UPDATED 21st Century Truck Partnership Detailed Responses to NRC Report Findings

Update: November 10, 2010

image= Finding/recommendation was highlighted in presentation of findings and is considered of greater importance by the committee.

Finding Number and Subject Matter Finding and Recommendation 21CTP Response (Updated November 10, 2010)
images/nec-160-1.png1-1 OVERALL REPORT FINDING: 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.
RECOMMENDATION: 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.
The Partnership concurs with the recommendation that it should continue, and the members of the Partnership are committed to conducting the joint research efforts necessary to achieve the efficiency, emissions, and safety goals set forth for such research. Independently of the NRC review, the Partnership has begun to re-examine the Partnership’s structure and processes, and will take the NRC’s recommendations into consideration as part of this assessment.

Furthermore, the Partnership has expanded its membership, and welcomes the addition of ArvinMeritor, Inc., and the increased participation by both industry and agency partners.
images/nec-160-2.png1-2 OVERALL REPORT FINDING: Many of the program goals were not met. Some of the goals were not plausible, from either an engineering or 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 of “Goal of Thermal Efficiency of 55 Percent” and “Goals Involving Fuels.”
RECOMMENDATION: 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.
The Partnership is pleased that the NRC panel pointed out a number of successes within the work of the Partnership, including the work to develop hybrid medium-duty and heavy-duty components and systems and the work done to implement idle reduction technologies in the market. The Partnership would like to highlight the accomplishments by the major engine manufacturers in meeting stringent 2007 emissions regulations with no degradation in fuel economy. The efforts of the Partnership played an essential role in this accomplishment.

The Partnership has completed several projects relevant to the program’s goals and recently launched, through the SuperTruck opportunity, a major effort largely in line with those goals.

images/nec-160-3.png2-1 MANAGEMENT FINDING: The 21CTP is operated as a virtual network of agencies and government laboratories, with an unwieldy structure and budgetary process. Agency personnel meet frequently and industry partners meet periodically for limited sharing and communication. This has been the extent of the coordination. Both government agencies and industry partners, per their remarks to the committee, have found the arrangement less than effective. The program was most productive when a full- The Partnership continues to examine its organization and management structure as part of its ongoing self assessment efforts. The NRC panel’s recommendations are a key guide in this assessment.

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