The Electric and Hybrid Vehicle Research, Development, and Demonstration Act of 1976, part of the Public Health and Welfare Act, gave the US Department of Energy (DOE) the responsibility to research and develop electric and hybrid vehicles. In the years following its enactment, the DOE sponsored the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and the Aerospace Corporation for their research through computer simulations and actual designs, constructions, and tests of prototypes of electric and hybrid vehicles.
Through the Act, Congress hoped to increase collaboration with the automobile industry to improve batteries, motors, controllers, and other hybrid-electric components. The Act also directed the Energy Research and Development Agency (ERDA) to set standards for vehicle performance. In an effort to demonstrate the practicality of hybrid-electric vehicles and to raise public awareness of these technologies, the ERDA was mandated to purchase several thousand electric or hybrid vehicles between 1978 and 1982. Congress amended the Act when the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) agreed to initiate and support research and development of ground propulsion technology if given adequate government funding.
- Hybrid Electric Vehicle Technology Assessment:Methodology, Analytical Issues, and Interim Results (Argonne National Laboratory)