times those of 1994 family sedans while maintaining comparable performance, size, utility, and cost of ownership, and meeting or exceeding federal safety and emissions requirements. The third goal is not achievable with existing internal combustion engines; the intent was to force the development of radical changes in vehicle materials and power systems.
Under PNGV, the government and private engineering communities work together, supported by the U.S. Department of Energy, to develop technologies and achieve the overall objectives. The collaboration of the auto companies and the federal government in a nonadversarial environment is the most critical factor in the success of PNGV.
Several other elements of this partnership have also been important to its success. First, the goals of the program are significant and compelling, and, therefore, they attracted initial resources and technical talent to the program. In addition, top management actively participates in the program. Second, PNGV has been conducted with full awareness of market forces and the diverse resource base required to move beyond traditional automotive technologies. Third, the relationships among the partners are clearly defined, and an effective organizational structure facilitates program management; intellectual property rights were established at the start. Finally, the program has maintained a high level of accountability, through concrete technical milestones and deliverables for measuring progress and annual external monitoring by a panel assembled by the National Research Council.
As PNGV shows, successful public-private partnerships must maintain transparency and accountability to avoid allegations of “corporate welfare.” They also require managerial and budgetary flexibility to adapt to changing technical and economic conditions throughout the life of the program.
Further innovations in public-private partnerships would enable them to address a range of policy-driven technical objectives:
the development of new technologies to support stringent regulatory requirements
meeting commercialization requirements for new technologies that have limited market pull but that would provide substantial public benefits
the development of new technologies that require large capital investments in new facilities, communications, transportation, or other infrastructures
global diffusion of existing new technologies with substantial environmental benefits, such as cleaner, more energy-efficient infrastructures for developing countries
Information on PNGV is available online at <http://www.ott.doe.gov/oaat/pngv.html>.