Highlights

This is the third report of the National Research Council's Standing Committee to Review the Research Program of the Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles (PNGV). The PNGV program is a cooperative research and development program between the federal government and the United States Council for Automotive Research (USCAR). One of the aims of the program, referred to as the Goal 3 objective, is to develop technologies for a new generation of vehicles that could achieve fuel economies up to three times those of comparable 1994 family sedans. at the same time, these vehicles should maintain performance, size, utility, and cost of ownership and operation and should meet or exceed federal safety and emissions requirements. The intent of the program is to develop production prototype vehicles by 2004. The next major PNGV milestone, scheduled for the end of 1997, is selection of the most promising technologies.

The committee's major tasks were to examine research progress and state of development of energy converters (compression ignition direct injection engines [CIDI], gas turbines, Stirling engines, fuel cells) and energy storage technologies (batteries, flywheels, ultracapacitors) under consideration by PNGV, asses the relevance of ongoing research to the PNGV's goals and schedule, and address several broad program issues. As part of its effort, the committee continues to review the PNGV systems analysis activity that is essential to conducting vehicle performance and cost comparisons for alternative vehicle configurations incorporating different subsystem combinations and could guide the orderly selection and development of subsystem technologies with specific performance requirements for meeting the Goal 3 vehicle objectives.



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Review of the Research Program of the Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles: Third Report Highlights This is the third report of the National Research Council's Standing Committee to Review the Research Program of the Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles (PNGV). The PNGV program is a cooperative research and development program between the federal government and the United States Council for Automotive Research (USCAR). One of the aims of the program, referred to as the Goal 3 objective, is to develop technologies for a new generation of vehicles that could achieve fuel economies up to three times those of comparable 1994 family sedans. at the same time, these vehicles should maintain performance, size, utility, and cost of ownership and operation and should meet or exceed federal safety and emissions requirements. The intent of the program is to develop production prototype vehicles by 2004. The next major PNGV milestone, scheduled for the end of 1997, is selection of the most promising technologies. The committee's major tasks were to examine research progress and state of development of energy converters (compression ignition direct injection engines [CIDI], gas turbines, Stirling engines, fuel cells) and energy storage technologies (batteries, flywheels, ultracapacitors) under consideration by PNGV, asses the relevance of ongoing research to the PNGV's goals and schedule, and address several broad program issues. As part of its effort, the committee continues to review the PNGV systems analysis activity that is essential to conducting vehicle performance and cost comparisons for alternative vehicle configurations incorporating different subsystem combinations and could guide the orderly selection and development of subsystem technologies with specific performance requirements for meeting the Goal 3 vehicle objectives.

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Review of the Research Program of the Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles: Third Report TABLE H-1 Potential of PNGV Candidate Technologies and Assessment of Research Progress Major Subsystems Critical Technical Barriers Likelihood of Meeting Technical Objectivesa Likelihood of Meeting Costb Likelihood of Meeting Schedulec Overall Potential Regardless of Scheduled Basic Needs Overall Progress Since Last Review Hybrid Drivetrain Power Sources CIDI Combustion control NOx catalyst High Medium High High Resources Modest Fuel cell Fuel processor/reformer Low Low Low Medium Breakthroughs Modest to Good Turbine Structural ceramics Exhaust heat recovery Low Low Low Medium Resources, focused R&D Modest Stirling Heat Exchangers Leakage Control Medium Low Low Medium Resources, focused R&D Small Energy Storage Lithium-ion battery Scale-up System safety High Medium Medium Medium Resources, focused R&D Good Nickel metal hydride battery Efficiency Power density Medium Medium Medium Medium Resources, focused R&D Modest Ultracapacitor Efficiency Self-discharge Safety Low Low Low Low Breakthroughs, resources Small Flywheel Safety Medium Medium Low High Resources, focused R&D Small Power electronics Efficiency Medium Medium High High Resources Small Note: This table represents a general committee judgment at an aggregate level of detail. The critical technical barriers are those that appear to be most challenging today and in many instances appear to require technical breakthroughs. See Chapter 4 for a more complete description of the key developments needed. a Regardless of cost or schedule. b Assuming the technical goals can be met. c In achieving the technical goals. d Overall potential over the long term of meeting the technical goals and cost.

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Review of the Research Program of the Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles: Third Report MAJOR ACHIEVEMENTS AND BARRIERS A number of achievements were realized by the PNGV in the past year, and progress has been made for a number of the technologies (see Table H-1). According to a presentation to the committee by the PNGV, the most important technical accomplishments in 1996 include: demonstration of a prototype fuel-flexible processor for a fuel cell with an 80 percent efficiency for the processor demonstration of a subscale, high-power, lithium-ion battery cell for 100,000 shallow cycles scale-up of a lean NOx (nitrogen oxides) catalyst demonstrating 30 percent NOx reduction fabrication of ceramic gas turbine scrolls and rotors using a process with high volume potential survival of a glass-fiber-reinforced, composite front-end structure design in a 35 mph barrier crash test development and construction of advanced technology demonstration vehicles, some of which incorporated requirements related to those of the PNGV, such as Ford's Synergy 2010, Chrysler's ESX, and General Motors EV-1 Despite significant progress in a number of critical areas, there continues to be a wide gulf between the current status of system and subsystem development and the performance and cost requirements necessary to meet major PNGV milestones. Some of the technical barriers to achieving PNGV objectives can probably be overcome with sufficient funding and management attention; others require inventions and very significant technical breakthroughs (see Table H-1). As stated in the committee's second report, the effort being expended on candidate technologies and systems is not consistent with the likelihood that each will meet performance goals within the program schedule. Work on many critical systems is inadequately funded and lacks integrated technical direction. The PNGV provided a list of major barriers to success. These barriers, which included a number of technical, production cost, funding, schedule, and other issues that need resolution, need to be overcome. Based on the data provided, the committee believes that the following conclusions can be drawn: When incorporated in a vehicle, none of the energy converters/powertrains will come close to meeting the cost objectives within the time frame of the PNGV program. The CIDI engine is the energy converter with the highest potential for meeting the PNGV program performance requirements within the schedule and cost constraints. This position may be negatively affected should the Environmental Protection Agency promulgate more stringent exhaust emissions standards for diesel engines.

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Review of the Research Program of the Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles: Third Report The successful development of fuel cells. Stirling engines, and gas turbines that meet or approach the cost and performance requirements of the PNGV program is substantially beyond the current time frame of the program. Flywheels appear to have potential for providing energy storage as part of a hybrid vehicle once the safety and cost issues have been resolved. Their successful development is well beyond the time frame of the program. The successful development of ultracapacitors as storage devices is well beyond the time frame of the PNGV program. The committee is not suggesting that development of these technologies should be terminated. However, it is most timely for the PNGV to reprogram funding and development efforts aggressively to be consistent with expected successful results within the current PNGV schedule through 2004. Investments in technology developments for the PNGV beyond that schedule should be continued, but with reduced and/or more highly focused effort. The committee's position is consistent with its first and second reports. With regard to nontechnical aspects of the PNGV program, the institutional innovations and resulting technical organizations have advanced dramatically through the PNGV and appear beneficial to the goals of the program. In the committee's view, many previously isolated technology research programs have become much more focused and productive by uniting researchers and users and by developing clear technology goals. Materials and manufacturing teams have been formed and are apparently making impressive strides in support of program goals. SYSTEMS ANALYSIS During its second review, the committee expressed strong concern that the systems analysis effort had been significantly delayed by 12 to 18 months and that this delay was likely to jeopardize the technology ''downselect" process scheduled for the end of 1997. That concern remains, although the committee notes that progress has been made since January 1996, when a contract was ultimately initiated to pursue aggressively the systems analysis effort. Progress to date has resulted in the creation of a rudimentary vehicle model and the initial development (or assembly from various sources) of models for the many vehicle subsystems and components. These subsystem models vary in quality from excellent representations (with substantial documentation) of some subsystems, such as internal combustion engines, to very generic, simplistic models for less understood subsystems like the fuel cell. Although attention has been focused on creating systems analysis tools, little effort has been made to understand how the tools will be used by the PNGV technical teams (especially the vehicle engineering team) in studies necessary for the technology downselect process. Minimal participation by the vehicle

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Review of the Research Program of the Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles: Third Report engineering team has delayed the accurate establishment of optimal vehicle requirements. Also, interactions with the other technical teams appear to be minimal. This will affect the accuracy and usefulness of the subsystem models. In addition, establishing reliable models requires good validation data, but much of the available data are considered proprietary by potential providers. TECHNOLOGY DOWNSELECT PROCESS From the outset of the PNGV program in late 1993, the first major milestone was the 1997 technology downselect. This milestone was chosen on the basis that as a result of three to four years of studies and research and development clear technology "winners" would emerge. The winning technologies would obviously be those with the most potential to meet the PNGV goals. Conceptually, after downselect, the "losing" technologies would be dropped (or dramatically de-emphasized), and most of the PNGV development effort would be directed toward the technologies selected as "winners.'' These efforts would result in the incorporation of the winning technologies in the concept vehicles and, later, in the production prototypes. However, the perception of what defines the winners and losers has changed. The initial focus was almost entirely on one part of Goal 3 (up to 80 miles per gallon fuel economy), along with the innovations and inventions that would be needed to make the technologies compatible with the Goal 3 car, but more traditional automotive considerations, such as cost, packaging, and system integration, are becoming equally important. When all of these factors are taken into account, there will probably be no clear winners in the context of the original PNGV plan. This is not because of a lack of technical progress since there has been appreciable progress in virtually all, and very significant progress in some, technologies. Instead, it is related to the PNGV time frame and the realities of costs and manufacturing requirements. A primary downselect conclusion will be that some otherwise very promising technologies (fuel cells, gas turbines, Stirling engines, flywheels, and ultracapacitors) will not be fully demonstrable within the original PNGV time frame. Thus, the 1997 downselect will likely encompass, to a large degree, substantially improved and advanced versions of internal combustion engine and drivetrain technologies, batteries, vehicle structure, and manufacturing technologies. As a result, the nonconventional technologies run the risk of being discontinued or discarded in the downselect process, although it might well be in the national interest to continue their development under a longer-term, sustained program. Such a program would provide an insurance strategy in the event that the expected nearer-term technologies encounter unexpected barriers to implementation or fall short of fuel economy goals or if future societal goals change. Impressive advances have been made in several of the technologies that may not make the initial cut but that appear to offer important future societal benefits. Pursuing the more promising of these longer-term technologies for an extended period

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Review of the Research Program of the Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles: Third Report appears to be consistent with the original intent and goals (especially Goal 3) of a longer-term (initially defined as 10 years) PNGV program. ADEQUACY AND BALANCE OF THE PNGV PROGRAM Because of the lack of specific data that the committee requested from the PNGV (particularly current and future required funding), the committee found it extremely difficult to evaluate the adequacy and balance of funding to accomplish the PNGV Goal 3 objectives. The ultimate proof, of course, will be embodied in the timeliness of the 1997 technology downselect, the content and level of the performance achieved by the 2000 concept demonstration vehicles, and the performance and cost projections of 2004 production prototypes. However, as yet there are no clear criteria other than the PNGV Technical Roadman and the generalities of Goal 3 objectives. With appropriate focus and resources there still may be sufficient time in the current PNGV schedule to make some candidate technology systems viable (for example, the CIDI engine in conjunction with other subsystem improvements, [see Table H-1]). However, in the absence of a significant acceleration in their rate of development, progress beyond that achieved in the Department of Energy hybrid electric vehicle program is unlikely to make other fundamentally promising candidate technologies (such as fuel cells, gas turbines, Stirling engines, and some battery candidates) available within the PNGV time frame for demonstration of good performance in practical vehicles with acceptable risk. The USCAR partners have decided to conduct independent vehicle demonstrations of the concept vehicles. Meeting the PNGV schedule with credible concept vehicles for 2000 will demand greatly increased efforts in 1997. Currently, the committee is not aware of what the PNGV would consider acceptable levels of performance for concept demonstration vehicles. The committee has requested this information from the PNGV. The PNGV is experiencing severe funding and resource allocation problems that will preclude the program from achieving its objectives on its present schedule if they are not resolved expeditiously. In the absence of an acceptable and sustained resolution to this PNGV-wide problem in both government and industry, the PNGV's current objectives will no longer be tenable with respect to performance, cost, and schedule. PNGV RESPONSE TO THE PHASE 2 REPORT In the second report (issued in March 1996 following the second review of the PNGV research program), the committee offered a number of recommendations (see Appendix C) for the PNGV's consideration. In addition to specific technology evaluations and recommendations, the committee offered six major recommendations:

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Review of the Research Program of the Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles: Third Report Strengthen and make more effective program management and technical leadership in both government and industry. Initiate and accelerate a comprehensive systems analysis program. Obtain and re-allocate federal and industry funding to activities with promising technological potential within the time horizon and needs of the program. Conduct comprehensive assessments and benchmark foreign technology developments relevant to the PNGV. Continue to address infrastructure issues as an integral part of the program. More fully involve other U.S. government agencies, such as the U.S. Department of Transportation, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the U.S. Department of Defense, and the Environmental Protection Agency, in the program. The first five recommendations above were also made in the first committee report (NRC, 1994); the committee feels that insufficient attention or progress has been made in correcting these deficiencies since the first review. The slow rate of progress or lack of attention to the first three issues listed above may ultimately jeopardize the PNGV's ability to accomplish its goals. SUMMARY A recent Congressional Research Service report points out that relatively low U.S. gasoline prices do not create incentives for automobile purchasers to consider fuel economy to any great extent in their purchase decisions. With a lack of market forces that create incentives for car buyers to purchase vehicles with high fuel economy, it is difficult to realize the public benefits from improvements in fuel economy, such as health benefits from reduced urban ozone, "insurance" against sudden crude oil price shocks, reduced military costs of maintaining energy security, potential savings from reduced crude oil prices, improved balance of payments, and reductions in greenhouse gases from the transportation sector. The development of such a vehicle, as noted by the committee in previous reports, is extremely challenging. An ambitious goal stimulates rapid development of required technology and, even if a Goal 3 vehicle does not achieve the triple fuel economy level, it may still reach a level far above current levels. To achieve the PNGV program objectives on the current schedule, the PNGV partners (USCAR and the federal government) should immediately develop a schedule of resource and funding requirements for each major technical task. This schedule should show current resources and funding applied to each major technical task and current resource shortfalls. Upon completion of this schedule, the PNGV partners should provide a strategy to obtain the necessary resources and funding.