1
Introduction

On September 29, 1993, President Clinton initiated the Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles (PNGV) program, which is a cooperative research and development (R&D) program between the federal government and the United States Council for Automotive Research (USCAR), whose members are Chrysler Corporation, Ford Motor Company, and General Motors Corporation (GM).1 The purpose of the PNGV program is to improve substantially the fuel efficiency of today's automobiles and enhance the U.S. domestic automobile industry's productivity and competitiveness. The objective of the PNGV program over the next decade is to develop technologies for a new generation of vehicles that can achieve fuel economies up to three times (80 miles per equivalent gallon of gasoline) those of today's comparable midsize sedans, while maintaining performance, size, utility, and cost of ownership and operation and meeting or exceeding federal safety and emissions requirements (The White House, 1993).

The PNGV declaration of intent includes a requirement for an independent peer review ''to comment on the technologies selected for research and progress made." In response to a written request by the undersecretary for technology administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, acting on behalf of the PNGV, the National Research Council (NRC) in July 1994 established the Standing Committee to Review the Research Program of the Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles. The committee conducts annual independent reviews of the PNGV's

1  

USCAR, which predated the formation of PNGV, was established to support intercompany precompetitive cooperation aimed at reducing the cost of redundant R&D in the face of intracompany international competition. USCAR is currently comprised of a number of consortia, as shown in Appendix E.



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1 Introduction On September 29, 1993, President Clinton initiated the Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles (PNGV) program, which is a cooperative research and development (R&D) program between the federal government and the United States Council for Automotive Research (USCAR), whose members are Chrysler Corporation, Ford Motor Company, and General Motors Corporation (GM).1 The purpose of the PNGV program is to improve substantially the fuel efficiency of today's automobiles and enhance the U.S. domestic automobile industry's productivity and competitiveness. The objective of the PNGV program over the next decade is to develop technologies for a new generation of vehicles that can achieve fuel economies up to three times (80 miles per equivalent gallon of gasoline) those of today's comparable midsize sedans, while maintaining performance, size, utility, and cost of ownership and operation and meeting or exceeding federal safety and emissions requirements (The White House, 1993). The PNGV declaration of intent includes a requirement for an independent peer review ''to comment on the technologies selected for research and progress made." In response to a written request by the undersecretary for technology administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, acting on behalf of the PNGV, the National Research Council (NRC) in July 1994 established the Standing Committee to Review the Research Program of the Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles. The committee conducts annual independent reviews of the PNGV's 1   USCAR, which predated the formation of PNGV, was established to support intercompany precompetitive cooperation aimed at reducing the cost of redundant R&D in the face of intracompany international competition. USCAR is currently comprised of a number of consortia, as shown in Appendix E.

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research program, advises the government and industry participants on the program's progress, and identifies significant barriers to success. This is the fourth report by the committee; the previous three are documented in three NRC reports, which provide further background on the PNGV program and committee efforts (NRC, 1994, 1996, 1997). The PNGV goals and the considerations underlying all of the NRC reviews articulated in the partnership's program plan are listed below (PNGV, 1995): Goal 1. Significantly improve national competitiveness in manufacturing for future generations of vehicles. Improve the productivity of the U.S. manufacturing base by significantly upgrading U.S. manufacturing technology, including the adoption of agile and flexible manufacturing and reduction of costs and lead times, while reducing the environmental impact and improving quality. Goal 2. Implement commercially viable innovations from ongoing research on conventional vehicles. Pursue technology advances that can lead to improvements in fuel efficiency and reductions in the emissions of standard vehicle designs, while pursuing advances to maintain safety performance. Research will focus on technologies that reduce the demand for energy from the engine and drive train. Throughout the research program, the industry has pledged to apply those commercially viable technologies resulting from this research that would be expected to increase significantly vehicle fuel efficiency and improve emissions. Goal 3. Develop vehicles to achieve up to three times the fuel efficiency of comparable 1994 family sedans. Increase vehicle fuel efficiency to up to three times that of the average of 1994 Concorde/Taurus/Lumina automobiles with equivalent cost of ownership adjusted for economics. As the committee noted in its third report, significant improvements in automotive fuel economy and the development of competitive advanced automotive technologies and vehicles can provide important economic benefits to the nation. The automotive industry, which is an important component of the U.S. economy, can benefit greatly if it can meet the expected increase in demand for cost-effective, fuel-efficient products in international markets, especially in Asia. Highway traffic accounts for a significant part of the atmospheric ozone in urban areas, contributes to greenhouse gas emissions, and is largely responsible for U.S. petroleum consumption and the consequent outflow of dollars for the purchase and import of petroleum products (NRC, 1997; OTA, 1995; Sissine, 1996). Several studies completed in 1997, as well as President Clinton's Climate Change Proposal, have focused on significant improvements in energy efficiency in various sectors of the economy that could be realized through energy R&D on technologies for energy production and energy consumption. Important reductions in greenhouse gas emissions could also result from the development of

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advanced technologies (DOE, 1997; PCAST, 1997). The transportation sector of the economy figures prominently in these studies. Currently, U.S. gasoline prices are relatively low, so automobile purchasers have little incentive to consider fuel economy in their purchase decisions. The U.S. automotive market has experienced a substantial increase in the sales of light trucks, especially of sport utility vehicles, which have substantially lower fuel economy requirements than automobiles. If present trends continue, light trucks will dominate the market sometime between 2004 and 2008 (DOE, 1996; NRC, 1992; NRC, 1998). The lack of market incentives for car buyers to purchase vehicles with high fuel economy makes the public benefits from improvements in fuel economy, such as the health benefits from reduced urban ozone, "insurance" against sudden increases in crude oil prices, the lower costs of maintaining energy security, the potential savings from lower crude oil prices, the improved balance of payments, and the reductions in greenhouse gases from the transportation sector, difficult to realize (Sissine, 1996; OTA, 1995). The PNGV strategy of developing an automobile with a fuel economy of up to 80 mpg, and maintaining performance, size, utility, and cost and meeting or exceeding safety and emissions standards, circumvents the lack of economic incentives for buying automobiles with high fuel economy. If the PNGV strategy is successful, the buyer will purchase a vehicle with all of the desirable consumer attributes, as well as greatly enhanced fuel economy. The development of this vehicle, as the committee noted in its previous reports, is extremely challenging. But this ambitious goal will stimulate the rapid development of the required technologies and, even if a Goal 3 vehicle does not achieve the triple-level fuel economy while approaching cost and performance objectives, it may still be far more fuel-efficient than current vehicles, which would be an outstanding achievement. In the past few years, but especially in the last year, a number of events related to advanced automotive technologies for passenger vehicles that are relevant to the PNGV program have occurred, including: (1) limited consumer interest in the EVI, the GM electric vehicle introduced into the market in 1996; (2) large investments announced by Daimler-Benz ($450 million Canadian) and Ford Motor Company ($420 million) in joint ventures with Ballard Power Systems, Inc., a Canadian fuel cell manufacturing firm, to develop fuel-cell technology; (3) the introduction in Japan of the Prius by Toyota, the first commercial hybrid vehicle (fuel economy of about 60 mpg); (4) recent regulations by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to reduce atmospheric concentrations of particulate matter; (5) an agreement in February 1998 to establish a National Low Emission Vehicle program; (6) recent identification by PNGV of a stretch research objective of 0.01 g/mile for particulate matter emissions; and (7) the display at the 1997 Tokyo Motor Show by Japanese automotive companies of an array of production-ready "green" vehicles, i.e., vehicles with low emissions, high fuel economy, and high recyclability.

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Competition fostered by the PNGV has no doubt hastened many of these overseas developments. For example, the European Car of Tomorrow Task Force was initiated in 1995, and the Japan Clean Air Program was launched in 1996. These events highlight the potential strategic value of programs like the PNGV and the importance of staying abreast of developments in foreign technology. The PNGV's objective is to bring together the extensive R&D resources of the federal establishment, including the national laboratories and university-based research institutions, and the vehicle design, manufacturing, and marketing capabilities of both the USCAR partners and suppliers to the automotive industry. In general, government funding for the PNGV is primarily used for the development of longer-term, high-risk technologies. Funding by USCAR and industry is generally used to develop technologies with nearer-term commercial potential, to implement government technology developments in automotive applications, and to produce concept vehicles. Substantial in-house proprietary R&D programs are also ongoing at USCAR partners' facilities. Technical teams responsible for R&D on the candidate subsystems, such as fuel cells, gas turbines, compression ignition direct injection (CIDI) engines, and others, are central to the PNGV. A manufacturing team, an electrical and electronics power conversion devices team, a materials and structures team, and a systems analysis team are also part of the PNGV organization (NRC, 1996, 1997). Technical oversight and coordination are provided by the vehicle engineering team, which provides the technical teams with vehicle system requirements, which are supported by the systems analysis team. This review, the fourth by the committee, is being conducted during the critical process of technology selection (often referred to as the technology "downselect" process) by the end of 1997. According to the schedule for Goal 3 described in the PNGV Program Plan, the PNGV was to assess system configurations for alternative vehicles and to narrow its technology choices by the end of 1997, with the intent of defining, developing, and constructing concept vehicles by 2000 and production prototypes by 2004 (PNGV, 1995). The USCAR partners will develop separate concept vehicles, drawing on the spectrum of technologies developed under PNGV and in-house proprietary technology. PNGV itself will not design or build a concept car, a decision that the committee supports. Although the 1997 technology selection process focused on choosing the technologies most likely to result in concept and production prototype vehicles that could meet the Goal 3 requirements, other longer-range technologies will continue to evolve and may be incorporated into subsequent concept vehicles, as appropriate. As important technological advances are made, a series of concept vehicles will probably be developed beyond the year 2000. Since the beginning of the program, the PNGV has addressed many technology areas, including advanced lightweight materials and structures; efficient energy conversion systems (including advanced internal combustion engines, gas turbines, Stirling engines, and fuel cells); hybrid electric propulsion systems; energy-storage devices (including high-power

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batteries, flywheels, and ultracapacitors); efficient electrical and electronic systems; and systems that can efficiently recover and utilize exhaust energy and braking energy. This fourth PNGV review was conducted by a committee comprising 15 members with a wide variety of expertise (see Appendix A for biographical information). Given the 1997 milestone of technology selection for the Goal 3 vehicle, the PNGV asked that the committee focus attention on progress made toward meeting Goal 3 and the development of relevant technologies. The objectives of goals 1 and 2, in many instances, support progress toward Goal 3, especially development of the manufacturing capabilities for the advanced automotive technologies being considered for the Goal 3 vehicle. The committee was asked to address the following tasks in this review: In light of major technical accomplishments since the third review and technical barriers that remain to be overcome, as well as the response by the PNGV to previous committee recommendations, examine the overall balance and adequacy of the PNGV research effort to meet the program goals and requirements, i.e., technical objectives, schedules, and rate of progress necessary to meet these requirements. Examine the PNGV technology selection process including how the PNGV is making choices and the role of government in the PNGV program after the technology selection process is completed. Consider and comment on how the PNGV program should interface, if appropriate, with other federal research programs. Prepare a fourth peer review report. In view of the importance of Goal 3 at this point in the PNGV program, the committee was directed not to review goals 1 and 2 (see Appendix C) and not to review or analyze the resources being applied to the PNGV overall (see appendices B and C). The fourth peer review report contains the committee's conclusions and recommendations (Appendix B contains a list of meetings, presentations, and other data-gathering activities by the committee).2 Some of the material reviewed by the committee was presented by USCAR as proprietary information under an agreement signed by the National Academy of Sciences, the USCAR, and the U.S. government (represented by the U.S. Department of Commerce). As the committee noted in previous reports (NRC, 1996, 1997), all of these reviews have been undertaken with the understanding that the vision, goals, and 2   The committee formed the following subgroups: Nonelectrochemical Storage Devices; Electrical and Electronic Systems; Systems Analysis; Batteries and Ultracapacitors; Fuel Cells; Internal Combustion Engines; Continuous Combustion Engines; Materials; Fuels; Vehicle Technology Selection; and Cost Analysis. For a list of members of the subgroups see page iii.

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target dates for the PNGV had been articulated by the President and that the appropriate R&D programs had been launched. On the assumption that the PNGV partners will seriously pursue the objectives of the program, the committee understands its charge as providing independent advice to help the PNGV achieve its goals. Therefore, the committee has tried to identify actions that could enhance the program's chances for success. The committee continues to avoid making judgments on the value of the program to the nation and accepts the goals as given, noting that goals 1 and 2, unlike Goal 3, are open-ended and do not have quantitative targets and milestones. The committee's objective continues to be to review the R&D program as presently configured and to assess the PNGV's progress toward, and potential for, achieving its goals. However, because regulatory and market changes occur continually, the PNGV should keep abreast of relevant changes and reassess its objectives.