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7 PNGV's Response to the Phase 3 Report In its previous three reviews, the NRC Standing Committee to Review the Research Program of the PNGV made a number of recommendations, which have been documented in published reports (NRC, 1994; 1996; 1997). Some of the recommendations have been carried over from one review to the next, reflecting the committee's concern about how well the PNGV has responded or the importance the committee places on a particular recommendation vis-á-vis the ability of the PNGV program to meet its goals. In the third report, the committee made both specific recommendations for each of the technologies under development and general program recommendations. In general, the committee believes the PNGV has been responsive to many of the recommendations for the technology development areas and systems analysis. The committee recommended in the third report that the PNGV immediately assess the possible effect of regulatory changes to reduce the atmospheric level of fine particulate matter on the viability of passenger car CIDI engines and modify its program, if necessary. The reduction in emissions will mean that the role of fuels in achieving low emission levels for Goal 3 vehicles is still very important. The PNGV is now taking steps to address the fuel-engine issue. In addition, the committee recommended that the PNGV continue to study infrastructure issues, especially the implications of using different fuels. The PNGV is also moving ahead on analyzing infrastructure issues. The committee was seriously concerned in prior reviews about the delays and low level of effort devoted to systems analysis. The committee is pleased with the significant progress that has been made in this area since the third review. Attention must now be directed towards creating better cost and reliability models. Several of the subsystem models must also be improved—for example,
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the models used for fuel cells are overly simplistic for steady-state simulations and cannot be used to evaluate transient response and behavior. The electrical and electronics power conversion devices team has made considerable progress in interfacing with the systems analysis team, but it must provide some models necessary for analysis, such as models for motor/generators, power electronic converters, and control algorithms for series and parallel hybrid drive configurations. In response to recommendations on fuel cells in the third report, realistic projections of energy efficiency (as compared to an advanced spark-ignition or CIDI engine utilizing the same amount of petroleum in both hybrid and nonhybrid modes) have still not been made. Attempts to find lower cost alternatives for high catalyst loadings, low-cost bipolar plates, and low-cost membrane and electrode assembly designs appear to have been minimal. The committee is encouraged that PNGV has initiated a rigorous cost analysis that could help identify approaches to reducing costs. Since the third report was published, the PNGV has decided not to pursue the gas turbine as a power plant for the Goal 3 vehicle. Therefore, the committee's recommendations on R&D on gas turbines were not followed. The committee believes limited work on enabling technologies, especially on the development of ceramic components, should be continued. In the battery technology area, the committee believes PNGV should make more detailed assessments of the safety of the battery systems being developed. The PNGV has not addressed the issue of battery control requirements, and models to simulate cost were not reported to the committee. The committee recommended in the first and second reports that program management and technical leadership of both government and industry activities be made more effective. This issue was not revisited in the third report or in this report because the committee's viewpoint has not been embraced by the PNGV or USCAR. However, the committee continues to have this concern. The committee also noted in past reports the importance of obtaining and reallocating federal and industry funds to activities with promising technological potential in the time horizon and needs of the program. In the third report, the committee made the following recommendations: Recommendation. 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 for each major technical task and current shortfalls. Upon completion of this schedule, the PNGV partners should provide a strategy to obtain the necessary resources and funding. Recommendation. In the event that the PNGV (industry and government) does not obtain or chooses not to increase the resource levels and thereby accelerate the pace of development, the PNGV should reconsider the viability of current PNGV program objectives with regard to performance, schedule, and cost.
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In the current review, the committee did not request, and did not receive information on, resource levels and the overall funding profiles of the program. The PNGV's response was expressed in a letter from Mary Good, U.S. Department of Commerce, to Trevor Jones, committee chairman (see Appendix B) Your approach in this and earlier reports regarding funding, budgets, and schedule is of concern. Apparently, the Committee's vision of PNGV is one of an engineering project leading to a specific product. In contrast, both government and industry consider the Partnership a "best efforts" undertaking towards stretch goals. First and foremost this is a research, development and technology transfer program … We strongly feel that the Peer Review should be focused on the technical issues in the future rather than the funding issues. Nevertheless, the committee continues to believe that a complex technology program like the PNGV requires a clear understanding of the technical objectives, a program schedule, and a determination and application of required resources to achieve overall program objectives. These three basic requirements are essential and common to all types of programs, whether "best efforts" or otherwise. The committee has ascertained that meaningful progress has been made in many of the technical areas, and resources have been re-allocated to technologies that appear to be the most promising for the concept vehicles. As the program moves beyond the technology selection for the first concept vehicles, the USCAR partners are expected to focus more resources on the development of the concept vehicles. The USCAR partners have also been working on experimental vehicles. In this review, the committee has focused mainly on the level of effort directed toward individual technology areas and whether sufficient resources are available to meet program goals. The committee is still concerned that the PNGV has not expressed concern over the competitive implications of foreign technological advances and activities. Finally, an important recommendation that the committee has consistently made is that the involvement of other U.S. government agencies in PNGV, such as the U.S. Department of Transportation, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the U.S. Department of Defense, and the EPA, be increased. Cooperation with the EPA is extremely important in light of emissions targets in general and the stretch research objective for particulates in particular and will require focusing attention on the development of exhaust emissions control technologies, as well as on fuels that will lead to low emission levels. The committee notes that the PNGV has involved the EPA in work on fuel and after-treatment technologies. The systems models being developed by PNGV could be useful to the Intelligent Transportation System Program and other programs at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The PNGV should communicate
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with these groups and explore how these programs can be advantageous to each other. The committee also believes that National Highway Traffic Safety Administration should be involved in crashworthiness studies of lightweight vehicles (DOT, 1997b).
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