tration, U.S. Department of Commerce, on behalf of PNGV, the National Research Council established the Standing Committee to Review the Research Program of the Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles. The committee annually reviews PNGV's research program, advises government and industry participants on the program's progress, and identifies significant barriers to success. This is the seventh review by that committee; the previous studies are documented in six National Research Council reports, which also contain background on the PNGV program and the committee's activities (NRC, 1994, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000). Chapter 4, “Program Overview,” of the current report contains the committee's broad assessment of what has happened in the PNGV program during the past seven years. It also discusses program issues raised by changes that have occurred during this time and suggests that it may be time for a critical review of the program goals.
The PNGV goals and the basis for all of the National Research Council reviews are articulated in the PNGV Program Plan (PNGV, 1995; The White House, 1993):
Goal 1. Significantly improve national competitiveness in manufacturing for future generations of vehicles. Improve the productivity of the U.S. manufacturing base by significantly upgrading U.S. manufacturing technology, including the adoption of agile and flexible manufacturing and reduction of costs and lead times, while reducing the environmental impact and improving quality.
Goal 2. Implement commercially viable innovations from ongoing research on conventional vehicles. Pursue technology advances that can lead to improvements in fuel efficiency and reductions in the emissions of standard vehicle designs, while pursuing advances to maintain safety performance. Research will focus on technologies that reduce the demand for energy from the engine and drivetrain. Throughout the research program the industry has pledged to apply those commercially viable technologies resulting from this research that would be expected to increase significantly vehicle fuel efficiency and improve emissions.
Goal 3. Develop vehicles to achieve up to three times the fuel efficiency of comparable 1994 family sedans. Increase vehicle fuel efficiency up to three times that of the average 1994 Concorde/Taurus/Lumina automobiles with equivalent cost of ownership adjusted for economics. 2
As the committee has noted in previous reports and as noted in a number of other studies, achieving significant improvements in automotive fuel economy and developing competitive advanced automotive technologies and vehicles can
2As noted in the PNGV Program Plan (PNGV, 1995), the long-term goal of the PNGV program is to develop vehicles that will deliver up to 80 miles per gallon (mpg) or British thermal unit (BTU) equivalent. If an alternative source of energy is used, such as a diesel-powered vehicle or a fuel cell vehicle powered by methanol or hydrogen, the goal will be up to 80 miles per BTU equivalent of a gallon of gasoline (114,132 BTUs). Where values of mpg are used in this report with options not using gasoline, those mpg values are understood to be miles per equivalent gallon of gasoline. “Fuel consumption,” also used in this report as an index of energy use, is the reciprocal of fuel economy.