in criteria vehicle emissions per mile traveled.1 The increasing levels of CAFE standards will create a market pull for advanced technologies that will increase the relevance of technology development in the U.S. DRIVE (Driving Research and Innovation for Vehicle Efficiency and Energy Sustainability) Partnership. Other legislation seeks to promote the replacement of petroleum-based fuels with alternative fuels, such as those derived from biomass (NRC, 2011a). The federal government also invests in research and development (R&D) to help enable advanced vehicle and fuel technologies to emerge in the commercial marketplace (NRC, 2011b), which could help to address the nation’s energy security, economic, and environmental challenges. In fact, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) developed a broad set of strategies in its Quadrennial Technology Review (QTR) to address the nation’s energy challenges, including electrifying the vehicle fleet and increasing vehicle efficiency (DOE, 2011). However, the challenges of doing so are great.

In addition to the federal legislation noted above, California has programs to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) from vehicles, one of which is the Zero Emission Vehicle Program. The state is promoting the adoption of zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs)—for example, electric vehicles and fuel cell vehicles—by setting benchmarks for 2020 and 2025 for infrastructure to support such vehicles as well as for the adoption of such vehicles. The governor of California announced in Executive Order B-16-2012 that the aim is for there to be 1.5 million ZEVs in California by 2025, with supporting infrastructure and a growing market.2 This program is also stimulating development of the advanced vehicle technologies that are under development in the U.S. DRIVE Partnership.


This report contains the results of a review by the National Research Council’s (NRC’s) Committee on Review of the U.S. DRIVE Research Program, Phase 4. Although the government/industry partnership known as U.S. DRIVE was formed in 2011 as the committee was just beginning its review, the Partnership is very much in line with the partnerships that preceded it, namely, the FreedomCAR and Fuel Partnership and, prior to that, the Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles (PNGV). The NRC reviewed the PNGV seven times, from 1993 to 2001, and the FreedomCAR and Fuel Partnership three times, between 2004 and 2010. (See previous NRC reports for background on the partnerships, the various


1 In 2010, CAFE standards were enacted requiring light-duty vehicles (passenger cars and light trucks) to meet 35.5 mpg by model year (MY) 2016. In 2012 a proposed CAFE rule was issued requiring 56 mpg for passenger cars and 40.3 for light trucks by MY 2025. The average combined fuel economy for light-duty vehicles in 2011 was 27.3 mpg. See

2 For more information, see the California Air Resources Board ZEV Program at

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