On Wednesday, Sept. 9, the U.S. House of Representatives is scheduled to vote on H.R. 445, the Heavy Duty Hybrid Research, Development and Demonstration Act.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. James Sensenbrenner (D-Wis.), would direct the Secretary of Energy to establish a competitive research, development, demonstration, and commercial application program to provide between three and seven grants of up to $3 million per year each to applicants to carry out projects to advance research and development and to demonstrate technologies, including plug-in hybrid technology, for advanced heavy duty hybrid vehicles.

The bill also requires that each grant recipient complete two phases: (1) phase one, research and demonstration of advanced hybrid technology by producing or retrofitting one or more advanced heavy duty hybrid vehicles; and (2) phase two, demonstration of advanced manufacturing processes and technologies by producing or retrofitting 50 advanced heavy duty hybrid vehicles.

The bill also directs the Secretary to: (1) conduct research into alternative power train designs for use in advanced heavy duty hybrid vehicles; and (2) establish a pilot program through the National Laboratories and Technology Centers of the Department of Energy to research and test the effects on the domestic electric power grid of the widespread use of plug-in hybrid vehicles, including plug-in hybrid vehicles that are advanced heavy duty hybrid vehicles.

The bill would also amend the United States Energy Storage Competitiveness Act of 2007 to direct the Secretary to conduct an applied research program on energy storage systems to support vehicles with a gross weight over 16,000 pounds.