back to all projects

U.S.-China Clean Energy Research Center for Clean Vehicles (CERC-CVC)


Led by The University of Michigan, Center Director: Dr. Dennis Assanis
Core Partnering Institutions: The Ohio State University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Sandia National Laboratories, Joint BioEnergy Institute, Oak Ridge National Laboratories,
Chinese Partners: Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Tsinghua University, Tianjin University

Vision and Goals: The CERC-CVC aims to have an impact on three of society‘s grand challenges, climate change, energy security and environmental sustainability, while spurring innovations to enhance economic development in vehicle manufacturing, clean energy industries, and their associated supply chains. The strategic intent of the CERC-CV is to forge a strong partnership between the U.S. and China, the largest greenhouse gas emitters and the largest existing and emerging vehicle markets, for breakthrough research and development. Collaboration between the two nations is essential to develop the most effective clean vehicle technologies, system configurations, regional fueling strategies and enabling policies.

The vision of the CERC-CVC is a dramatic reduction of petroleum-based fuel consumption and vehicle greenhouse gas emissions for both nations through the synergy of optimized low-carbon energy carriers, including biofuels and electricity. Highly-efficient electrified propulsion technologies that incorporate novel energy conversion, waste heat recovery, and battery storage will be integrated into vehicle platforms based on advanced, low-carbon footprint lightweight materials and components. An integrative life cycle design framework will guide the research and development (R&D) of advanced systems and will enable us to establish greenhouse gas reduction targets, pathways, and policies for translating research results into competitive clean vehicles. Our pioneering research and innovative testbeds will provide unique opportunities to translate laboratory results to full vehicle prototypes.

Project Team: The CERC-CVC will bring together academia, national laboratories, and industry into a consortium of exceptional intellectual strength and expertise in key engineering, natural science, and social science areas. The U.S.-China teams in each of the major research thrust areas will focus on maximizing collaborative efforts and leveraging the respective strengths of the research partners in order to both accelerate invention and commercial success through close ties with industry partners in both countries. CERC-CV aims to be the leading US-China effort in the clean vehicle arena by performing both long-range transformational and translational research to bring discoveries and technologies to market. Successful demonstration of the proposed CV technologies will involve strategic partners from industry in the U.S. and China, including leading OEMs in the transportation and energy sectors, suppliers and innovation-based companies.

Thrust 1: Advanced Systems Integration: Integrative Life Cycle Design and Policy for CV Technologies

  • Vehicle Design and Assessment
  • Fuel Mix Strategies for Vehicle Propulsion
  • Clean Vehicle Systems, Market and Policy Analysis
  • Vehicle – Electricity Grid Modeling and Control

Thrust 2: Vehicle Electrification

  • Computationally-efficient Design tool for high power density electric motors
  • Development of Novel Electrical Variable Traction-Transmission (EVTT) System Based on Dual-Mechanical-Port Electric Machine
  • Waste Heat RecoveryConfiguration design, component sizing and control of hybrid vehicles
  • Integrated Fault Diagnosis and Prognosis for Hybrid and Electric Vehicle

Thrust 3: Batteries and Energy Storage

  • Project 1. Li-ion battery aging and internal degradation mechanisms:
    • Task 1: Modeling and control for battery health management
    • Task 2: Generation of Energy Storage Devices with Controlled Aging
    • Task 3: Multi-scale Characterization
    • Task 4: Thermal Modeling and Characterization of Lithium Ion Batteries for Battery Management and Diagnostic Applications
    • Task 5: Fundamental study of degradation mechanisms resulting from phase transformations
    • Fundamental Studies of Solid Electrolyte Interface
  • Project 2. Li-air batteries

Thrust 4: Characterization, optimization, and combustion of biofuels

  • Chemical and Physical Characterization of Biofuels
  • Development of Chemical and Physical Models for Novel Fuels
  • In-Cylinder Characterization of Biofuels and LTC Engine Experiments
  • Integrated powertrain and aftertreatment system control for clean vehicles
  • Tailored Biofuels for Next-Generation Engines

Thrust 5: Lightweight Structures

  • Computational Design of Strong Lightweight Alloys
  • Low-Cost Production of Carbon-Polymer Composite Components
  • Robust Forming Processes of Lightweight Alloys
  • Robust Joining Processes of Lightweight and/or Dissimilar Materials
  • Lightweight, Multi-Material Vehicle Structure Design and Optimization

As part of this CERC project, Dr. Ming Xu has compiled a visualization tracing the daily movement of more than 12,000 taxis around the city of Beijing, China.  To view this visualization, please visit:


Joint BioEnergy Institute
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Oak Ridge National Laboratories
Ohio State University
Sandia National Laboratories
Shanghai Jiao Tong University
Tianjin University
Tsinghua University
United States Department of Energy (DOE)
Research Areas
Mobility Systems