shares of various light-duty vehicle technologies, as well as on oil savings and environmental impacts.
Overall, as noted, the development and deployment of systems analysis tools and models at the vehicle and fuel pathway level are impressive, and fully responsive to the committee’s specific prior recommendations. However, the systems analysis teams, particularly the VSATT, operate in a support role to the individual technical teams. The application of systems analysis to the overall guidance and management of the Partnership and the determination of technical directions in pursuit of the Partnership’s overarching goals relating to national energy policy are much less transparent. In the Phase 2 report (NRC, 2008, p. 30), the committee said that “there is no lack of technical review of the individual program elements, but what is missing is analysis of the quantitative impact on the overall goals of reducing petroleum use and pollutant and greenhouse gas emissions. Tools for estimating this are being worked on: one example is the Macro System Model (MSM) which is scheduled for completion in 2008.” As of August 2009, the MSM was reported still to be “under development.”
The committee was encouraged to learn at its meeting in October 2009 that the Department of Energy (DOE) has begun using system-level analysis to guide overall program goals and direction, and that sensitivity analysis is being performed on the impact of not meeting different program targets. However, this remains an area in which the committee strongly encourages additional emphasis.
Furthermore, the ESG, charged with overall Partnership guidance, has not met for almost 2 years, leaving an apparent guidance vacuum at the senior leadership level. Although the Partnership has made good progress over this period, it is important that the ESG be fully engaged in the current, ongoing review of the future structure of the Partnership. The committee is assured that this concern is recognized by DOE executive management.
The committee also suggests that the FreedomCAR and Fuel Partnership consider the use of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) consumer choice model to measure the progress of several key advanced vehicles. The reason is that technical progress for advanced vehicles is currently being presented primarily at the subsystem and component levels in a wide variety of units—for example, in terms of fuel economy, range, refueling time, and so on. The lack of a common unit of measure means that the benefits at the subsystem and component levels cannot be combined and compared against cost to get a single value proposition for the collective impact of the advanced technologies on the full vehicle system. The consumer choice model, however, converts the technical advances into the same unit, dollars, thereby allowing the improvements in the value-versus-cost proposition to be estimated.2