Introduction

This is the first 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 standing committee was established in July 1994 to conduct independent annual reviews of the PNGV’s research program and advise the government and industry participants on the program’s progress. This review was undertaken by the National Research Council at the written request of the Under Secretary for Technology Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, acting on behalf of the PNGV.

The PNGV program is a cooperative research and development (R&D) program between the federal government and the United States Council for Automotive Research (USCAR), which is made up of Chrysler Corporation, Ford Motor Company, and General Motors Corporation. The PNGV was initiated on September 29, 1993, by President Clinton with the purpose of enhancing the U.S. domestic automobile industry’s productivity and competitiveness. The aims of the PNGV program are to improve automobiles over the next decade and develop technologies for a new generation of vehicles that could achieve fuel economies up to three times those of today’s comparable vehicles. 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 (White House, 1993).

The PNGV goals and the considerations underlying them are enunciated in the partnership’s program plan, as follows (PNGV, 1994):

GOAL 1 - Significantly improve national competitiveness in manufacturing.

Improve productivity of the U.S. manufacturing base by significantly upgrading U.S. manufacturing technology, including adoption of agile and flexible manufacturing and reduction of costs and lead times, while reducing the environmental impact and/or improving quality.

GOAL 2 - Implement commercially viable innovation from ongoing research on conventional vehicles.

Pursue advances in vehicles that can lead to improvements in the fuel efficiency and emissions of standard vehicle designs, while pursuing safety advances to maintain safety performance. Research will focus on technologies that reduce the demand for energy from the engine and



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REVIEW OF THE RESEARCH PROGRAM OF THE PARTNERSHIP FOR A NEW GENERATION OF VEHICLES Introduction This is the first 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 standing committee was established in July 1994 to conduct independent annual reviews of the PNGV’s research program and advise the government and industry participants on the program’s progress. This review was undertaken by the National Research Council at the written request of the Under Secretary for Technology Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, acting on behalf of the PNGV. The PNGV program is a cooperative research and development (R&D) program between the federal government and the United States Council for Automotive Research (USCAR), which is made up of Chrysler Corporation, Ford Motor Company, and General Motors Corporation. The PNGV was initiated on September 29, 1993, by President Clinton with the purpose of enhancing the U.S. domestic automobile industry’s productivity and competitiveness. The aims of the PNGV program are to improve automobiles over the next decade and develop technologies for a new generation of vehicles that could achieve fuel economies up to three times those of today’s comparable vehicles. 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 (White House, 1993). The PNGV goals and the considerations underlying them are enunciated in the partnership’s program plan, as follows (PNGV, 1994): GOAL 1 - Significantly improve national competitiveness in manufacturing. Improve productivity of the U.S. manufacturing base by significantly upgrading U.S. manufacturing technology, including adoption of agile and flexible manufacturing and reduction of costs and lead times, while reducing the environmental impact and/or improving quality. GOAL 2 - Implement commercially viable innovation from ongoing research on conventional vehicles. Pursue advances in vehicles that can lead to improvements in the fuel efficiency and emissions of standard vehicle designs, while pursuing safety advances to maintain safety performance. Research will focus on technologies that reduce the demand for energy from the engine and

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REVIEW OF THE RESEARCH PROGRAM OF THE PARTNERSHIP FOR A NEW GENERATION OF VEHICLES drivetrain. Throughout the research program, the industry commits to apply those commercially viable technologies resulting from this research that would be expected to significantly increase vehicle fuel efficiency and improve emissions. GOAL 3 - Develop a vehicle to achieve up to three times fuel efficiency of today’s comparable vehicle. Achieve fuel efficiency improvement of up to three times the average of Concorde/Taurus/Lumina, with equivalent customer purchase price of today’s comparable sedans adjusted for economics. Note: While costing no more to own and drive than today ’s automobile, adjusted for economics, while meeting the customer’s needs for quality, performance and utility. According to the schedule for Goal 3 that is described in the program plan, by 1997 the PNGV expects to assess system configurations for alternative vehicles and to narrow its technology choices, with the intent of defining, developing, and constructing concept vehicles by the year 2000 and production prototypes by the year 2004. The technology areas being addressed include advanced lightweight materials and structures; energy efficient conversion systems (including advanced internal combustion engines, gas turbines, and fuel cells); hybrid electric propulsion systems; energy storage devices (including high-power batteries, flywheels, and ultracapacitors); more-efficient electrical systems; and energy recovery systems such as those for efficiently recovering and utilizing exhaust energy and braking energy. The committee was charged to conduct its initial review of the management structure and technical program plan in August 1994 and to issue a short overview report by October 1994. (See Appendix A for the committee’s organization and operating charter). Consistent with this charge, this first report offers the committee’s initial findings and recommendations based on presentations from the PNGV that were made from August 22-24, 1994, and the committee’s deliberations on August 25, 1994, in Dearborn, Michigan. The list of presentations to the committee is included in Appendix B. Some of the material was presented to the committee as USCAR proprietary information under an agreement signed by the National Academy of Sciences; USCAR; and the U.S. government, represented by the U.S. Department of Commerce. The committee, however, did not have access to any information that was deemed proprietary by any one of the individual companies that make up USCAR. The committee started its work with the explicit understanding that the vision, goals, and target dates for the PNGV had been enunciated by the president and that the R&D program had been launched. On the premise that the PNGV would be seriously pursued by its partners, the committee saw its charge as one of providing independent advice to help the PNGV achieve the goals envisioned. Thus, in its review the committee sought to identify strengths and actions that could enhance the program’s

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REVIEW OF THE RESEARCH PROGRAM OF THE PARTNERSHIP FOR A NEW GENERATION OF VEHICLES chance for success. The committee studiously avoided making judgments at this time on the value of the program to the nation. In view of time limitations in this initial review, the committee accepted the fuel economy target for Goal 3 as a given. This target is to construct a production prototype vehicle (or vehicles) by 2004 that will have, among its other attributes, a fuel economy of up to 80 miles per equivalent gallon of gasoline (as measured by the Federal Test Procedure). The committee discussed but did not choose to question, this fuel economy target, deferring that issue for later discussion. Likewise, the committee accepted the statements for goals 1 and 2, while noting that they are open ended and do not have quantitative targets and milestones as does Goal 3. In the foregoing context, the objective of the committee’s first meeting was to conduct an overarching review of the R&D program as presently configured and to assess the PNGV program’s potential for achieving its goals. Thus, the presentations sought by the committee at its first meeting centered around understanding the PNGV’s perspectives on the technologies under consideration; key research challenges and priorities; alignment of the program architecture with the goals, the schedule, and milestones; metrics for measuring progress; resources deployed in fiscal year 1994 and planned for subsequent years; and program management within the PNGV. Because the committee had to respond quickly, it could not reasonably examine the technologies proposed by the PNGV in any depth. Rather, as noted earlier, the committee chose to obtain an overall perspective of the PNGV program, its dedicated and proposed resources, and its program management and to judge the program’s efficacy on that basis. Key questions for which the committee sought information and insight include the following: Are the broad priorities established for the PNGV program reasonable? Are there obvious potential technologies not being considered as candidates for the PNGV concept vehicle? Does the PNGV program have detailed plans sufficient to adequately describe the work effort and permit effective program management of dedicated resources? Does the PNGV program have an effective program management structure for the government and industry organizations involved? Does the PNGV program have adequate and dedicated levels of funding and resources required to accomplish the goals and schedules specified in the program plan? Is the PNGV program considering all pertinent sources of technology? This report attempts to answer these overarching questions. At its next meeting, the committee expects to augment its expertise and begin more in-depth reviews of technologies in the PNGV R&D portfolio. Subsequent meetings are also being planned in 1995 to address the program’s progress in relation to resources, plans, and schedules, as well as other aspects of the program, in a similar manner.