be reduced, through highly efficient processes, to minimize adverse environmental effects. Finally, “vehicle freedom” implies that the fuel and onboard energy conversion systems should not limit the options and choice that buyers expect to have available in their personal vehicles. These goals, if attained, are likely to require new transportation fuel(s) utilized in more efficient power plants in lighter vehicles having reduced power requirements and equivalent utility and safety.
DOE envisions that the path to achieving the long-term goals of the FreedomCAR and Fuel Partnership involves improvements in ICEs, a transition from improved gasoline- and diesel-fueled ICE vehicles to a greater utilization of gasoline- and diesel-fueled hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs), the development and implementation of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), more utilization of hydrogen-fueled ICEs and HEVs, and—finally—hydrogen-fueled fuel cell vehicles (FCVT, 2004). For this transition to take place, the industry will require enhanced technology in many areas so that it can develop new vehicle subsystems and vastly improved vehicles. The DOE-sponsored activities described in this section are intended to provide understanding that will enable the needed technologies to be successful. The scope of the technologies needed is broad and the timescales for implementation are short. Competitive pressures dictate that if a technology appears to be promising it will be rapidly integrated into industry’s implementation plans. Consequently, continued close collaboration between DOE and industry is necessary to allow these technologies to transition into the industrial laboratories and development programs and then to identify new critical areas where enhanced understanding will be most beneficial.
An example of technology that has progressed from concept demonstration stage to implementation is exhaust gas aftertreatment from lean-burn engines. Various engine manufacturers and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), both domestic and foreign, have or are planning to introduce lean oxides of nitrogen (NOx) traps, selective catalytic reduction, and diesel particulate filters to their production models. Therefore, it is appropriate that DOE funding for these activities should be curtailed and redirected to areas where fundamental understandings are lacking. This observation was made in the Phase 1 report and recommended that the Partnership redirect its pursuit of novel emission control technologies and plan for, analyze, and seek solutions for emission problems associated with emerging fuels, fuel infrastructure, and propulsion systems (see Recommendation 3-3 in Appendix D).
In response to the recommendation, DOE initiated a solicitation (DE-PS26_07NT43103) to address (1) E85-optimized engines, (2) enabling technologies for fuels and lubricants, and (3) efficiency of clean combustion and fuels development. Since some of these technologies are in production (e.g., flex-fuel vehicles), it is important that the Partnership carefully coordinate with industry to maintain programs that contribute most to a new understanding of the physical, chemical, and thermal processes impacting performance of the engine, the fuel, and the aftertreatment system.