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REVIEW OF THE RESEARCH PROGRAM OF THE PARTNERSHIP FOR A NEW GENERATION OF VEHICLES: SECOND REPORT 3 PNGV Response to the Phase 1 Report In its report issued in October 1994, after the first review of the PNGV research program, the committee offered a number of recommendations for the PNGV's consideration (NRC, 1994). Most importantly, the committee considered the broad priorities and underlying concepts of the program to be reasonable and credible but noted that for the goals of the program to be met or closely approached, well-managed and adequate resources must be devoted to it in a timely manner and it must be pursued with urgency as a national goal. In this regard, the committee made four major recommendations concerning the need for (1) a strong central government program manager; (2) central control over a unified government budget for critical and core items; (3) a central (integrated) USCAR platform development team with a single technical director; and (4) a sustained national commitment. The committee also offered four additional recommendations directed at (1) developing a technology strategy for the PNGV's research activities; (2) involving suppliers and university researchers in the program; (3) using foreign technology and resources where and when appropriate; and (4) evaluating the implications of future infrastructure and capital needs that would be generated by a successful program. The PNGV provided a written response to the committee's recommendations in the form of a letter from its Operational Steering Group, dated March 3, 1995. This letter in its entirety is included in appendix C, together with the committee's initial analysis of the response, which was provided to the PNGV prior to the August 1995 committee meeting in Dearborn, Michigan. The committee discussed the response letter with the PNGV at this meeting and assessed PNGV's actions to implement the committee's recommendations. The highlights of that assessment are outlined below. Progress, changes in the program, and material presented to the committee during the current review indicate that PNGV has resolved some of the issues raised in the Phase 1 report. PNGV has yet to address other important issues in a substantive way, as discussed in later chapters of this report. The committee's recommendations regarding the major outstanding issues are
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REVIEW OF THE RESEARCH PROGRAM OF THE PARTNERSHIP FOR A NEW GENERATION OF VEHICLES: SECOND REPORT presented in the appropriate chapters (Infrastructure, Systems Analysis, Program Organization and Management, National Commitment). The recommendations dealing with the need for stronger program management and establishment of a USCAR integrated platform development team were overtaken by the industry decision to create proprietary concept vehicles. This decision makes management by “a single platform team ” less appropriate; but, in the judgement of the committee, the need for better “defined and staffed management structures” than existed at the time of the first review remains an important issue. Certainly a case can be made that perfectly adequate organizations exist within each of the car companies to perform their in-house tasks, since concept and production prototype vehicle construction is a routine process for them. However, the committee strongly believes that the current coordination mechanism within PNGV does not permit the members of USCAR to fully exploit the leveraged advantages of an integrated organization in pursuit of the program goals. It is the considered opinion of the committee that the appointment of a PNGV-USCAR technical director is even more essential and urgent than at the time of the first peer review, given the diverse approaches of the USCAR members to designing and building Goal 3 vehicles. Further, the committee observed that the government lacks an effective program management organization, with the current program management office operating essentially as an information office. The committee is concerned that the current program management organization on the government side is not conducive to maximizing the contribution of the non-proprietary R&D conducted primarily at government laboratories. The previously noted lack of an integrated PNGV program plan is partially overcome by creation of the Draft PNGV Technical Roadmap (dated August 15, 1995), which was provided to the committee just prior to its first meeting, at the end of August 1995 (PNGV, 1995). This document does a good job of describing the major technologies being pursued, the target performance levels and the planned schedule. However, it is deficient in identifying resource requirements and, in some cases, in establishing the critical milestones and quantitative performance measures that must be met to achieve the PNGV goals on time. The committee assumes that the missing details will be added by PNGV in future revisions of the Technical Roadmap. The committee's recommendations to combine “major and critical elements of the PNGV program” in a single line item budget has not proven feasible. The current PNGV program on the federal side is composed of a loose assembly of individual projects, a number of which predate the PNGV. These projects aim to satisfy the requirements of both the PNGV and other programs; therefore, the PNGV government program manager has very limited influence over project priorities and resources. In the view of the committee, the mechanisms for program coordination and decision making that will be used for
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REVIEW OF THE RESEARCH PROGRAM OF THE PARTNERSHIP FOR A NEW GENERATION OF VEHICLES: SECOND REPORT “selecting and integrating technologies and for assessing total costs and benefits” still require definition. The existence and effectiveness of mechanisms were not clear from the material presented by the PNGV to the committee. The committee's recommendations “to make an analysis to divide all technologies related to Goal 3 into two categories: current PNGV and post PNGV technologies” and the need to address infrastructure issues as “an integral part of the PNGV program systems analysis” appear to have been favorably received by the program managers. They still remain, however, as significant concerns of the committee. It is the committee's considered opinion that the program would benefit significantly if the major technologies being pursued by the PNGV were critically examined in light of the two categories above and if the infrastructure issues were more directly addressed as an integrated part of the PNGV's technology tradeoff studies and decision process for technology selection in 1997. Many of the remaining recommendations from the Phase 1 report have been addressed or explained by the PNGV so that, while not completely resolved, they no longer present major concerns to the committee. These issues include the degree of public outreach and the extent of supplier and university involvement in the program. While a start has been made to benchmark foreign technology developments, the committee considers it important for the PNGV to analyze available data fully, make more comprehensive assessments, and take action to modify the PNGV program as appropriate. In the committee's view, the DOD, the DOT, and the NASA still need to be more supportive and integrated into the PNGV research program. The relevance of certain ongoing R&D programs funded by these agencies to the PNGV technical objectives militates in favor of this view. REFERENCES NRC (National Research Council). 1994. Review of the Research Program of the Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles. Board on Energy and Environmental Systems and Transportation Research Board, NRC. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press. PNGV (Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles). 1995. Technical Roadmap (draft). Dearborn, Michigan: PNGV.
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