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: In reading the FOA, I noticed the following eligibility criteria: "ii. Individuals U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents are eligible to apply for funding as a prime recipient or subrecipient." However, in section "iv. Foreign Entities": "Other than as provided in the “Individuals” or “Domestic Entities” sections above, all prime recipients receiving funding under this FOA must be incorporated (or otherwise formed) under the laws of a State or territory of the United States and have a physical location for business operations in the United States." Is the "U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents" is a hard requirement?
Answer 1: All INDIVIDUALS applying to the FOA must be a US citizen or a lawful permanent resident. 
Question 2: I'm trying to access the full FOA for the Fiscal Year 2019 Advanced Vehicle Technologies Research Funding Opportunity. The document is not uploaded to Grant.gov, could you please let me know where I may download the FOA with application instructions?
Answer 2: The FOA may be downloaded at https://eere-exchange.energy.gov/#FoaId439d5a28-e6a1-48a2-b453-093d3bfbe1df
Question 3: We saw that the topic (AOI 1a: Development of Materials to Enable Solid State Batteries) describes "research, develop, and test lithium metal anode - based batteries that implement solid lithium-ion conductors capable of achieving the cell performance identified in the table below." We wonder if we can propose the Development of Materials to Enable Solid State Batteries but focus on "research, develop, and test silicon anode-based batteries that implement solid lithium-ion conductors capable of achieving the cell performance identified in the table below." with the same performance goals.
Answer 3: Silicon anodes are not in scope for this topic.
Question 4: With regard to the recent announcement of up to $59 M in DoE funding for advanced vehicle technologies research, I’d be interested in knowing if research on Vehicle to Grid through advanced battery electric buses would qualify for this program?
Answer 4: DOE will not provide feedback on technical ideas outside of the concept paper process.  Please submit a concept paper to receive a DOE feedback (Encouraged/Discouraged) regarding your proposed project.
Question 5: I have a question about this FOA. Is the separation of topic 1 into 1a, b, and c meant to signify that each proposal should focus on one aspect of investigation of solid-state batteries? For instance, proposals to topic 1b should only focus on experimental characterization and not on modeling?
Answer 5: The separation of Topic 1 into separate sub-topics is to focus applications on specific aspects of battery technology such as modeling or diagnostics.  So the application should focus on the requirements described in the specific topic.
Question 6: Concerning the DE-FOA-002014 Advanced Vehicle Technologies, the site indicates a concept paper deadline of March 1st 2019. Is that correct, the announcement was dated March 1st. Is the full application deadline still 6/19/2019?
Answer 6: As noted on the Exchange website and in the FOA, Concept Papers for DE-FOA-0002014 are due May 1, 2019  The full applications are due June 19, 2019.
Question 7: We understand that. The topic is focused on the solid state electrolyte and we have an awesome solution that would work for both Li anodes and Si anodes. We just think Si makes more sense for multiple reasons (better safety, better rate, higher loading, lower cost, etc.). Do I understand you correctly that even if we offer solid state batteries that exceed the program performance goals we have to use Li anodes? In other words, you would disqualify anyone not using Li anodes, correct?
Answer 7: Silicon Anodes are outside the scope of this particular FOA and will therefore not be considered for purposes of this FOA.
Question 8: Can universities apply as a prime recipient for awards under this FOA? Can the Principal Investigator proposed under the project be a Foreign National?
Answer 8:

As stated in section III.A.iii of the FOA, educational institutions incorporated or otherwise formed within the United states are eligible to apply, subject to the restricted elgibility described in III.A.i of the FOA.

A foreign national may be proposed as the PI for a project subject to the Foreign National Access provisions described in section VI.B.III of the FOA.

Question 9: Under AOI 1a: Development of Materials to Enable Solid State Batteries, can a DOE FFRDC be a sub-recipient?
Answer 9: As stated in section III.A.iii of the FOA, for AOI 1a, DOE FFRDCs are not eligible to apply as a recipient or subrecipient.
Question 10: Is it possible to apply to more than one of the subcategories within Topic 1? For example, can I submit a proposal that includes a scope of work addressing the topics in both 1a and 1b? If the answer is yes, would that allow for a federal budget of $2M rather than the stated $1M limit within each of the subcategories a-c?
Answer 10: Submitting a single concept paper to apply to multiple topic areas is not permitted.  As stated in section III.F of the FOA, applicants may submit more than one concept paper and full application provided each describes a unique scientifically distinct project.  Applying to two topic areas would require the submission of (at least) two concept papers/full applications.
Question 11: Is this funding opportunity limited to motor vehicles, or are marine applications (e.g. ferry vessels) eligible?
Answer 11: This FOA is limited to motor vehicles.  Ferries and marine applications are not in scope.
Question 12: I have a question about projects that may be eligible for funding under AOI 6c: Alternative Fuel (e.g. natural gas) Proof-of-Concept in New Communities and Fleets. My question is about teaming. If the project is tested in city/location that is not a Clean Cities Coalition city, but the project involves the participation of an entity -- say, a transportation provider -- that is in a city that is a member of the Clean Cities Coalition, does that satisfy the teaming requirement? In this hypothetical, the cities are in two different states.
Answer 12: Applicant teams must include one or more DOE-designated Clean Cities coalitions as  recipients and/or team member(s) (https://cleancities.energy.gov/coalitions/locations/) and a public or private vehicle fleet for the demonstration.  This requirement is independent of the work location(s).
Question 13: We have two questions regarding DE-FOA-0002014 AOI 6d: EV Data Collection. Thank you for your time. Question 1 - On page 22: The FOA mentions the types of use cases targeted as: A plan to maximize vehicle data collection from different PEV types (e.g.,battery electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles) and ranges in a variety of use cases (e.g., passenger cars for personal and/or shared use, commercial delivery trucks, transit buses, etc.), Fleets are not specifically mentioned. Is it valuable to also collect data on EVs in commercial and government fleet applications or is it preferable to collect data on vehicles only in non-fleet applications? Question 2 - Is it possible for the awardee to provide financial incentives or gifts, using funding from the award, to the EV drivers in exchange for data collection and participation?
Answer 13:

Question 1: The listed use cases are provided as examples and are not intended to be limiting.  The FOA asks for “data from PEVs and charging infrastructure in normal, every-day use by private and commercial owners/operators.”

Question 2: Gifts are not an allowable project cost per 2 CFR200 Subpart E Selected items of Cost. 

Question 14: On page 7, AOI #2, quote “Novel High-Power Density Non-Heavy Rare-Earth Motor Topologies for High Speed Traction Motors – High speed (>20,000 rpm) electric motor operation creates material and structural challenges, and reducing motor size creates thermal challenges.” Why would the FOA demand that the motor has to be > 20,000 rpm? The definition of power density (kW/L) and cost ($/kW) targets both on the traction system level and on the subsystem level is sufficient in my opinion. An additional requirement of > 20,000rpm could potentially lead to an unoptimized system design and not meeting the overall electric traction system targets, especially for cost when including the gearbox. In fact, this is even contrary to the 2017 EETT roadmap which describes < 20,000 rpm in the “Appendix B –Electric Motor Design 2025 Technical Guideline”.
Answer 14: By increasing the speed of the motor, it enables decreasing the size of the motor.   Our focus is on achieving our targets for the motor and the electric drive system, with emphasis on increasing the power density while also decreasing cost.   
Question 15: I have a question regarding AOI 1: Solid State Batteries. Is it possible to submit an application that encompasses multiple subcategories (e.g., 1a and 1c)? If so, would the federal award amount still be limited to $1M?
Answer 15: Submitting a single concept paper to apply to multiple topic areas is not permitted.  As stated in section III.F of the FOA, applicants may submit more than one concept paper and full application provided each describes a unique scientifically distinct project.  Applying to two topic areas would require the submission of (at least) two concept papers/full applications.
Question 16: From page 4 a goal of electrolyte to sulfur ratio is stated using mL as the electrolyte metric. This typically is a liquid electrolyte metric. Are we to interpret that liq elyte Li-S is responsive, or can you restate this goal in a solid electrolyte metric (keeping in mind solid electrolyte mass densities in general are higher than liquids).
Answer 16: For this AOI, liquid electrolytes will not be considered.  A thickness of the solid electrolyte was not specified, but it is preferred to have them as thin as possible without sacrificing their performance and mechanical strength.
Question 17: For this AOI 1: Solid State Batteries, an area of interest is “new designs of the sulfur cathode host to achieve high sulfur loading …”. Does this area of interest require the new sulfur cathode host to work with solid electrolytes or liquid electrolytes can also be used?
Answer 17: Solid electrolytes and solid electrolyte/polymer electrolyte combinations will be considered for this AOI.  Liquid electrolytes or any combinations containing liquid will not be considered
Question 18: Could you offer your definition for "novelty vehicle" for AOI 6b? Also, will there be a pre-solicitation conference for this FOA?
Answer 18:

There will not be a pre-solicitation conference for this FOA.

Novelty vehicles are those that are primarily designed for sport and recreation and are not approved for use on public roads.  Examples include go-carts, golf-carts, skate boards, land sailing carts, propeller/wind driven vehicles, racing/competition vehicles, etc.

Question 19: We were looking at the FOA in order to determine the counties that are at least 50% rural as defined in the United States Census Bureau County Classification Lookup Table. It is not clear whether the 50% applies to the percentage of the total population that is considered rural or rather the percentage of the area that is considered rural. Would it be possible to clarify this matter?
Answer 19: The 50% minimum applies to the percentage of the total population that is considered rural.
Question 20: Is there any teaming arrangement possible between and academic institution and a DOE National Laboratory? The FOA excludes subcontracts. Are there other methods of interaction that would be possible?
Answer 20: As noted in section III.A.iii of the FOA, DOE FFRDCs are not eligible to participate as a recipient or subrecipient for topics 1a, 1b, 1c, 2 or 6d.  DOE will not provide recommendations regarding teaming arrangements for applicants.

Question 21: The following questions are related to AOI 6.c. (Alternative Fuel Proof-of-Concept in New Communities and Fleets ) 1. Does liquid nitrogen count as a alternative fuel and if not could it be included in this opportunity? 2. Are off-road technologies e.g. transport refrigeration units able to be funded with this opportunity? 3. Are we more suited to another priority?
Answer 21: 1) Liquid nitrogen is not a transportation fuel and would be considered out of scope for this topic
2) Transport refrigeration units are out of scope for this topic
3) DOE will not provide recommendations regarding which topics to apply to.
Question 22: We are interested in applying for 6C, Alternative Fuel Proof-of-Concept in New Communities and Fleets, and were wondering if conventional hybrids, i.e. not plug-in hybrids, are eligible if put in the police sector.
Answer 22: As stated in FOA topic 6c specific requirements, "Pre-commercial vehicles and light-duty gasoline hybrid electric vehicles are not eligible."
Question 23: On page 27 the estimated funding table lists Topic 1a as having both a $1M minimum and $1M maximum award, implying that all awards will be exactly $1M. Is this correct? If it is correct, how can the available funding be $8.5M? Should be a multiple of $1M.
Answer 23: The amounts listed in the funding table for topic 1a are anticipated award sizes and are provided to assist in establishing the scope of the proposed projects.
Question 24: I am considering collaboration with the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Area of Interest 01a. JPL is a NASA FFRDC. Does this status exclude them from participating in this FOA?
Answer 24: As noted in section III.A.iii of the FOA, Non-DOE/NNSA FFRDCs are eligible to apply as a prime recipient or subrecipient for topics 1a, 1b, 1c, 2 and 6d
Question 25: Under 6C, Alternative Fuel Proof-of-Concept in New Communities and Fleets, does the base cost of the vehicle count towards cost share match?
Answer 25: The base cost of the vehicle may be used as cost share.


Question 26: Does the Department of Energy accept Transportation Development Credits (TDCs) for match on the Fiscal Year 2019 Advanced Vehicle Technologies Research Funding Opportunity?
Answer 26: Proposed cost share must be allowable, reasonable and allocable project costs per 2 CFR 200.  These credits do not represent actual project costs and therefore will not be accepted by DOE.
Question 27: As regards the AOI2 for novel high power density high speed machines, does the proposal need to come with the controller, or can the concept be presented for the motor alone?
Answer 27: Motor research is the intent and focus of this AOI.   If a proposed motor design will require changes (or research/innovation) to the controller, that should be included in the proposed project in order to document the proposed motor design will meet the AOI objectives.
Question 28: Could you please confirm that cost, cost structures and cost breakdowns are not needed for the concept paper for the above referenced funding opportunity announcement.
Answer 28:

Detailed costs are not part of the concept paper content.  Please see section IV.C of the FOA for more information regarding the required concept paper format and content.

The EERE Exchange system will require estimated total costs in order to submit a concept paper.  These estimated costs can be changed when a  full application is submitted

Question 29: - Are we allowed to apply together with a public electric utility firm? - Are we allowed to apply together with a non-American University? - Is it required to take a third party e.g. consulting company to prepare an application or are we allowed to hand in the application ourself.
Answer 29:

Please see section III.A of the FOA to the eligibility requirements for the applicant and other team members.

An applicant is not required to use a 3rd party consultant to prepare or submit an application.

Question 30: I have a question related to the topics eligible to be submitted under “AOI 3: Energy Efficient Mobility Systems Research” The introduction of this AOI is mostly based on the research of connected and automated vehicles. E.g.: “Connected and automated vehicle technologies have the potential to significantly improve transportation system safety and energy efficiency. For example, advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS), such as adaptive cruise control, collision avoidance, automatic braking, and lane departure warning, may lead to a substantial reduction in vehicle crashes. Higher levels of automation that enable the vehicle (rather than the human driver) to manage accelerating, braking, and steering control could eventually eliminate the cause of most traffic accidents.” However, goals of the AOI seems to be broader and do not exclusively focus on “connected and automated vehicles”, E.g.: “This AOI seeks to (1) develop and validate novel approaches to improve traffic network system-level efficiency through cost-effective connected and automated vehicle and transportation solutions, and (2) remove technical barriers to the implementation of such systems.” So, my question is – does a potential project needs to be about connected and automated vehicles?
Answer 30: Per the FOA “This AOI seeks to (1) develop and validate novel approaches to improve traffic network system-level efficiency through cost-effective connected and automated vehicle and transportation solutions, and (2) remove technical barriers to the implementation of such systems.  By advancing the state of the art for efficient connected and automated transportation systems, successful projects will accelerate the energy and safety benefits of these new systems and reduce the time, cost, and energy required for mobility."   You must submit a concept paper in order to receive a DOE determination regarding your proposed project.
Question 31: SBIR's are mentioned at the of the announcement page (https://www.energy.gov/eere/vehicles/funding-opportunities), but not in the FOA. What is the anticipated role of SBIR's in the DE-FOA-0002014 work?
Answer 31: There is no specified role for SBIRs in this FOA.  Small businesses may apply subject to the eligibility restrictions in section III of the FOA.
Question 32: If there were 3 different fleets in a geographic region, would this qualify as 1 project as long as the maximum of new vehicles was 5 or less? Also Is it acceptable that there be multiple alternative fuels included in one project for example a propane autogas shuttle bus as well as 2 PHEVs?
Answer 32: Multiple fleets in one geographic region can qualify as a single project,  subject to the limit of 5 new OEM AFVs or conversion of 5 conventional vehicles to use alternative fuels.  There are no restrictions regarding the number of alternative fuels that may be used in one project.
Question 33: With regards to AOI 5: We have an industrial partner that is contracted to supply engine blocks to an OEM. So long as they meet the 20,000 per year unit limit, would there be any reason they would not qualify as a prime applicant?
Answer 33:

For AOI 5, the prime applicant is limited to Automotive OEMs or Tier I suppliers who supply at least 20,000 vehicles or major components for at least 20,000 engines.

In accordance with the FOA, EERE will not make eligibility determinations for potential applicants prior to the date on which initial concept papers are submitted and  then again once full applications to this FOA must be submitted. The decision whether to submit an concept paper and then a full application in response to this FOA lies solely with the applicant.

Question 34: Clarification questions on AOI 6b: 1. The guidance indicates that this program should be at least one but no more than five vehicles - this seems like a very small number of vehicles given the $500,000 minimum funding with a 50% match requirement for a 36-month program. Can you confirm this is the intent? 2. Are the costs to purchase the vehicles a permitted cost? 3. Are software development costs to test features we believe would be applicable to a rural use case permitted?
Answer 34: 1. Projects must demonstrate at least one but no more than five vehicles and must include data collection.
2. Yes
3. The FOA states that “Projects must obtain data and quantify the energy efficiency and mobility gains that result from the use of data, technologies, or applications to improve the affordability, convenience, and/or accessibility of mobility in a rural area.” Therefore, software development costs to analyze and determine energy efficiency and mobility gains would be an allowable cost.
Question 35: With regards to AOI 6C, Alternative Fuel (e.g. natural gas) Proof-of-Concept in New Communities and Fleets. Would this include fleets that have never used alternative fuel vehicles before? Does the definition cover fleets that already have alternative fuel vehicles and are interested in a new fuel type?
Answer 35: This AOI seeks to demonstrate small-scale, alternative fuel or advanced technology fleet projects (five or less vehicles and infrastructure) in communities, fleets, or geographic areas that have little or no experience with these technologies.  New fuels and alternative fuel vehicle types as well as infrastructure are encouraged.
Question 36: In AOI 6B, it reads, “Projects must demonstrate need at least one but no more than five vehicles and must include data collection.” Does this mean for each project or each fleet represented in the project?
Answer 36: These requirements are per project.
Question 37: The FOA states that the minimum award amount (federal portion) will be $875K for AOI topic #4. Is it possible to request a lower amount without a negative impact?
Answer 37: Yes the applicant may request a lower amount.  The funding amounts are provided as guidance for establishing the scope of the proposed project.
Question 38: Was there a webinar for this FOA?
Answer 38: There was no applicant webinar for this FOA.
Question 39: 1. For all of the AOIs, would cost sharing from a utility company be considered “federal dollars” because they are a federal entity? 2. Related to cost share, there is a reference to revenue from a funded program that is generated AFTER the project period NOT being allowed as cost share. Our question is can revenue that is generated DURING the funded period from the project or program that was funded be counted as cost share?
Answer 39:

1.) Cost share provided by a utility company would be considered allowable.

2.) Revenue generated from a funded project (i.e. program income) during the project period would be considered allowable cost share.  The use of the program income in the project would be subject to negotiations if selected for negotiations leading to an award.

Question 40: For the concept paper submission do I need to be registered with SAM, Grants.gov & Fedconnect or can I just register before the final application submission?
Answer 40: Registration in SAM, Grants.gov and Fedconnect is not required to submit a concept paper.  However, it is recommended that applicants register at these sites as soon as possible given the time it takes to complete the registrations.
Question 41: Please clarify for AOI 6A. Page 34 of the FOA indicates that R&D projects have a 20% cost share, but page 35 indicates 50% cost share for anything under 6A. If the work performed under 6A is strictly research, with no infrastructure costs, what is the cost share percentage?
Answer 41: The cost share statement in section III.B of the FOA is a general minimum cost share for R&D projects.  The cost share table in section II.B lists the specific programmatic cost share requirements for each AOI.  The cost share for applicants for AOI 6A is 50%, regardless of the types of work proposed in the application.
Question 42: I have a question about AOI 6b. The FOA states that applicants are discouraged from promoting a specific brand. Can you provide some additional information on that? Does that mean the project should not discuss the use of a specific brand or that the focus should not be brand promotion?
Answer 42: The application can identify brands and partner with a brand name company.  The intent is the application/proposed project should not be used to promote specific brands.
Question 43: If a concept paper is encourage for full proposal, is it allowed to add co-PI(s) or subcontractors who are not in the concept paper into the full proposal, given this could strengthen the proposal? Is it allowed to remove co-PI(s) who are in the concept paper or replace them with another co-PIs?
Answer 43: It is allowable to add/remove/change team members between the concept paper  and the full application.
Question 44: AOI 6c General Requirements - Bullet 2: Can a proposed project include pre-commercial technologies in its alternative fuel infrastructure plan?
Answer 44: As stated in section I.D of the FOA (Applications Specifically not of Interest) for AOI 6c, applications that demonstrate technology that is not commercially available as of the time of FOA publication will be deemed non-responsive and will not be reviewed.
Question 45: Can you please advise if the three-page limitation on the concept paper includes the cover page?
Answer 45: The concept paper is limited to a maximum of 1 page for the cover and a maximum of 3 pages for the content for a total of 4 pages.
Question 46: Can the FOA application be transferred from one applicant to another applicant after the concept paper has been submitted?
Answer 46: DOE does not allow the FOA  application to be transferred from one applicant to another applicant after the Concept Paper has beem submitted.
Question 47: Is it possible to add the co-PI on the existing concept paper during the full proposal submission?
Answer 47: Yes a co-PI may be added to the full application.