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Review of the Research Program of the FreedomCAR and Fuel Partnership: Third Report
ing new sources for them can be important components of the U.S. energy options and clearly are important national issues.
In addition to energy considerations, the U.S. transportation sector accounts for about 28 percent of total U.S. emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), an important greenhouse gas. Concerns about climate change and reducing greenhouse gas emissions have been receiving extensive attention from the administration, Congress, the states, and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change as well as a number of other countries. Legislation has been under consideration by Congress for dealing with CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions. Developing vehicles with improved fuel economy that use petroleum-derived gasoline or diesel fuel, or that can use non-petroleum-based energy (e.g., hydrogen fuel, biomass-based fuels, or electricity), have the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector in addition to reducing the nation’s dependence on petroleum (NAS/NAE/NRC, 2009a,b; NRC, 2009a).
As President Bush said in his 2001 State of the Union address, hydrogen, as an energy carrier, would have many advantages if it could be developed for the mobility market. However, the challenges of doing so are great. The FreedomCAR and Fuel Partnership was established to address these challenges and to advance the technology enough so that a decision on the commercial viability of hydrogen vehicles can be made by 2015. This report reviews the status and progress of this Partnership. In addition, as discussed in this report, increasing attention under President Obama’s administration is being directed toward the use of electricity to power light-duty vehicles with emphasis on plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) and all-electric vehicles (or battery electric vehicles [BEVs]).
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has been involved for more than 30 years 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. This initial peacetime government/auto industry partnership was formed between the federal government and the auto industry’s U.S. Council for Automotive Research (USCAR).2 Building on the PNGV program, in January 2002, the Secretary of Energy and executives of DaimlerChrysler, Ford,
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, which is now Chrysler Group LLC.
The PNGV sought to improve the nation’s competitiveness significantly 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).