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REVIEW OF THE RESEARCH PROGRAM OF THE PARTNERSHIP FOR A NEW GENERATION OF VEHICLES: SECOND REPORT 4 Goals 1 and 2 Given the lack of quantitative objectives for Goals 1 and 2 and the time constraints on conducting this second peer review of the research program of the PNGV, the committee chose to focus on activities relating to Goal 3. The following discussion aims to provide the reader with a brief overview of PNGV activities and achievements directed towards Goals 1 and 2. The committee noted that the absence of quantitative objectives complicates any assessment of progress. Achievements in Goal 1 and Goal 2 programs form an important base on which to build in developing Goal 3 technologies; for example, by establishing commercially viable manufacturing methods and obtaining data on the crashworthiness of composite vehicle structures. These programs will supplement Goal 3 technology development efforts and will provide useful supporting information for subsequent market-based assessments of advanced vehicle technologies. GOAL 1 Objectives for Goal 1 (significantly improve national competitiveness in manufacturing) are being formulated by the PNGV in response to needs identified in the context of Goal 2 and Goal 3 technology development programs, notably for low-cost, high-volume manufacturing processes. The manufacturing program includes efforts to: improve design and development processes to shorten lead times and achieve cost reductions develop new manufacturing systems that will increase productivity
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REVIEW OF THE RESEARCH PROGRAM OF THE PARTNERSHIP FOR A NEW GENERATION OF VEHICLES: SECOND REPORT develop and validate new vehicle assembly systems that will assure the ability to integrate new technologies and allow increased productivity No specific quantitative objectives (e.g., productivity levels, cost, quality) have been defined for specific vehicle systems, subsystems or component developments. At its Dearborn, Michigan, meeting, the committee was provided with a paper summarizing the progress and status of Goal 1 activities. A consolidated USCAR listing of 256 candidate technologies was compiled and compared with an inventory of government agency projects to identify synergies and to avoid possible redundances. The list was consolidated to 196 technologies with the potential to impact PNGV goals. These 196 technologies were further prioritized into 96 high-priority, near-term, generic manufacturing needs; 47 Goal 3 vehicle enablers; and 53 medium- and low-priority technologies. Technologies in the first category were further reduced to 35 (following reviews with the individual Chrysler, Ford, and General Motors manufacturing organizations) from which the 16 highest priority projects were selected covering the following categories: simulation and modeling systems/software integration agile, flexible manufacturing alternative processes test methodology current process optimization Funding requirements for the 16 high-priority projects are being identified. Manufacturing representatives from USCAR have now been assigned to each of the product technology teams (see PNGV Technical Organizational Structure, figure 9-1), and specific manufacturing needs in each area are being assessed. Notable achievements demonstrated by USCAR programs with suppliers include high-volume structural resin-injection-molding composite processes capable of producing an underbody crossmember; a slab and belt cast-aluminum sheet fabricated in automotive alloys with a potential cost of $1/lb; and resolution of forming, joining, and painting issues in a new, high-volume application of aluminum closure panels. The committee noted that reduced funding levels are threatening the scope of the 16 proposed Goal 1 high-priority activities. Projects with specific direct benefit to vehicle weight and cost reduction, such as aluminum die-casting, high-throughput hole-making, and springback predictability, have not
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REVIEW OF THE RESEARCH PROGRAM OF THE PARTNERSHIP FOR A NEW GENERATION OF VEHICLES: SECOND REPORT received funding from the National Institute for Science and Technology under the Advanced Technology Program. The uncertainty of government funds is forcing the manufacturing teams to narrow the scope of the 16 selected programs. Demonstrating the reliability of new manufacturing technologies in a commercial environment requires time. The choice of promising Goal 3 technologies for selection in 1997 may well be limited by the absence of Goal 1 proven manufacturing processes that offer significant time and cost advantages. Increased flexibility in assigning funds to the most critical programs would minimize this concern. GOAL 2 Projects in support of Goal 2 (implement commercially viable innovations from ongoing research on conventional vehicles) span the time horizon from near-term applications in current production vehicles to research and development that might enhance the feasibility of Goal 3 technology selections, besides being applied to conventional vehicles. A variety of projects—many involving several of the national laboratories—are being carried out under the auspices of the USCAR consortia (see appendix D). Additional programs are being conducted individually by Chrysler, Ford, and General Motors. Many of the Goal 2 projects grew out of USCAR collaborative activities that were in place prior to the establishment of PNGV. Several workshops have been held to develop a priority list of fuel-economy-related research objectives and over 60 different development areas have been identified and prioritized. A number of Goal 2 powertrain projects are being conducted within the USCAR Low Emission Partnership (LEP). The LEP encompasses a wide variety of developments spanning the field from evaporative emissions, fuel preparation and metering, through combustion, and on to after-treatment and in-use compliance. Five national laboratories are actively involved, each with appropriate, well-defined projects aimed at hastening near-term application of their technologies and support of the emission reduction needs of some of the Goal 3 vehicles. Additional projects are under development with NASA. Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRADAs), which target powertrain development needs, also exist between individual companies and some national laboratories. Some of this activity is not categorized as precompetitive.
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REVIEW OF THE RESEARCH PROGRAM OF THE PARTNERSHIP FOR A NEW GENERATION OF VEHICLES: SECOND REPORT Major areas of progress in Goal 2 include the following: successful crash testing of a Ford Escort vehicle with a front end made of composite material, which provided information about the behavior of composite vehicle structures under crash conditions completion of the design of a truck pick-up box using composite material, with projected 28 percent weight saving compared with a steel structure production of prototype test sections of dual-wall, stainless-steel manifolds using a new superplastic forming process for stainless steel. The PNGV is investigating energy-conserving, double-wall exhaust manifolds to reduce cold-start emissions. development of novel hydrous metal oxides for sulfur-resistant NO x reduction catalysts and a new cleaning process for zeolite catalysts There is some concern among the PNGV industry partners that future decisions regarding funding for CRADAs supporting Goal 2 may not be consistent with PNGV priorities. U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) program managers and industry technical representatives planned to participate in an exploratory meeting in early January 1996 to discuss technical priorities and examine opportunities for reallocating resources in support of PNGV technical objectives. As noted elsewhere in this report, because of the lack of quantitative objectives for Goals 1 and 2 and the time constraints, the committee has not performed a detailed examination of the objectives and status of these Goal 2 projects. The committee's focus has largely been on the PNGV programs for Goal 3. ISSUES The committee noted that Goal 1 and 2 programs carry substantially less technical risk than Goal 3 programs. In addition, considerably less PNGV effort is being applied to the former activities. Nonetheless, progress is being made towards meeting Goal 1 and Goal 2 objectives, with technological advances and achievements being introduced into production as they occur. The committee's main concern regarding Goal 1 and 2 programs continues to be the absence of quantitative objectives. This deficiency complicates any attempt to assess progress.
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