % of hours or budget, for work being done outside of the US for a waiver approval?
Answer 26: There is no stated limit for foreign work in a project.  Any submitted foreign work waivers must justify the expenditure of US taxpayer funds outside of the US.  See Appendix C of the FOA for full details as to what should be contained in the waiver request. 
Question 27: Is the title for Topic 2 listed in the cost sharing table on page 42 simply a typo?
Answer 27: Yes.  It has been corrected in Amendment 000001 of the FOA.
Question 28: Regarding DE-FOA-0002420 AOI 6: talking about connected and automated vehicles, do you mean human-driven vehicles or autonomous (fully-automated) vehicles?
Answer 28: Connect and automated vehicles may be any of the following. Connected with no automation; connected and partially automated; or connected and fully automated.
Question 29: Topic 5: The FOA specifies that sub-assemblies or BIW of large SUVs (body on frame) are discouraged. The question I have: Is lightweighting the BIW of uni-body cars (class C & D) and uni-body SUV’s within the scope of this FOA?
Answer 29: The BIW of unibody class C and D vehicles would be within the scope of this topic.  Applicants are encouraged to maximize the weight savings of their selected system relative to baseline.
Question 30: The FOA says that applications targeting body-on-frame specific sub-assemblies are discouraged. Can you give examples of components, subsystems that could be targeted?
Answer 30: It is the intent of EERE to solicit for challenging projects, leaving the system choice to applicants subject to the topic constraints. Sub-assemblies that only occur in vehicles with body-on-frame construction are discouraged.
Question 31: "(All of the below questions are in reference to AOI Number 7 - Implementation of Energy Efficient Mobility Systems Technologies into Real-World System Applications) 1. Can funds spent and/or in-kind contributions made on the project before grant receipt be counted towards our match? 2. Can funds spent on the project before grant receipt be reimbursed with grant funds? 3. Can the PI change mid-stream, or must they be consistent from concept paper submission onward? 4. What is the difference between a contractor, a third party, and a vendor in the context of the grant? Can a contribution to the project by one of these parties who will not receive grant funds count toward cost share? 5. Could contribution of driverless shuttles be counted towards the cost sharing match and/or reimbursed as a grant expense? These vehicles are not compliant with Buy America or the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, so we wanted to confirm. 6. If the DOE funds the development of an “AV readiness” curriculum/content, who owns that intellectual property? And could the project team sell that curriculum to generate revenues for the project (independent of the DOE grant)?"
Answer 31: 1. Costs incurred prior to an award – “pre-award costs” – may be allowable.  However, this situation would have to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. 
2. Please see page 66 of the FOA regarding pre-award costs.
3. The Principal Investigator (PI) may be changed between the Concept Paper phase and Full Application phase of the application process.
4a. Please see 2 CFR 200.330 for subrecipient and contractor determinations.
4b. Non-particpating parties may contribute (donate) to the project as cost share.
5. The use of driverless shuttles would be appropriate as part of a project under this AOI.
6. Please section VIII.M (page 93 of the FOA) for information regarding copyrights.  The recipient may use materials developed during the project to generate revenue.
Question 32: Regarding DE-FOA-0002420 AOI 6, could universities or their industry partners hold the patents for their hardware design innovations, or there are any IP restrictions?
Answer 32: See section IV.D.xv (page 63) as it pertains to licensing and specific commitments that may be determined on award.
See section VIII.J (page 90) for title to subject inventions and class patent waiver information.
Question 33: The introduction to AOI7 states that "In the context of this AOI, “pilot” refers to the first use of a technology in a specific physical location." Does this mean that the concept must be for the first use of a technology in that physical location for any purpose, or rather that it must be the first use of that technology for a particular use case or purpose in that location?
Answer 33: The intent for this AOI is that the concept is the first use of the technology in that location.
Question 34: I could not find in FOA: Who is eligible to apply? I work for BART, a rail transit agency in the SF Bay Area. Is there a match requirement?
Answer 34: The elgibility section of the FOA begins on page 41 and cost share information is found on page 43.
Question 35: Can money from another federal agency be used as a cost match? Specifically, USDOT allocations to state departments of transportation, transit agencies and/or grant money. Thank you!
Answer 35: Federal funds may not be used as cost share or match.
Question 36: Where can we find the Concept Paper template for this FOA? Thank you.
Answer 36: DOE has not provided a template for the concept paper for this FOA.  Content and form requirement for the Concept Paper may be found on page 51 of the FOA.
Question 37: For AOI 2, can national labs be collaborators or Co-PIs without any budget allocation to them?
Answer 37: All project personnel are to be accounted for in the budget and quarterly/final reporting.  Having personnel contribute to the award without a specific budget allocation, yet having an approved work allocation, makes a project somewhat unmanageable.  As well, having an FFRDC person participate in a project while having a salary reimbursement from another Federal source would likely be considered misuse of Federal Funds.  Consequently, any AOI 2 Concept Paper and/or Full Application that includes FFRDC personnel as part of the project team will be deemed ineligible and not submitted for merit review.
Question 38: Would Topic 4 support research devoted to chemistry/turbulence/molecular-transport research?
Answer 38: Research should not be ‘devoted’ to these topics, but if research in these areas is needed to improve on current simulation tools, then it could be a part of the research project.
Question 39: Within AOI7 (EEMS), are there limits on the specific types of services that can be considered "Transportation-as-a-service" or is the Department looking for innovative concepts to help define what TAAS can encompass?
Answer 39: The Department is looking for innovative concepts to help define what TAAS can encompass.
Question 40: "The FOA says: ""In addition to the deliverables required in the Federal Assistance Reporting Requirements Checklist, VTO will require recipients to provide all testing and validation data produced in the project validation phase. "" Can you provide some context for what the testing validation data is?"
Answer 40: The testing validation data refers to the data generated during the pilot that may be used to validate or verify the accuracy of transportation models.
Question 41: Does each prime or subrecipient have to contribute 20% of their budget allocation towards cost share? or can one or two recipients provide the bulk of the cost share such that the total cost share is still 20% of complete budget?
Answer 41: Each project team is free to determine how best to allocate the cost share requirement among the team members. The amount contributed by individual project team members may vary, as long as the cost share requirement for the project as a whole is met.
Question 42: For AOI2, can there be an industrial collaborator? Can we allocate budget to the industrial collaborator or is it expected that industrial partner provides their own resources towards the project?
Answer 42: Team members from industry are allowed as collaborators.  The division of cost share among team members is up to the team to decide.
Question 43: For AOI7, pages 31-32 of the FOA set forth topics and information that must be provided in the application. Do concept papers also need to cover all of those topics, or must concept papers only cover the elements set forth on pages 50-51?
Answer 43: The Concept Paper should generally address the requirements of the AOI, but do not necessarily need to address every requirement.  The elements in the Concept Paper requirements (pages 50-51) describe how your Concept Paper should be structured.
Question 44: 1) Do we include project team qualifications, experience and capabilities within the 3-page maximum “Technology/Project Description” section? I believe prior DOE solicitations have allowed this information to be included outside the page limit or separately as an attachment. 2) Please confirm the due date for the Concept Paper has been changed and is now February 12.
Answer 44:

1) All information for the Technology/Project Description Section must be included in within the 3 page limit of the Concept Paper.  Given the limited length of this document, it is expected that project team information provided in the Concept Paper will be limited.

2) The due date for Concept Paper submissions is 5:00pm ET on Friday February 12, 2021.

Question 45: We are interested to submit a concept paper and as per the attached pdf, we need to submit the concept paper through EERE. But after logging in, I was not able to find DE-FOA-0002420 in the list there. Could you please help me?
Answer 45: The FOA DE-FOA -0002420 will be available for submissions on EERE Exchange beginning Wednesday February 3.  Prior to that date, you may not find the FOA listed there.
Question 46: I'm not seeing the forms and templates on the website. Where can I find them?
Answer 46: Forms and templates will be available on the EERE Exchange website beginning Wednesday February 3, 2021.
Question 47: We have developed a technology that improved fuel efficiency by 50%-100% in all internal combustion engines regardless of the fuel used. We are in the prototyping and testing phase and are looking for additional funding to continue our progress. I tried to apply for your topic area 4: Integrated Simulation of Combustion and Aftertreatment - Optimizing for Near-Zero Emissions (ISCA-ONE) but the website wouldn’t allow me to register. Is there another way to apply or would it be possible to speak with you about what we have to see if it would be worthwhile applying?
Answer 47: Please submit a concept paper to receive a recommendation regarding your proposed project.
Question 48: We are preparing a concept paper in response to FOA 0002420. Th site states that applications will be available on 03 FEB. I would like to confirm whether I will be able to submit our CP using my personal account at that time, or whether an institution-level account is required for submission? We want to make sure everything is ready to go for submission when the system opens back up again.
Answer 48:
An individual account in EERE Exchange is acceptable for submissions.

An individual account in EERE Exchange is acceptable for submissions.
Question 49: Can you confirm the amended deadline on DE-FOA-0002420 for submission of the concept paper is February 12th? Neither the emailed synopsis or the grants.gov webpage for the FOA list the concept paper submission date.
Answer 49: The due date for Concept Paper submissions is 5:00pm ET on Friday February 12, 2021.
Question 50: 1) One additional question not covered in the FOA -- are registrations required from the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act Subaward Reporting System and FedConnect to submit a concept paper? 2) Curious as to when the portal will be open to submit the concept paper for this FOA? Cannot find the link for submission in EERE xchange.
Answer 50:

1) Registration in Fedconnect is recommend but not required in order to submit a concept paper.  Registration in the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act Subaward Reporting system is not required at the Concept paper phase.

 

2) The FOA will be available to submit concept papers beginning Wednesday February 3, 2021 on EERE Exchange.

Question 51: I’d like to submit our concept paper for DE‐FOA‐0002420: Vehicle Technologies Office Fiscal Year 2021 Research Funding Opportunity Announcement. However, I cannot find the FOA on “EERE Exchange system.” Can you help with this issue?
Answer 51:

1) Registration in Fedconnect is recommend but not required in order to submit a concept paper.  Registration in the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act Subaward Reporting system is not required at the Concept paper phase.

2) The FOA will be available to submit concept papers beginning Wednesday February 3, 2021 on EERE Exchange.

1) Registration in Fedconnect is recommend but not required in order to submit a concept paper.  Registration in the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act Subaward Reporting system is not required at the Concept paper phase.

2) The FOA will be available to submit concept papers beginning Wednesday February 3, 2021 on EERE Exchange.

Question 52: I will be submitting a concept paper for this foa. I cannot find the foa on EERE Exchange though the updated foa says that we should apply through EERE Exchange.
Answer 52:

The FOA will become available on EERE Exchange beginning Wednesday February 3, 2021 and concept papers may be submitted at that point.

Question 53: "I have a question about the Concept paper requirements for DE-FOA-0002420. For the Technology/Project Description the page limit is 3 pages maximum. However, the Description states “Applicants may provide graphs, charts, or other data to supplement their Technology Description”. Please confirm that this supplemental information is in addition to the 3 page limit for the Technology/Project Description."
Answer 53: The supplemental information is included in the three page limit.
Question 54: Is that a formal document or can you help me to know what you are expecting with a concept paper please?
Answer 54: Concept paper form and requirements are listed in the FOA.  The FOA may be found at https://epicweb.ee.doe.gov/EPICWeb/#/home.  Concept papers may be submitted beginning February 3 at https://eere-exchange.energy.gov/Default.aspx
Question 55: I have a couple of questions regarding this Funding Opportunity Announcement: • Does this grant allow for partnering with another agency to apply? • Is it correct that the deadline for Concept Papers has been extended to 2/12/2021? • Under Allowable Costs the FOA states to refer to 2 CFR 200 Subpart E. Is there any more specific information regarding allowable costs or will it be up to how the agency writes their application?
Answer 55:

1) As noted on pages 42-43 of the FOA, State, local, and tribal government entities are eligible to apply for funding as a prime recipient or subrecipient and Federal agencies and instrumentalities (other than DOE) are eligible to apply for
funding as a subrecipient, but are not eligible to apply as a prime recipient.

2) The deadline for submitting concept papers has been extended to 2/12/2021.

3) It is up to the applicant to determine whether their costs are allowable as defined in 2 CFR 200.

Question 56: Page 62 of the revised FOA - Section vi. SF-424 Application of federal Assistance. In the SF 424 form there is no field 21 that list the certifications and assurances as stated in the FOA. Also the link is broken. Can you please send me the SF424 with this field 21 and information?
Answer 56:
1) Line 21 of the SF424 references certifications and assurances linked in the FOA. The updated  link to the assurances is https://www.energy.gov/management/downloads/certifications-and-assurances-use-sf-424

Line 21 of the SF424 references certifications and assurances linked in the FOA. The updated  link to the assurances is https://www.energy.gov/management/downloads/certifications-and-assurances-use-sf-424

Question 57: Thank you so much! Two more questions for clarity: Regarding budget and cost-share, is there a webpage or handbook to have more clarity on some of the language and eligible line items (ie not eligible - partial donations, definition of indirect costs/direct costs) Which budget estimates specifically will the concept paper submission link call for?
Answer 57:

1) Please refer to 2 CFR 200, Section E for more information regarding allowable costs.

2) EERE will require applicants to provide estimated total federal, recipient, and total project costs as part of the concept paper submission process.  Applicants will have the opportunity to revise these when submitting a full application.

Question 58: I was looking to see if there was an update to when this would be available on EERE Exchange. It seems that most of the other FOAs that were originally posted on EPIC have already been moved over, just this one is missing.
Answer 58:

The FOA will be available on EERE Exchange no later than February 3 and applicants may begin submitting concept papers on that date.

Question 59: I am trying to start the submission process for the Vehicle Technologies Office Fiscal Year 2021 Research Funding Opportunity Announcement Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) Number: DE‐FOA‐0002420 However, I can find this FOA in the EREE-Exchange portal. Any guidance on how to navigate to this FOA would be much appreciated.
Answer 59:

The FOA may be currently found at https://epicweb.ee.doe.gov/EPICWeb/#/home.  Beginning February 3 it will be available on EERE Exchange at https://eere-exchange.energy.gov/Default.aspx.  All application submission must be made on the EERE Exchange site.

Question 60: I am writing to inquire about required cost-share for non-profit and higher education organizations in this FOA (DE-FOA-0002420) . Is there a waiver or process to request lower cost-share for these organizations?
Answer 60:

EERE is not offering reductions or waivers of cost share for this FOA.

Question 61: I tried to register and to obtain a control number for FOA 0002420 on the https://eere-exchange.energy.gov/ website, however, the FOA 0002420 is not currently on the website. Please advise how to proceed as the deadline is on Feb. 5, 2021.
Answer 61: This FOA wil be available to register and submit applications beginning Wednesday February 3.  The due date for submitting concept papers has been extended to February 12, 2021.
Question 62: 1) In the past, the concept paper format allowed a one page addendum in addition to the 3-page limit. Is it still the case? If so, what kind of information can we include in this addendum? 2) I understand, for AOI2, collaborations with National labs are not permitted. However, can we have industry collaborations? Are there any other teaming restrictions?
Answer 62:

1) Any tables, charts, photos or graphs may be incorporated directly into the concept paper body, which is limited to three total pages.

2) Industry collaborators are allowed.  There are no other restrictions on participation beyond those general limitations in the Eligibility section of the FOA.

Question 63: I am developing a concept paper response to AOI 6 of FOA 0002420, and I have two questions: 1. SAE J3216 defines CDA as specifically including “M2M” communication, but the examples of “Potential areas of innovation” on page 28 of the FOA document appear to indicate that non-M2M communication technology would be acceptable. Could you please clarify whether projects involving non-M2M technology would be eligible? 2. Is it safe to assume that a project involving vehicles with Level 0 automation according to SAE J3016 would not be eligible?
Answer 63:

1) DOE is interested in any novel technology application to enable CDA, including machine-to-machine (M2M) and non-M2M.

2) Projects involving connected vehicles with Level 0 automation may be considered. Connected and automated vehicles may be any of the following. Connected with no automation; connected and partially automated; or connected and fully automated.

Question 64: Our agency is reviewing FOA-0002420 with interest. Have any FAQ or Q&As specific to this this offering been posted? One question we have is whether the grant submittal system will request budget data. It's not requested in the concept letter but we get the impression it may be collected elsewhere, so information about data type and format would be appreciated.
Answer 64:

1)  The FAQ for this FOA is available at https://eere-exchange.energy.gov/FAQ.aspx?FoaId=29f46f65-34b0-4b0f-9616-9349b8d4dc64

2) EERE will require applicants to provide estimated total federal, recipient, and total project costs as part of the concept paper submission process.  Applicants will have the opportunity to revise these when submitting a full application.

Question 65: I work for an automotive company looking to apply for this funding opportunity. I’m reaching out to you because I’ve been unable to find this grant in the EERE exchange. As the picture below shows, when I search for it in the exchange nothing comes up. Can you tell me how to find it? Also, as far as the concept paper is concerned for this grant, will we need to fill out an application or can it just be written like a whitepaper in a word document?
Answer 65:

1) The FOA is now available at EERE Exchange or using the following link: https://eere-exchange.energy.gov/Default.aspx#FoaId29f46f65-34b0-4b0f-9616-9349b8d4dc64

2) Concept paper form and submission requirements are listed in the FOA.

Question 66: I am reaching out with two questions about FOA Number DE‐FOA‐0002420. 1) I submitted a question previously to the online portal for this FOA. The answers to the questions were then uploaded online in an Excel file. However, that Excel file with all potential applicant questions seems to have moved or been removed from the EERE website. Is the Excel file with participant questions still accessible to potential applicants and if so, do you have a direct link to it which you could share? 2) On page 49 of the FOA, there is a statement which reads that “an entity may submit more than one Concept Paper and Full Application to this FOA, provided that each application describes a unique, scientifically distinct project and provided that an eligible Concept Paper was submitted for each Full Application.” With respect to this statement, does “entity” refer to both the prime recipient and subrecipients? Additionally, does “unique, scientifically distinct project” mean that the projects must fall under different/distinct areas of interest (AOI) or can there more than one Concept Paper submitted by a single entity within a single AOI as long as they qualify as “unique, scientifically distinct” projects?
Answer 66:

1) The FOA is now available at EERE Exchange or using the following link: https://eere-exchange.energy.gov/Default.aspx#FoaId29f46f65-34b0-4b0f-9616-9349b8d4dc64  

2) In this context, an entity would be the prime applicant and their team, which includes subrecipients.

3) An applicant may submit more than one concept paper to an AOI provided each concept paper represents a unique, scientifically distinct project.

Question 67: FOA 2420 is now available on EERE Exchange and is open for submissions.
Answer 67:

FOA 2420 is now available on EERE Exchange and is open for submissions.

Question 68: Do I need to check my submission information if my submission was transferred from the EERE Program Information Center to the EERE Exchange System
Answer 68: While every effort was made to insure that submissions were accurately transferred between the two systems, applicants should double check their submission information in EERE Exchange before submitting their Concept Paper.


Question 69: I'm having trouble clicking on the email address to submit FOA questions.
Answer 69:

An updated copy of Amendment 000002 is uploaded with no changes except for fixing the hotlinks.

Question 70: In cases where a prime contracts with an FFRDC as a sub-recipient, given that FFRDC’s require several months of advance funding to conduct work, will the prime be able to invoice DOE for the required advanced funding (plus any applicable organizational burden associated with the FFRDC contract) in order to pass through the required advanced funding to the FFRDC partner so they can perform their work on the project?
Answer 70:

Advanced funding, as per the requirements of the FFRDC, is allowable.  If selected for negotiations leading to award, these situations will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. 

Question 71: Is an SFLLL form required from FFRDC national laboratories?
Answer 71:

Yes, all subrecipients are required to submit an SF-LLL form.

Question 72: We thought there was an introductory webinar to this offering, but were unable to attend. Is it posted on line for viewing?
Answer 72:

This FOA did not conduct an applicant webinar.



Question 73: 1. In the scenario where there are multiple companies involved in the proposal effort, if the concept paper is submitted by a one company (say, a small business), can we switch the lead organization to another company (say, a larger company), during the final proposal, who is also a team member of the same proposing team? Basically, during the final proposal can we switch the lead organization? (No change in the technical white paper content). 2. Can we add additional team members during for the final proposal versus those identified in the Concept paper? 3. It seems like for this project, if a DOE lab is involved, the lab will be paid by the commercial lead company (is it CRADA?). Is my understanding correct? In this case, does the DOE lab need to go through the DOE pre-approval process to be part of the team member? Secondly, will the DOE lab be funded directly by the DOE or by the commercial lead organization? 4. From the FOA I understand that if a DOE lab is involved, the DOE lab cannot contribute towards the cost share. In that case, the cost share from the involved company (companies) should include the DOE sub-award portion also? To clarify my question, for example, if the lab award is $100K and the rest of the company budget is $400K, are we (commercial company) supposed to provide the cost share for the total $500, or just for the $400K? 5. If multiple DOE labs are involved as part of the team, does the 25% limit applies to each lab or combined? That is, if there are two DOE lab are part of the team, then is the total DOE lab budget still needs to be inside the total 25% limit? 6. Does the total proposed funding amount include the cost share also? That is if the requested amount is $1,000,000 and cost share is $200,000, is the total proposed budget is $1.2M or is it $1.0?
Answer 73:

1) The lead organization may not be switched between the concept paper phase and full application phase of the application process.

2) Team members may be changed between the concept paper phase and full application phase.

3) FFRDCs will be funded through/by the prime applicant.  An authorization from the relevant Contracting Officer must be included with the full application submission for each lab participating on the project.

4) Although the cost share requirement applies to the project as a whole, including work performed by members of the project team other than the prime recipient, the prime recipient is legally responsible for paying the entire cost share.  Each project team is free to determine how best to allocate the cost share requirement among the team members. The amount contributed by individual project team members may vary, as long as the cost share requirement for the project as a whole is met.

5) The 25% limit on FFRDC participation is an aggregate limit.  that means the total participation of all labs cannot exceed 25% of total project costs.

6) Total proposed funding/project costs include cost share.

Question 74: 1. It appears that this FOA has not yet been migrated to the new web portal yet. Is it possible to view Q&A that have already been answered to date? 2. Page 53 of the FOA states that concept papers should discuss the proposed technology’s target level of performance. Could you offer a bit more guidance as to what should be covered there? For AOI7, would it be sufficient at the concept paper stage to discuss the ways in which this technology will improve upon the energy consumption profile of the applicable mobility system?
Answer 74:

1) The FOA and the FAQ is now available at EERE Exchange.

2) The Concept Paper should provide a discussion of how the proposed technology will improve energy consumption along with a targeted level of improved performance in order to better understand the impact of the proposed technology.

 

Question 75: Does a Improvement and Service District, a political subdivision of the state, quality as a subrecipient? We have a village and hospital interested in participating and both are Improvement and Service Districts. Thank
Answer 75:

As stated on page 42 of the FOA, State, local, and tribal government entities are eligible to apply for funding as a prime recipient or subrecipient.  As a state or local government entity, an improvement district would be eligible.

Question 76: I’m currently submitting a concept paper for DE-FAO-0002420, and could use guidance with respect to the participants’ “Percentage of Project” or “Effort”. Is this percentage intended to reflect the members monetary contribution or is it a more subjective measure of their labor, leadership, and influence?
Answer 76: The percentage of effort noted  on pages 49 and 63 of the FOA refers to the monetary value of the participant's effort.
Question 77: "1) In the FOA it says in AOI 7 explanation on page 32 “This topic seeks to bridge the previous modeling and simulation‐based systems research that EEMS has funded with the real‐world implementation that the TI program has funded to conduct mobility research and deploy these results in pilot level studies in physical settings. In the context of this AOI, “pilot” refers to the first use of a technology in a specific physical location.” Does this mean that only previously funded projects will receive follow-on funding? Or, are we allowed to apply and propose a new project? This is a critical point as we believe that our technology and demonstration project is very very relevant to this AOI and has a potential of huge impact in the transition towards large scale adoption of zero-emission fleets. 2) Do we need to have teaming agreements done at the time of submitting concept paper? Or, is it okay to have the proposed team and have the formal teaming agreements done by the time we submit a full-proposal?"
Answer 77:

1) New technologies are also encouraged as long as they align with the AOI’s intended outcomes.

2) No, teaming agreements are not required at time of submitting the Concept Paper.

Question 78: In completing submission of our Concept Paper, I found that the link to further info on TRLs is a broken link.
Answer 78: The link has been repaired.
Question 79: How do we obtain an Application Control Number?
Answer 79:

A control number will be generated when you begin the process of submitting your concept paper in EERE Exchange.

Question 80: Does the submitting organization have to receive at least 50% of the federal funds for this FOA?
Answer 80:

There is no  requirement or limitation regarding the percentage of awarded funds to be utilized by the prime applicant.  However, FFRDCs participating as subrecipients are limited to an aggregate total of 25% of total project costs.

Question 81: For topic area 7, do projects have to include an autonomous vehicle or could electric vehicles without autonomous functionality be considered?
Answer 81:

The inclusion of an autonomous vehicle in the proposed project is not a specific requirement under this AOI.

Question 82: 1. Must concept papers indicate a PI or is a primary business and technical contact sufficient at this stage? 2. Page 53 of the FOA states that concept papers should discuss the proposed technology’s target level of performance. Could you offer a bit more guidance as to what should be covered there? For AOI7, would it be sufficient at the concept paper stage to discuss the ways in which this technology will improve upon the energy consumption profile of the applicable mobility system?
Answer 82:

1) The applicant is not required to propose a PI at the concept paper phase, however it is encouraged.

2) The Concept Paper should provide a discussion of how the proposed technology will improve energy consumption along with a targeted level of improved performance in order to better understand the impact of the proposed technology.

Question 83: After reviewing Sections III.A.iv and IV.I.iii and Appendix C, I have four questions about how a foreign entity should apply to a FOA Topic Area (specifically Topic Area 4, although relevant to others) through a U.S. holding within the same multi-national company. Specifically: [1] Should the U.S. holding of the foreign entity be listed as the prime recipient? [2] If substantial work is proposed to be performed outside the U.S. (upon providing acceptable rationale), should the relevant foreign holding(s) of the same foreign entity be listed as sub-recipient(s) in order to receive award resources? Or, may the U.S. holding distribute award resources to the company’s international locations without listing such non-domestic holdings/locations as separate foreign sub-recipients, as long as all details are specified in a Foreign Work Waiver Request as per Appendix C? [3] May cost share (in form of cash and/or in-kind contributions) be provided through the non-U.S. holdings/locations of a foreign entity? [4] Lastly, should any details of proposed foreign work performance be specified in the Concept Paper, or only in the Full Application (i.e., via a written Foreign Work Waiver Request under Appendix C)? Thank you very much for your help in answering these questions.
Answer 83:

1) Yes the US based subsidiary should be listed as the prime applicant.

2) If a request to perform work outside of the US is approved, the US-based subsidiary selected as the prime applicant can choose to fund the foreign holding as a subrecipient or to fund them through internal processes. 

3) Cost share may be provided through the non-US entity provided a Foreign Work Waiver request has been approved.

4) It is up to the applicant to decide what content to include in a concept paper.  A foreign work waiver request is not required at the Concept Paper phase of the application process.

Question 84: This is the first time I am submitting a concept paper to the Exchange system. I understand we will still need the Control Number via the Exchange system. How is the control number assigned and how can we be sure to have that control number in the upper right corner of the concept paper if we are entering before having the control number?
Answer 84:


The control number is generated in the first screen of the application process.  Complete the general information and add the technical point of contact information.  When you press the create concept paper button, the control number will be generated at the top of the screen.  The number may then be added to your concept paper document.  This document will be uploaded and submitted to DOE near the end of the submission process.

Question 85: 1) You stated: “Although the cost share requirement applies to the project as a whole, including work performed by members of the project team other than the prime recipient….” What is the meaning of stating “other than the prime recipient” in your answer? Does it mean that if there are multiple team members in the project, the prime-recipient need not provide the cost share? Please clarify. 2) if the prime recipient or a sub-awardee is a small-business do they also need to provide the same amount of cost share? Is there any concession for the small business?
Answer 85:

1) The prime recipient is legally responsible for ensuring that cost share requirements are met.  It is up to the team to decide how much cost share each member will provide to meet the project cost share requirement.

2)   There are no statutory requirements that subrecipients provide cost share.  The team may divide responsibility for providing cost share among the team members however it sees fit.  It does not matter how much cost share each subrecipient provides as long as the total required project cost share is met.

Question 86: When I log into the EERE Exchange portal, I see that the Concept Paper was submitted on 1/22. The only option that I have is to unsubmit and then resubmit. Is this needed?
Answer 86:

The EERE Exchange system provides the option to unsubmit (and then resubmit) a concept paper prior to the submission deadline.  This enable the applicant to make changes to a submitted concept paper.  The concept paper may be unsubmitted and resubmitted any number of time prior to the submission deadline.  Once the submission deadline has passed, no further changes may be made.

Question 87: I have a partner who will be providing funding but not receiving any grant funding. I assume the % reflects each participants contribution, not percent receipt. Is it acceptable to estimate this value?
Answer 87:

It is acceptable to estimate the percentage of total project work that each team member will perform.

Question 88: Thank you for your response. Just to confirm, the team's qualifications, experience and capabilities are also expected to be part of the three-page limit?
Answer 88:

Yes, all concept paper content, including team member qualifications, must be contained within the three page limit.

Question 89: Can you advise on what additional preparation, if any, is needed to submit the concept paper besides registering through the EERE portal, selecting the appropriate funding opportunity, and filling out the provided form? Specifically, we'd like to know if any other codes are needed, what the process and timing of receiving those codes would be, and if a completed sam registration is a requirement to submit the concept paper (please note that we do have a DUNS number associated with our company EERE account).
Answer 89:

Please see page 50 of the FOA for the requirements of the application process.  The control number is the only "code" required to submit a concept paper.  The control number is generated when the applicant creates and saves their initial application  registration.  Completed registration in SAM.gov is strongly encouraged, but not required, to submit a concept paper.

Question 90: While preparing the concept paper submission on EERE-Exchange, I noticed that once you elected the TRL, it appears you cannot change it since it does not appear in any of the tabs. Is there way to change the TRL assignments?
Answer 90:

The TRL selection in EERE Exchange has been changed from required to optional.

Question 91: I should clarify my question. If we have partners who will not receive grant funding, shall we enter 0% or enter a rough estimate on of the monetary value of their contribution.
Answer 91:

Regardless of whether proposed team members will receive federal funding, the estimated value of the project work they will perform should be included in that field as a percentage of the total project costs.

Question 92: I am a small minority business owner planning to apply for the Advanced Vehicle Technologies FOA. To this end, I was wondering if you have any examples of past concept notes and past proposals you could send to me to assist me in the process.
Answer 92:

DOE cannot provide samples of concept papers or full applications.

Question 93: Our team is preparing a concept paper for the DE-FOA-0002420. Our faculty will be proposing work on concepts that have high potential for patentability/profitability. However, currently, these ideas are not protected. As such, our faculty has expressed reluctance to disclose the detailed information required for the concept paper and the full application. Can you provide guidance on how we notate proprietary information in our documents and provide assurances of its protection?
Answer 93:

Section VIII.D (page 92) of the FOA describes the steps DOE will take to protect application data and provides directions for marking information as confidential.



Question 94: Hi, for the control number to be included in the concept paper, should I use the original one in the EERE Program Information Center or the new one in the EERE Exchange system?
Answer 94:

Since all merit review will take place in the EERE Exchange system, please use the control number generated by the Exchange system.  It will have the format 2420-XXXX.

Question 95: 1. How should applicants calculate the percentage of effort to be expended by each member of the project team? Is this meant to be an estimate that is subject to change over the course of the project? 2. Does the 4000-character maximum abstract that is submitted through the portal count towards the 3-page limit? Should applicants omit a project summary from the 3-page concept paper if submitting the abstract online through the portal or should we also include a concise summary with the concept paper in addition? 3. Must applicants submit a proposed budget (including federal share) when submitting a concept paper? If so, will we be able to revise this budget during the application phase? 4. The "Funds and Costs" tab within the EERE Exchange portal asks for a proposed period of performance. Should all projects propose 39 months, as listed in the FOA?
Answer 95:

1) There is no required method for calculating the percentage of effort.  Typically, the prime applicant will calculate it based on the percentage of total project costs to be incurred by each team member.  This is an estimate and it can change as the project progresses.

2) The abstract submitted through the portal does not count towards the Concept Paper page limit.  It is up the  applicant to decide whether a summary is appropriate for their Concept Paper.

3) The EERE Exchange system will require applicants to submit a proposed federal share, recipient share, and total project costs when submitting the Concept Paper.  These costs may be changed when submitting a full application.

4)  The period of performance described in the FOA is provided as guidance for applicants to establish the scope and duration of their proposed projects.  While applicants are not required to follow it, it is highly recommended.



Question 96: There does not appear to be a requirement in the Concept Paper submission to list the beginning and ending TRL’s. I just want to confirm that since this section has been made optional in the on-line submission form that TRL’s are not required at the Concept Paper stage. I am specifically asking in regards to AOI 6. I this correct?
Answer 96:

TRLs are not required at the concept paper phase of the application process.

Question 97: The format for the Concept Paper specifies page numbers on every page. Does this include the Cover page so in total the page numbers would be 1-4 (assuming a 3 page technical section + cover)?
Answer 97:   It is not necessary to put a page number on the cover page.
Question 98: I had a quick question about Area of Interest 1a (Next-generation Liquid Electrolytes for Li-ion Cells Under Extreme Conditions) in DE-FOA-0002420. In page 10 and 13 of the FOA it mentions that AOI 1a focuses on Graphite anodes. Does this exclude Silicon-based anodes or Silicon-graphite based anodes from this application?
Answer 98: Yes this excludes silicon or silicon-graphite based anodes.