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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