If invited by DaimlerChrysler Corporation, Ford Motor Company, or General Motors Corporation, committee subgroups will review each of the company’s technology application, vehicle integration, and supporting advanced manufacturing technology efforts directed at the year 2000 PNGV concept vehicles.
The conclusions and recommendations in this report are based on the committee’s meetings, presentations, and other data-gathering activities (see Appendix C). Some of the material reviewed by the committee was presented by USCAR as proprietary information under an agreement signed by the National Academy of Sciences, USCAR, and the U.S. Department of Commerce (on behalf of the federal government).
Opinions of the goals of any program are bound to differ. Some think the PNGV time frame should be longer to allow for the maturation of some longer range technologies; some think the goals should be to reduce the combined emissions of greenhouse gases rather than fuel economy. As the committee has noted in previous reports, these reviews were based on the vision, goals, and target dates for PNGV articulated by the president and the R&D programs that have been launched (NRC, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999). Assuming that PNGV partners will seriously pursue the objectives of the program, the committee understands its role as providing independent advice to help PNGV achieve its goals. Therefore, the committee has tried to identify actions that could enhance the program’s chances for success and has refrained from making judgments on the value of the program to the nation. The goals were accepted as given, including goals 1 and 2, which, unlike Goal 3, are open-ended and do not have quantitative targets and milestones. The objectives of goals 1 and 2, in many instances, support progress toward Goal 3, especially the development of manufacturing capabilities for the advanced automotive technologies being considered for the Goal 3 vehicle. The goals are summarized in the updated PNGV Technical Roadmap (PNGV, 1999a).
Because regulations and the market continue to change, however, the committee believes that PNGV should periodically reassess its objectives, especially in light of the negative impact the new emissions standards (i.e., the Tier 2 emissions standards) may have on the success of the program. The final regulations for Tier 2 standards announced by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on December 21, 1999, greatly increase the development challenge and risk for the CIDI engine, the primary power plant now under consideration, to meet the fuel economy goal of 80 mpg in PNGV’s time frame. Alternative power plants that could meet the PNGV 2004 time frame would probably result in vehicles with a lower fuel economy (see Chapter 5 for further discussion).