efficiency, weight, volume, and cost. Ideally this should include the battery, fuel cell, and internal combustion engine so that the whole system can be optimized. Clearly this would involve separate targets for each type of vehicle, that is, for HEVs, PHEVs, BEVs, and HFCVs. Another issue is the cost and availability of the rare earth materials currently used in permanent-magnet motors.

Recommendation S-7 (3-15 in Chapter 3). The U.S. DRIVE Partnership should determine the potential and limitations of designing motors with permanent-magnet materials using less rare earth metal.


The challenge to the materials technical team is to generate a cost-neutral 50 percent vehicle weight reduction. This target was unrealistic when set, and it remains unrealistic. A similar conclusion was stated in previous NRC reviews. Nevertheless, weight reduction is a crucial part of any balanced approach to achieving aggressive fuel consumption targets, and it will undoubtedly entail enhanced computational methods and widespread material substitution. The work being performed under the auspices of the Partnership appears to be properly focused on relevant initiatives. However, although these initiatives appear relevant, the committee questions whether they all satisfy the criteria of high-risk, precompetitive research judged appropriate for federal involvement. Competition has raged among the steel, aluminum, and composites automotive supply base for many years in an effort to achieve low-cost weight reduction by means of materials substitution, and the aluminum, magnesium, high-strength steel, and composites content of production vehicles has been steadily rising for more than 20 years.

Furthermore, numerous vehicle demonstration projects have been conducted in the past, both by materials trade associations and by industry consortia, some of which were sponsored by DOE. Clearly, materials are important for many technologies that are part of the U.S. DRIVE Partnership.

Recommendation S-8 (3-18 in Chapter 3). The materials technical team should expand its outreach to the other technical teams to determine the highest-priority collective Partnership needs, and the team should then reassess its research portfolio accordingly. Any necessary reallocation of resources could be enabled by delegating some of the highly competitive metals development work to the private sector.


The Partnership in DOE’s EERE includes the hydrogen production, delivery, and dispensing program and is part of the Fuel Cell Technologies Program (FCTP). The FCTP addresses a variety of means of producing hydrogen in distributed

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