ASPIRE Receives Funding for Electrified Transportation Projects

Cars travel down Interstate 15, which runs the length of Utah.
Photo credit: UDOT. Cars travel down Interstate 15, which runs the length of Utah.

The National Science Foundation ASPIRE Engineering Research Center headquartered at Utah State University recently received funding to accelerate the creation of electrified corridors that will change the nation’s infrastructure as we know it.

The Biden-Harris administration, through The U.S. Department of Energy, awarded $7 million in funding for zero-emission medium-duty and heavy-duty vehicle lanes. ASPIRE teams at USU and Purdue University are involved in two of the seven awards.

“This news comes at a critical point in time,” said Regan Zane, director of the ASPIRE Center and one of the main leading forces on the Utah project. “Significant decisions must be made soon to inform infrastructure investments in our freight corridors. These DOE awards will bring key teams together across the impacted industries and local and state government agencies to accelerate our path to clean air and reduced cost to move people and goods.”

One project based out of Salt Lake, titled the Wasatch Front Multimodal Corridor Electrification Plan, will be led by Zane. The project, awarded $1.22 million in funding, plans to develop a community, state and industry action plan to improve air quality in communities most impacted by high density traffic in the greater Salt Lake City region. The project will leverage real-world results on technologies being evaluated at pilot projects funded by the State of Utah and Rocky Mountain Power. These include projects with the Utah Inland Port Authority on wired and wireless charging solutions for trucks, Stadler, which is developing a battery-electric train and the Utah Transit Authority on multimodal charge management solutions.

A second project, titled MD-HD ZEV Infrastructure Planning with Focus on I-80 Midwest Corridor, is led by ASPIRE partners Cummins and Purdue University. The project will develop a medium- and heavy-duty EV charging and hydrogen fueling plan for the Midwest I-80 corridor, serving Indiana, Illinois and Ohio to support 30 percent of the fleet using zero emission technologies by 2035.

“Funding from the U.S. Joint Office of Energy and Transportation is a great honor and a great help,” said Nadia Gkritza, the Purdue campus director of ASPIRE. “I’m more than excited for the opportunity to work with Cummins, the Indiana Department of Transportation and our other partners on this important project to chart the path forward in decarbonizing medium- and heavy-duty trucks on our highways.”

The U.S. Department of Transportation through the Joint Office of Energy and Transportation announced the funding on Feb. 15 to address barriers to make an EV charging network across the nation more affordable and reliable. These funding measures will be critical in achieving President Biden’s goal of building a national network of 500,000 EV chargers and ensuring that 50 percent of new light-duty vehicle sales are electric by 2030.

More information about ASPIRE and its partners can be found at


Writer: Sydney Dahle, sydney.dahle@usu.edu435-797-7512