graphical information on committee members). The committee was asked to fulfill the following statement of task:

The committee will conduct an independent review of the 21st Century Truck Partnership. In its review, the committee will critically examine and comment on the overall adequacy and balance of the 21st Century Truck Partnership to accomplish its goals, on progress in the program, and make recommendations, as appropriate, that the committee believes can improve the likelihood of the Partnership meeting its goals. In particular, the committee will:

  1. Review the high-level technical goals, targets, and timetables for R&D efforts, which address such areas as heavy vehicle systems; hybrid electric propulsion; advanced internal combustion engines (ICEs); and materials technologies.

  2. Review and evaluate progress and program directions since the inception of the Partnership toward meeting the Partnership’s technical goals, and examine ongoing research activities and their relevance to meeting the goals of the Partnership.

  3. Examine and comment on the overall balance and adequacy of the 21st Century Truck Partnership’s research effort, and the rate of progress, in light of the technical objectives and schedules for each of the major technology areas.

  4. Examine and comment, as necessary, on the appropriate role for federal involvement in the various technical areas under development.

  5. Examine and comment on the Partnership’s strategy for accomplishing its goals, which might include such issues as (a) program management and organization; (b) the process for setting milestones, research directions, and making Go/No Go decisions; (c) collaborative activities within DOE, other government agencies, the private sector, universities, and others; and (d) other topics that the committee finds important to comment on related to the success of the program to meet its technical goals.

After examining the 21st Century Truck Partnership activities and receiving presentations from federal government representatives and industry representatives, and outside experts, as appropriate, the committee will write a report documenting its review of the Partnership with recommendations for improvement, as necessary.


The 21CTP has had a number of successful programs since its beginnings in 2000. These efforts are discussed in this report. The major findings relate to the most important aspects of the program and the recommendations to the highest-priority requirements for change. The committee’s findings and recommendations include 2 pairs of “overall,” or general, findings and recommendations and 13 pairs that are selected from individual Chapters 2 through 7, as the highest priority in those particular areas. The latter retain their original numbering to help the reader gain context by going to the original discussions.

Overall Report Finding 1-1. The key benefit of the 21CTP is the coordination of research programs directed toward the goal of reducing fuel usage and emissions while increasing heavy vehicle safety. Federal involvement is bringing stakeholders to the table and accelerating the pace of development. Very few U.S. manufacturers of trucks and buses or heavy-duty vehicle components have the R&D resources to develop new technologies individually. Thus, the 21CTP is giving some of those companies access to extraordinary expertise and equipment in federal laboratories, in addition to seed funding that draws financial commitment from the companies to push forward in new technology areas. The Partnership provides the United States with a forum in which the various agencies, in combination with industry and academia, can better coordinate their programs. Research funding of the 21CTP has been declining steadily in recent years, and this decline is threatening the attainment of program goals. The current level is not in proportion to the importance of the goal of reducing fuel consumption of heavy-duty vehicles.

Overall Report Recommendation 1-1. The 21st Century Truck Partnership should be continued, but the future program should be revised and better balanced based on the recommendations of this report. In addition, more manufacturers should be recruited as participants, such as the major truck manufacturers and suppliers that are not in the Partnership. Research funding should be commensurate with well-formulated goals that are strategic to reducing fuel consumption of heavy-duty vehicles while improving safety. The 21CTP should also conduct an assessment of heavy-truck research activities overseas and determine if any changes in the future program would be appropriate based on foreign programs.

Overall Report Finding 1-2. Many of the program goals were not met, because some of the goals were not plausible, from either an engineering or a funding perspective. Other goals were not met because some of the technologies proposed for meeting the goals were not applied. Notable failures of that kind are discussed in Chapter 3, under the headings “Goal of Thermal Efficiency of 55 Percent” and “Goals Involving Fuels.”

Overall Report Recommendation 1-2. A clearer goal-setting strategy should be developed, and the goals should be clearly stated in measurable engineering terms and reviewed periodically so as to be based on the available funds.

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