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Review of the Research Program of the FreedomCAR and Fuel Partnership: Second Report
in research and development (R&D) programs related to advanced vehicular technologies and alternative transportation fuels. During the 1990s, much of this R&D was conducted under the Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles (PNGV) program, which was formed between the federal government and the auto industry’s U.S. Council for Automotive Research (USCAR).1 Building on the PNGV program, in January 2002, the Secretary of Energy and executives of DaimlerChrysler, Ford, and General Motors announced a new government-industry partnership between DOE and USCAR called FreedomCAR, with CAR standing for Cooperative Automotive Research. In September 2003, FreedomCAR was expanded to also include five large energy companies—BP America, Chevron Corporation, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil Corporation, and Shell Hydrogen (U.S.)—to address issues related to supporting the fuel infrastructure. The expanded partnership is called the FreedomCAR and Fuel Partnership.2 The long-term goal of the Partnership is to “enable the full spectrum of light-duty passenger vehicle classes to operate completely free of petroleum and free of harmful emissions while sustaining the driving public’s freedom of mobility and freedom of vehicle choice” (DOE, 2004a; DOE, 2004b, p. 1-6).
The Partnership addresses the development of advanced technologies for all light-duty passenger vehicles: cars, sport utility vehicles (SUVs), pickups, and minivans. It also addresses technologies for hydrogen production, distribution, dispensing, and storage. The Partnership started with a presidential commitment to request $1.7 billion over 5 years (FY04 to FY08), with appropriations thus far of about $243 million, $307 million, and $339 million for FY04, FY05, and FY06, respectively. The FY07 Continuing Resolution resulted in funding of about $401 million. The FY08 presidential budget request is for about $436 million (see Chapter 5). Funding for research, development, and demonstration activities goes to universities, the national laboratories, and private companies. Especially in the
USCAR, which predated PNGV, was established by Chrysler Corporation, Ford Motor Company, and General Motors Corporation. Its purpose was to support intercompany, precompetitive cooperation so as to reduce the cost of redundant R&D, especially in areas mandated by government regulation, and to make the U.S. industry more competitive with foreign companies. Chrysler Corporation merged with Daimler Benz in 1998 to form DaimlerChrysler. In 2007, DaimlerChrysler divested itself of a major interest in the Chrysler Group, and Chrysler LLC was formed; DaimlerChrysler will be renamed Daimler AG.
The PNGV sought to significantly improve the nation’s competitiveness in the manufacture of future generations of vehicles, to implement commercially viable innovations emanating from ongoing research on conventional vehicles, and to develop vehicles that achieve up to three times the fuel efficiency of comparable 1994 family sedans (NRC, 2001; PNGV, 1995; The White House, 1993).
In February 2003, before the announcement of the FreedomCAR and Fuel Partnership, the President announced the FreedomCAR and Hydrogen Fuel Initiative to develop technologies for (1) fuel-efficient motor vehicles and light trucks, (2) cleaner fuels, (3) improved energy efficiency, and (4) hydrogen production and a nationwide distribution infrastructure for vehicle and stationary power plants, to fuel both hydrogen internal combustion engines (ICEs) and fuel cells (DOE, 2004a). The expansion of the FreedomCAR and Fuel Partnership to include the energy sector after the announcement of the initiative also supports the goal of the Hydrogen Fuel Initiative.