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: I just read the solicitation and have a question about eligibility, which I am a bit confused about. I am an Assistant Professor at a U.S. university but I am a foreign national currently on a visa. Is my reading correct that I am eligible to apply for a grant under III.A.iii as part of a domestic entity through my employment at the The University, even though I am neither citizen or permanent resident as an individual?
Answer 1: In the scenario identified in the question, the entity submitting the application is a domestic institution of higher education, not a foreign entity.  The restrictions regarding foreign entities do not apply to domestic institutions of higher education. Please refer to Section III.A of the FOA for all eligibility requirements.
Question 1: I was hoping you could clarify some conflicting information regarding whether FFRDCs will be funded through the prime recipient.
Answer 1: Amendment 00001 to the FOA was issued to address this question.
Question 1: Can you please clarify the meaning of the following statement in the FOA? “The overall objective of each project should be to demonstrate how a substantial (75% or greater) reduction in the GHGs and local pollutants from the movement of goods in trucks can be achieved in a way that is economical and scaleable.” Is the GHG calculation a tank-to-wheels or a well-to-wheels analysis? If well-to-wheels, are there preferred assumptions or sources for assumptions that we should use for carbon intensity of different energy sources?
Answer 1: The Greenhouse Gas (GHG) reduction should be based on Total Life Cycle analysis.
Question 1: I was wondering whether vehicles procured through the SuperTruck 3 program would need to be FTA Buy America compliant.
Answer 1: The SuperTruck 3 vehicle(s) will be designed and assembled as a part of the the project activities.  Please reference Section IV.I.iii.  1.  Requirement  All work performed under EERE awards must be performed in the United States. This requirement does not apply to the purchase of supplies and equipment; however, the prime recipient should make every effort to purchase supplies and equipment within the United States. The prime recipient must flow down this requirement to its subrecipients.
Question 1: The FOA, includes the following “The cost share must be at least 50% of the total allowable costs for demonstration projects.” If you look at the Appendix B-Sample Cost Share Calculation for Blended Cost Percentage, there are different R&D tasks and different cost shares. Are we to assume that none of the proposed project would include “R&D” efforts? Is there any ability to get a higher cost share for R&D efforts, perhaps at the beginning of the project? The above statement leads you to determine the whole effort is a Demonstration effort, and there is no ability to negotiate cost share percentage from 50%, of all costs & across the entire project. Please confirm.
Answer 1: The SuperTruck 3 projects are demonstration and therefore 50% costshare for all activities is required.  
Question 1: Are refuse vehicles an eligible project type?
Answer 1:

Please reference Section B, Topic Area.  The purpose of this announcement is to solicit applications for co-funded projects that will enable class 4 through 8 medium- and heavy-duty original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), suppliers, and fleet partners to develop higher efficiency trucks and freight systems that significantly reduce CO2 emissions while meeting future criterion emission standards.  

Question 1: In the FOA tractor trailers are mentioned as part of the vehicle freight system missions. Would Class 8 Trailers with transportation refrigeration units (TRU's) independent of a tractor, qualify for the FOA as a class 8 vehicle?
Answer 1:

Please reference Section 1.C “Application Specifically Not of Interest” of the FOA:   Applications that do not include a Class 4,5,6,7 or 8 vehicle manufacturer as a project partner.

Question 1: Do the matching funds need to be spent on the R&D / demonstration project, or can they be spent on related initiatives?
Answer 1: Please see section III.B.Cost Sharing.  The cost share must be at least 50% of the total allowable costs for demonstration projects (i.e., the sum of the government share, including FFRDC costs if applicable, and the recipient share of allowable costs equals the total allowable
cost of the project) and must come from non-federal sources unless otherwise allowed by law. (See 2 CFR 200.306 and 2 CFR 910.130 for the applicable cost sharing requirements.)
Question 1: What are the requirements for the baseline data? Can the baseline be set in aggregate, for the current fleet (i.e., including diesel/gas vehicles), or must the research demonstrate improvement of 75% efficiency from an already zero (tailpipe) emission technology? Does the baseline have to include grid emissions from charging, or is it just vehicle emissions/efficiency?
Answer 1: Please see Section I.B.  Topic Area.  Objective.  The overall objective of each project should be to demonstrate how a substantial (75% or greater) reduction in the GHGs and local pollutants from the movement of goods in trucks can be achieved in a way that is economical and scaleable. As part of the project analysis, the applicant will include a baseline reference vehicle(s) and the underlying system in which they operate that is equal in scope to the proposed project. 
Question 1: In order to complete the concept paper, does the applicant have to have finalized partners?
Answer 1: Please see Section C.i.  Concept Paper Content Requirements.  Under Technology/Project Description, team qualification and resources will be evaluated.
Question 1: In order to complete the full application, does the applicant have to have finalized partners, or just a plan to procure them?
Answer 1: Please see Section D.ii.  Techical Volume.  Under Technical Qualificaitons and Resources, team qualification and resources will be evaluated.
Question 1: I wanted to reach after hearing about this program to see if the funding of this variety could be used for a startup. Our team is developing a mobile refueling startup to allow businesses and consumers to bypass gas stations helping to eliminate the environmental effect correlated to their usage. Our first truck platform looks to do this through a possible Ford 550 diesel vehicle. We wanted to see if with this type of funding we could propose a Lightning System's Electric Ford F-550 model to replace a normal Oilmen's F-550 diesel model. That way moving forward from the start our whole fleet can be a first of its kind of electric vehicle delivery fuel. Allowing us to be that much closer to helping the industry step away from massive fuel needs.
Answer 1: Please see Seciton I.B. Topic Area.  Objective.  Applications must:  Organize project activities in four phases: 1) simulation and analysis, 2) design, 3) vehicle integration, and 4) vehicle demonstration.  The resulting prototype SuperTruck(s) will be a designed, integrated and demonstrated to show improvements over current commercially available baseline vehicles.
Question 1: I wanted to follow up on my previous email regarding Buy America requirements for SuperTruck 3. I see in the FOA that there is a "domestic preference" for infrastructure projects. Would that apply to the procurement of electric vehicles as well?
Answer 1: Please see Section IV.I.vi   Equipment and Supplies.  Items procured will be used to design, build and demonstrate the prototype SuperTruck vehicle(s).
Question 1: I wanted to confirm whether vehicle procurement is an eligible cost through this program or if this program will only fund the development of a brand new vehicle.
Answer 1: Please see Seciton I.B. Topic Area.  Objective.  Applications must:  Organize project activities in four phases: 1) simulation and analysis, 2) design, 3) vehicle integration, and 4) vehicle demonstration.  The resulting prototype SuperTruck(s) will be a designed, integrated and demonstrated to show improvements over current commercially available baseline vehicles.
Question 1: The amended FOA requires DOE National Laboratories to be a subcontractor to the prime recipient, requiring execution of the full and formal DOE SPP approval process. This formal DOE SPP approval can take many months to secure and may take longer than the time remaining before the proposal submission deadline. To mitigate this risk, and as an alternative to the SPP process, can a proposal include having DOE fund the DOE National Laboratories work directly using the DOE Inter Entity Work Order mechanism or other mechanism? This would effectively have the DOE National Laboratory participate on the project under a Field Work Proposal approval process instead of the SPP approval process.
Answer 1: Please see Section II.B.II.  Funding Agreements with Federally Funded Research and Development Center (FFRDCs).  FFRDCs will be funded through the prime recipient as a member of the project team.
Question 1: The SuperTruck 3 FOA appears to emphasize freight transportation, which is one of many applications for MD/HD trucks. Are non-freight vocational applications in class 4-8 trucks of interest and eligible for this funding opportunity?
Answer 1: Please reference Section I.B, Topic Area.  All class 4 through 8 medium- and heavy-duty vehicles are eligible.  Passenger transport vehicles (including buses) are allowable. Non-freight vocational applications in class 4 through 8 medium- and heavy-duty vehicles are eligible.
Question 1: Terms including Gantt, Work Breakdown Structure, and Milestones indicate a traditional PM waterfall approach is expected, however methodologies such as Agile, DFSS and hybrid Waterfall/Agile approaches are conducive to innovation. Organizations such as Homeland Security have recently adopted Agile and SAFe. Is there a preferred project management methodology used within the EERE and encouraged on the Super Truck 3?
Answer 1: The project management methodology should follow the applicant's standard proceedures.
Question 1: In an earlier answer the target (75% or greater) reduction of GHG should be based on Total Lifecycle Analysis. Assuming, GHG footprint for electricity generation should be included in the performance analysis. Should petroleum refinery production and distribution be included in the baseline reference?
Answer 1: Yes.
Question 1: Are there standard metrics that EERE or DOE use other than the EIA for various GHG footprints?
Answer 1: Argonne National Laboratory publishes annual updates to its GREET (Greenhouse gases, Regulated Emissions, and Energy use in Technologies) Model, including a “WTW Calculator” that offers well-to-wheel estimates for energy use, greenhouse gas emissions, water consumption, and air pollutants emissions for different vehicle technologies with different functional units. See https://greet.es.anl.gov/tools.  
Question 1: On page 27 of the FOA it states, the following: Each submission must not exceed the specified maximum page limit, including cover page, charts, graphs, maps, and photographs when printed using the formatting requirements set forth above and single spaced. If applicants exceed the maximum page lengths indicated below, EERE will review only the authorized number of pages and disregard any additional pages. Then, on page 30 of the FOA under Technical/Project Description, the last bullet, states the following: Applicants may provide graphs, charts, or other data to supplement their Technology Description. Question: Can the Concept Paper include the 3 page maximum for the Technology/Project Description and an additional page with only supplemental data?
Answer 1: The maximum page limits for the concept paper is 1 page for the Cover Page Section and 3 pages for the Technology/Project description.  All technical information should be contained in the 3 pages.
Question 1: The FOA mentions there are new opportunities in commercial vehicles to dramatically reduce or eliminate GHG emissions through electricity, biofuels and hydrogen. While the FOA seems to be silent on fuel cell type, most of the applicable metrics are focused on hydrogen as fuel. Is there an interest in and will it be considered responsive for a proposed solution that involves a low cost solid oxide fuel cell (that can meet GHG reduction and cost targets) and can reduce GHG with biofuels and hydrogen (when available) and yet also act as a bridge to future hydrogen fuel infrastructure using currently available diesel?
Answer 1: It is the prospective applicant’s responsibility to make the determination if their proposed project meets the requirements identified in the FOA.   Note Section I.B.  Topic Area.  Objective.  The overall objective of each project should be to demonstrate how a substantial (75% or greater) reduction in the GHGs and local pollutants from the movement of goods in trucks can be achieved in a way that is economical and scaleable. As part of the project analysis, the applicant will include a baseline reference vehicle(s) and the underlying system in which they operate that is equal in scope to the proposed project.  Submittal of a concept paper will result in a recommendation regarding your proposed project.
Question 1: What performance targets should such a solution be compared to (e.g., Appendix E: engine, fuel cell, or both)?
Answer 1:
Argonne National Laboratory publishes annual updates to its GREET (Greenhouse gases, Regulated Emissions, and Energy use in Technologies) Model, including a “WTW Calculator” that offers well-to-wheel estimates for energy use, greenhouse gas emissions, water consumption, and air pollutants emissions for different vehicle technologies with different functional units. See https://greet.es.anl.gov/tools.