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Review of the Research Program of the U.S. DRIVE Partnership: Fifth Report (2017)

Chapter: 2 Management, Strategy, and Priority Setting

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Suggested Citation:"2 Management, Strategy, and Priority Setting." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Review of the Research Program of the U.S. DRIVE Partnership: Fifth Report. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24717.
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2

Management, Strategy, and Priority Setting

ORGANIZATION OF THE PARTNERSHIP1

The U.S. DRIVE (Driving Research and Innovation for Vehicle Efficiency and Energy Sustainability) Partnership consists of a number of oversight groups and technical teams that have participants from government and industry. The Executive Steering Group (ESG), which is not a federal advisory committee as defined by the Federal Advisory Committee Act, is responsible for the governance of the Partnership and is made up of the Department of Energy (DOE) Assistant Secretary for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) and a vice-presidential-level executive for each of the partnership companies. The ESG meets annually, and its defined role is to set high-level technical and management priorities for the Partnership.

Each of the three industry-related operations groups—the Vehicle Operations Group, the Fuel Operations Group, and the Electric Utility Operations Group—meets regularly on a schedule to suit the group’s own needs. The Joint Operations Group (JOG) meets on a monthly basis to support the ESG, provide direction to the technical teams, and ensure strong coordination and a common understanding across the Partnership.

This structure, shown in Figure 2-1, is very much the same as existed in the predecessor FreedomCAR and Fuel Partnership and indeed, as existed in the U.S. DRIVE Partnership in 2013 when last reviewed by the National Research Council (NRC). Comparing Figure 2-1 with Figure 1-2 in the prior committee report (NRC, 2013), it is clear that the only significant change in the organization (other than

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1 Much of this section is taken from the NRC Phase 4 report (NRC, 2013) to succinctly describe the organization of the Partnership.

Suggested Citation:"2 Management, Strategy, and Priority Setting." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Review of the Research Program of the U.S. DRIVE Partnership: Fifth Report. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24717.
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Image
FIGURE 2-1 Organizational structure of the U.S. DRIVE Partnership.
NOTE: OEM, original equipment manufacturer. Note that a target setting task force discussed later in this chapter is not part of the formal organizational structure.
SOURCE: Cooper (2016b).
Suggested Citation:"2 Management, Strategy, and Priority Setting." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Review of the Research Program of the U.S. DRIVE Partnership: Fifth Report. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24717.
×

changes in ESG leadership) is the addition of the crosscutting working groups. The addition of the crosscutting cradle-to-grave (C2G) analysis working group in particular is directly responsive to a number of prior NRC recommendations. For example, as will be discussed later, Recommendation 2-1 in the NRC Phase 4 report called for a “portfolio-based strategy based on overall systems analysis performed by a proactive vehicle systems and analysis technical team and fuel pathway integration technical team” (NRC, 2013).

As with prior partnerships, the U.S. DRIVE Partnership also has industry-government technical teams responsible for setting technical and cost targets, as well as focusing appropriate research and development (R&D) on the candidate subsystems. Most of these technical teams focus on specific technical areas, but some, such as the hydrogen codes and standards technical team and the vehicle systems analysis technical team (VSATT) focus on crosscutting issues. A technical team consists of scientists and engineers with technology-specific expertise from the automotive companies, energy partner companies, utility industry companies, and national laboratories, as well as DOE technology development managers. Team members may come from other federal agencies if approved by the appropriate operations groups. A technical team is responsible for developing R&D plans and roadmaps, reviewing research results, and evaluating technical progress toward meeting established research goals. Its discussions are restricted to nonproprietary topics.

The U.S. DRIVE Partnership has expanded its outreach compared with the FreedomCAR and Fuel Partnership by including associate members from non-partner organizations. These associated memberships are for 3-year renewable terms. All but two technical teams (the electrochemical energy storage technical team and the materials technical team [MTT]) have an associate member. These associate members bring additional technical expertise and knowledge to the technical teams.

Furthermore, each U.S. DRIVE partner is involved in numerous other collaborations. U.S. DRIVE activities benefit greatly from these related outside efforts, as partners bring their knowledge and connections to the table as appropriate. Some examples of these other collaborations include Clean Cities, EERE Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO), the 21st Century Truck Partnership (21CTP), and the Coordinating Research Council, as well as the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy and the Office of Basic Energy Sciences.

The various vehicle technical teams focus on advanced combustion and emission control, electrochemical energy storage, electrical/electronics, fuel cells, and materials, in addition to vehicle systems and analysis (see Figure 2-1). The three fuel technical teams address fuel pathway integration, hydrogen production, and hydrogen delivery. There are two joint vehicle-fuel technical teams connecting the fuel teams and the vehicle teams regarding hydrogen: the onboard hydrogen storage team and a hydrogen codes and standards team. Utility interface issues are handled by the grid interaction technical team. Finally, there are two crosscutting

Suggested Citation:"2 Management, Strategy, and Priority Setting." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Review of the Research Program of the U.S. DRIVE Partnership: Fifth Report. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24717.
×

working groups, which are less formal than technical teams, have no roadmap or specific technical targets, but exist to offer structure to technical experts to convene and discuss particular topics of interest. The fuels working group is currently focused on low-carbon combustion fuels, and the new C2G working group is discussed in more detail later.

Within the DOE, primary responsibility for the U.S. DRIVE Partnership rests with the EERE. The two main program offices within EERE that manage the Partnership are the Vehicle Technologies Office (VTO) and the Fuel Cell Technologies Office (FCTO) (see Appendix B for an EERE organization chart). The focus of the VTO is on advanced technologies for clean, high-efficiency vehicles. Included in its portfolio are advanced combustion engine R&D, batteries and electric drive, vehicle systems, materials technology, fuels and lubricants, and outreach and analysis. In addition to R&D for light-duty vehicle technologies, the VTO also works with technologies applicable to medium- and heavy-duty vehicles through the 21CTP. There is considerable overlap between those elements of the VTO portfolio that relate to U.S. DRIVE and those that relate to 21CTP.

The mission of the FCTO is “to enable the widespread commercialization of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies, which will reduce petroleum use, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and criteria air pollutants, and will contribute to a more diverse energy supply and more efficient use of energy” (Satyapal, 2016). The FCTO funds R&D activities on fuel cells, hydrogen fuel, manufacturing and distribution, and technology validation.

The U.S. DRIVE Partnership focuses on communication between the original equipment manufacturers and both the VTO and the FCTO at DOE, and the DOE laboratories with the principal objectives to do the following:

  • Accelerate progress, discuss precompetitive issues among peers in the technical community, address technology-specific R&D needs, identify possible solutions, and evaluate progress toward jointly developed goals;
  • Minimize duplication of efforts between government and industry;
  • Ensure industry communicates its needs via the DOE R&D target setting process; and
  • Remain focused on high-risk barriers to technology commercialization.

Some activities that are not part of U.S. DRIVE but that are related to the FCTO focus are not within the FCTO or even EERE. The Office of Fossil Energy has supported the development of technologies to produce hydrogen from coal and to capture and sequester carbon dioxide. The Office of Nuclear Energy has in previous years supported research into the potential use of high-temperature nuclear reactors to produce hydrogen, while BES supports fundamental work on new materials for storing hydrogen, catalysts, fundamental biological or molecular processes for hydrogen production, fuel cell membranes, and other related basic science areas (DOE, 2004a,b).

Suggested Citation:"2 Management, Strategy, and Priority Setting." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Review of the Research Program of the U.S. DRIVE Partnership: Fifth Report. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24717.
×

Within the EERE there is also BETO, which is not part of the U.S. DRIVE Partnership. However, biomass is of interest to the Partnership, as one possible source both of hydrogen as well as of biomass-based liquid transportation fuels (e.g., ethanol or gasoline or diesel derived from biomass) and as part of a strategy to diversify energy sources for the transportation sector; thus there is cooperation between the Partnership and the BETO. The committee believes, as discussed in this report and as mentioned in the Phase 4 report (NRC, 2013), that improving internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles using biomass-based fuels is an important part of the portfolio of vehicle technologies that needs to be addressed.

And now, the increased emphasis on vehicle electrification suggests that understanding the interface between electric vehicle technology and the electric utility sector is of even greater importance. This heightened need is reflected in such recent DOE initiatives as the Grid Modernization Initiative and the EV-Everywhere Grand Challenge, which reside in EERE, within the Office of the Under Secretary of Energy.

VEHICLE AND FUEL PORTFOLIOS

A long-term goal of the Obama administration’s Climate Action Plan and of the DOE’s EERE was to “cut the Nation’s greenhouse gas emissions by 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020, 26-28 percent by 2025 and 83 percent by 2050” (Sarkar, 2016). This includes all sectors of the economy, but to achieve such a goal will require that light-duty vehicles achieve significant reductions in petroleum use and corresponding GHG emissions. Prior goals directly related to the technologies of interest to the Partnership included these: “Invest in developing electric vehicles technologies enabling one million electric drive vehicles on the road by 2015” and “reduce oil imports by 1/3 by 2025” (DOE, 2012), revised in February 2016 to “reduce net oil imports by half by 2020 from a 2008 baseline” (Sarkar, 2016). Another EERE goal, although not directly related to technologies under development by the U.S. DRIVE partners, is to “generate 80 percent of the Nation’s electricity from a diverse set of clean energy sources by 2035” (Sarkar, 2016). If a large-scale penetration of battery electric vehicles (BEVs) or plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) takes place, then the goal of reducing GHGs significantly by 2050 will require an electricity production system that reduces such emissions significantly compared to the current U.S. electric power system.

As noted in the Phase 4 report, the main technology pathway options for reducing petroleum use and GHG emissions from light-duty vehicles are the following (NRC, 2013):

  • Reduce Vehicle Fuel Consumption: Improve the fuel economy of light-duty vehicles through improved technologies, hybridization, lightweighting, and other vehicle design approaches in order to reduce both the amount of petroleum used per mile of travel and the associated GHG emissions.
Suggested Citation:"2 Management, Strategy, and Priority Setting." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Review of the Research Program of the U.S. DRIVE Partnership: Fifth Report. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24717.
×
  • Use Non-Petroleum-Based Liquid Fuels in Internal Combustion Engines (ICEs): Use alternatives to petroleum-derived gasoline and diesel fuels in ICE-powered vehicles. Such fuels could include various alcohols (such as ethanol, methanol, or butanol) derived either from such nonpetroleum feedstocks as coal, natural gas, biomass, or garbage, or “synthetic” gasoline or diesel fuel derived from these feedstocks. The particular feedstocks and technologies used for the fuel production will determine the extent to which GHG emissions are reduced throughout the full fuel cycle.
  • Use Natural Gas in ICEs: Use natural gas in ICE-powered vehicles. This reduces GHGs as compared to those from petroleum-based fuels, but the reduction in GHGs achieved will be less than for fuels that could be derived from non-carbon-based feedstocks or carbon-neutral biomass.
  • Use Hydrogen in ICEs or Fuel Cells: Hydrogen can be used in either an ICE or a fuel cell. Much of the work by DOE in the Partnership has focused on developing better fuel cells and technologies for hydrogen production. If hydrogen is produced with low GHG emissions, the full fuel cycle can have a low GHG footprint.
  • Use Electricity in BEVs or PHEVs: A BEV would use no other energy source on board the vehicle except for electricity from a battery, and a PHEV would travel some distance on electricity but would also have an ICE that would use fuel. Both types of vehicle would obtain the electricity from the electric power system, and their GHG emissions would depend on the extent to which the electric power grid is decarbonized, the number of miles that the vehicles could travel on electricity alone, the feedstock used for the production of the fuel used in the ICE on the PHEV, and the overall design of the vehicle for energy-efficient operation.

THE ROLE OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT

As noted in the recent NRC (2015) report on a review of the 21CTP and also the prior NRC report on U.S. DRIVE (NRC, 2013), the role of the federal government in R&D varies depending on the administration and the Congress and the issues that they deem important for the nation to address. An extensive economics literature on the subject points to the importance of R&D to promote technical innovation, especially for research for which the private sector finds it difficult to capture the returns on its investment; this is especially true for basic research, the results of which can be broadly used. Such innovation, if successful, can foster economic growth and productivity, with improvements in the standard of living (Bernanke, 2011). Furthermore, in the energy area, the government generally has to confront issues of national security, environmental quality, or energy affordability. Many of these issues are addressed through policy initiatives or regulations, which place a burden on private firms to achieve. Thus, there is a role for the federal government in supporting R&D, not only to help the private

Suggested Citation:"2 Management, Strategy, and Priority Setting." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Review of the Research Program of the U.S. DRIVE Partnership: Fifth Report. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24717.
×

sector achieve these policy goals but also to help U.S. firms remain competitive in the face of international competition.

The committee believes that the federal government plays an important role in the development of technologies that can help to address government policies and regulations aimed at reducing emissions and fuel consumption from light-duty vehicles. Such efforts as the U.S. DRIVE Partnership and the 21CTP are examples of public-private efforts to support R&D and to develop advanced technologies for vehicles. As noted by the NRC (2013), public-private partnerships generally include a variety of efforts (fundamental research, development, demonstration, and in some cases deployment). The federal government is well equipped to support fundamental and applied research and technology development through the national laboratories and universities, while industry can focus on product development and deployment. The importance of having government–industry collaboration is that the private sector can help to transform improvements from research into cost-effective and marketable products. Generally, the government contracting that is engaged in with the private sector is cost shared, and those research contracts more closely associated with fundamental or basic research will have a majority of federal funding, whereas contracts with a strong development or product component will have significant support from the private sector. Both U.S. DRIVE and 21CTP fall under the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which requires a minimum 20 percent cost share for R&D projects and a minimum 50 percent cost share for demonstration and commercial application projects. In its recommendations in each of the technical areas, the committee has considered what activities are precompetitive and are most appropriate for U.S. DRIVE and federal government support. Implicit in all of the recommendations that relate to the support of additional research, the committee believes that the federal government has a role in R&D.

TARGET SETTING PROCESS

Prior reviews of the U.S. DRIVE Partnership have been critical of both the target setting process and the decision-making process, due to the lack of an overall total vehicle systems analysis approach. The Partnership has taken steps to improve both these processes. In 2015 the Partnership established a target setting task force (TSTF), which operates in concert with the VSATT and the new C2G analytical working group. This task force established a four-step process for setting research targets. First, technical team inputs are used to define a virtual vehicle, using Autonomie software (developed by Argonne National Laboratory) for three different vehicle segments. Then a comparative cost metric is used to identify values of research target metrics that enable cost and performance parity at the vehicle level. Given this analytical context, teams can set or adjust targets as desired. This work is all performed by consensus.

Suggested Citation:"2 Management, Strategy, and Priority Setting." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Review of the Research Program of the U.S. DRIVE Partnership: Fifth Report. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24717.
×

The current research targets, all by 2020, are as follows:

  • Electric vehicle full battery pack at a cost of $125 per kilowatt hour;
  • Electric traction drive system at a cost of $8 per kilowatt;
  • Automotive fuel cell system at a cost of $40 per kilowatt;
  • Onboard hydrogen storage system at a cost of $10 per kilowatt hour;
  • 20 percent improvement in engine efficiency, compared to 2010 baseline;
  • 18 percent glider2 mass reduction, relative to comparable 2012 vehicles, at a cost of $5 per pound saved; and
  • Hydrogen fuel-related target that is DOE target of $2 to $4 per gallon gasoline equivalent.

During the committee’s study in 2016, these targets were under review with the JOG and ultimately with the ESG and are expected to be updated. Furthermore, the teams are working to extend the target horizon to 2025, reflecting both future technology potential and in particular the recent volatility in oil prices.

The committee applauds the creation of the C2G working group and the TSTF, as well as the adoption of a more robust target setting process based on total system analysis.

Prior reviews have found that systems analysis has been applied very effectively at the subsystem or micro level, but that overall total systems analysis guiding high-level Partnership direction was lacking. These recent changes in approach appear to address these criticisms and are most welcome.

PARTNERSHIP DECISION MAKING

The Partnership has steadily evolved from PNGV, which had an explicit budget and portfolio, a robust go/no-go decision-making process with downselects, and specific hardware deliverables, through the FreedomCAR and Fuel Partnership to U.S. DRIVE, which has none of these.

Consequently, successive NRC review committees have struggled with the topic of decision making within the Partnership. This results from a number of factors, including the following:

  • The ESG met rarely in the past, and even now meets only annually.
  • The Partnership itself has no budget.
  • It is not completely clear which projects actually reside within, or are associated with, the Partnership.
  • The Partnership does not advise the federal government.

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2 The glider is the vehicle structure excluding the power train. Historically, weight reductions are easier to achieve in that part of the vehicle.

Suggested Citation:"2 Management, Strategy, and Priority Setting." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Review of the Research Program of the U.S. DRIVE Partnership: Fifth Report. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24717.
×
  • The Partnership Plan states that each U.S. DRIVE partner makes its own decisions regarding its own funding of projects and programs according to its own internal policies.
  • Similarly, each partner directs and manages its own projects and programs according to its own requirements.
  • DOE has multiple inputs to its project portfolios, of which U.S. DRIVE is only one of many. See Figure 2-2.
  • Each industry partner is at a different stage in development of relevant technologies.

In an effort to reconcile this ambiguity, the committee sought guidance from the Partnership, which provided the following clarifications.

The Partnership describes its activity as technical information exchange: the technical teams develop technology roadmaps that include Partnership research targets as well as a host of cascading targets and other requirements. These are all developed by team consensus. DOE relies on the U.S. DRIVE roadmaps and targets for guiding its research strategy and setting requirements for its R&D projects selected through open and competitive funding opportunities as well as its direct-funded national laboratory work. Roadmaps align with key DOE documents, including multiyear program plans and the EERE strategic plan.

In response to a committee request for a list of projects considered part of U.S. DRIVE, DOE provided a list of DOE projects that are associated with meeting U.S. DRIVE goals. However, this list contains many projects also listed as part of, for example, 21CTP, and are not exclusive to U.S. DRIVE. They appear to be, in fact, almost all of the projects handled by EERE that relate in some way to U.S. DRIVE and, as noted earlier, reflect input and guidance from U.S. DRIVE, but they are not directed or managed by the U.S. DRIVE. Conversely, in the Partnership response to the NRC Phase 4 Recommendation 3-17, and in the MTT presentation to this committee on June 22, 2016, some 13 and 12 (respectively) EERE carbon fiber projects were listed, whereas the project list submitted by DOE shows only two. The primary mechanism for assessing these EERE projects is the DOE Annual Merit Review (AMR) and not U.S. DRIVE, although of course many members of the U.S. DRIVE technical teams participate in the AMR.

The precise nature of decision making within the Partnership is apparently occasionally confusing to the partners themselves: for example, several presentations to the committee referenced go/no-go decisions, as does DOE’s statement of task to the committee, but the DOE has stressed that the Partnership does not make go/no-go decisions.

Overall, as noted earlier and detailed in the technical sections of this report, the Partnership has an increasingly robust consensus process for developing goals and targets, and for providing guidance and input to DOE to help and inform the management of relevant DOE projects, and this process benefits greatly from the recent addition of overall strategic analysis. However, the supervision of those

Suggested Citation:"2 Management, Strategy, and Priority Setting." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Review of the Research Program of the U.S. DRIVE Partnership: Fifth Report. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24717.
×
Suggested Citation:"2 Management, Strategy, and Priority Setting." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Review of the Research Program of the U.S. DRIVE Partnership: Fifth Report. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24717.
×

projects and the decisions made within them are a DOE EERE responsibility and not that of the Partnership.

The Partnership points to the type of decisions that are made by the Partnership as being, for example, focused within the portfolio, such as a decision (by the ESG) to emphasize work on low-carbon fuels.

Given these limitations on the scope of decision making within the Partnership, particularly limitations due to the Federal Advisory Committee Act, the committee feels that the processes applied within the technical teams are appropriate and that the Partnership has successfully fulfilled its mandate for technical information exchange.

RESPONSE TO NRC PHASE 4 RECOMMENDATIONS

The NRC Phase 4 report made four recommendations relating to program management and decision making: Recommendations 2-1 (also S-2), 2-2, 2-3, and 5-1 (also S-1). Those recommendations are reproduced here, together with the Partnership response and this committee’s assessment of the response.

NRC Phase 4 Recommendation S-2 and 2-1. The U.S. DRIVE Partnership should adopt an explicitly portfolio-based R&D strategy to help DOE to balance the investment among alternative pathways along with the more traditional reviews of the progress of individual pathways. Furthermore, this portfolio-based strategy should be based on overall systems analysis performed by a proactive vehicle systems and analysis technical team and fuel pathway integration technical team.

Partnership Response. The Partnership supports a portfolio-based strategy and has developed an analysis-based mechanism for evaluating the potential benefits of technology pathways across its portfolio. Following a recommendation from the NRC’s Phase 3 report and approval from the U.S. DRIVE Executive Steering Group, the Partnership established a cross-cutting cradle-to-grave analysis working group. The working group is tasked with examining the total energy use and greenhouse gas emissions of different pathways, including both fuel and vehicle manufacturing (including recycling) cycles to enable a comprehensive understanding of technology options within the U.S. DRIVE portfolio. The analysis includes pathways not currently included in the Partnership portfolio as well, such as various biofuel pathways and natural gas. The working group draws expertise from the fuel pathway integration and vehicle systems analysis technical teams, as well as additional analytical expertise from outside of those teams, and presented its work to the U.S. DRIVE Executive Steering Group in October 2012 and June 2013 for guidance on a path forward to help inform decision-making.

Committee Assessment of Response S-2 and 2-1. The committee feels that this response, and the corresponding actions taken by the Partnership, particularly the formation of the C2G working group, are fully responsive to the prior recommendation. The initial work by C2G on different vehicle-fuel pathways, published by Argonne National Laboratory and presented to the committee on June 22, 2016, is most impressive (this is discussed further in Chapter 3). It is important that this work and follow-on activity by the three analysis groups (C2G, VSATT, and the fuel pathway integration technical team) be used to shape the overall DOE

Suggested Citation:"2 Management, Strategy, and Priority Setting." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Review of the Research Program of the U.S. DRIVE Partnership: Fifth Report. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24717.
×

EERE portfolio. This includes transitioning the C2G working group to a “permanent integrated systems analysis technical team,” a proposal under discussion by Partnership leadership in August 2016.

NRC Phase 4 Recommendation 2-2. The Executive Steering Group (ESG) should meet regularly and provide the necessary guidance and leadership in developing strategy and programs to meet goals for the reduction of greenhouse gases and petroleum dependence. Furthermore, the ESG should insist that all analyses conducted by and for the U.S. DRIVE Partnership reflect the system-wide full lifecycle.

Partnership Response. The Partnership agrees with this recommendation. The ESG maintains responsibility for high-level technical and management priorities as well as Partnership policy decisions. This duty can be accomplished only if ESG members are engaged and provide the necessary guidance and leadership for developing strategies and programs to meet Partnership goals. Although there was a period of time in which the ESG did not meet, since the formation of U.S. DRIVE in May 2011, the ESG has met three times and planning has begun for the next meeting in early 2014. It is also important to note that ESG members remain engaged in Partnership activities throughout the year through their staff on the Joint Operations Group (JOG) and technical teams, each of which meet monthly.

Committee Assessment of Response 2-2. While the increased engagement by the ESG is welcomed by the committee, annual meetings are barely adequate to provide the desired level of overall guidance and focus and meetings at least quarterly would seem more appropriate.

NRC Phase 4 Recommendation 2-3. The U.S. DRIVE Partnership should continue its inclusion of innovative supply-chain companies and should expand this approach to emerging entrepreneurial companies with relevant technological capabilities. When new, entrepreneurial ventures are being considered for associate membership, the committee recommends a systematic vetting process much like the “due diligence” process of venture-capital investors.

Partnership Response. The Partnership agrees with the recommendation, as it aligns with the intent of its “associate membership” concept. The selection process for associate members is described in the U.S. DRIVE Tech Team Guidebook as well as U.S. DRIVE Partnership Plan. Associate members can be any entity that a U.S. DRIVE technical team believes will bring sufficient expertise, capability, and contribution to the team’s efforts. Decisions are made at the team level, by consensus among the participating U.S. DRIVE partners on the team, and with consideration of the following factors:

  • Availability to participate in meetings and contribute to the team’s work for a three-year term (or length of term as determined by the team).
  • Technical capability and personal experience in the field, including (but not limited to) years of experience, management of relevant programs, publications and patents, record of bringing innovations to market, etc.
  • Ability to work well in a group environment—including the ability to contribute to group discussion as well as the ability to engage in healthy dialogue and still get along well with others.

The Partnership also recognizes the importance of evaluating potential conflict of interest issues, and associate membership parameters such as term-limited participation allow teams to engage a number of organizations over time and as dictated by their needs. Each partner may also have its own internal vetting process that informs the team’s consensus decision.

Suggested Citation:"2 Management, Strategy, and Priority Setting." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Review of the Research Program of the U.S. DRIVE Partnership: Fifth Report. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24717.
×

Committee Assessment of Response 2-3. The committee appreciates the Associate Member outreach and the rules under which the U.S. DRIVE teams and working groups engage supply chain partners. The committee thinks, however, that this approach will present a cultural and economic challenge to early stage companies: those funded under the DOE Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program, for example. More university researchers with appropriate expertise might be considered as Associate Members of the technical teams.

These challenges arise from a mismatch in objectives. The U.S. DRIVE Partnership Plan of April 2016 states that the objective of Associate Membership is to provide the current partners with “additional experts with diverse perspectives, including technical knowledge uniquely relevant to a specific technical area.” In contrast, early stage companies chiefly seek market opportunities and capital investment. To the extent that these are not offered within the Partnership, its attractiveness to early stage companies will diminish.

This means that Partnership meetings must include a reasonably foreseeable opportunity for entrepreneurs to advance their ventures (no guarantees needed). For example, the U.S. DRIVE partners might consider hosting an invitation-only venture forum for selected SBIR companies. The committee notes that the U.S. Council for Automotive Research has some successful experience with these.

NRC Phase 4 Recommendation S-1 and 5-1. The Executive Steering Group should be engaged to set targets for the U.S. DRIVE Partnership that are consistent with the objectives of reduced petroleum consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, and U.S. DRIVE should conduct an overall review of the Partnership portfolio, both for the adequacy of the R&D effort to achieve the targets and for focus on the mission of supporting longer-term, higher-risk precompetitive activities in all three potential primary pathways.

Partnership Response. As part of its responsibility for high-level technical and management priorities, the Executive Steering Group maintains approval authority over Partnership targets for the U.S. DRIVE technology portfolio. Following an intensive, analysis-based process, the ESG approved new U.S. DRIVE Partnership targets that were included with the U.S. DRIVE Partnership Plan in March 2013. These targets align with U.S. DRIVE goals for the technology areas in its portfolio, each of which contributes to petroleum and greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reductions in the transportation sector. Technical team roadmaps include multiple cascading and other targets, as well as requirements for each technology area, which align with the high-level Partnership targets and goals in the Partnership Plan.

Each technical team conducts a portfolio review, and individual project reviews at the technical team level provide the opportunity to examine and discuss progress toward (and challenges to) achieving Partnership and technical targets. Teams regularly report results to the Partnership’s Joint Operations Group (JOG) members. In addition, the Partnership’s cradle-to-grave (C2G) activity is studying the petroleum and greenhouse gas reduction potential of pathways. It regularly reports the status and results of its activity to the JOG and has updated the ESG at its meetings in October 2012 and June 2013. The group plans to publish this work on the DOE web site.

Committee Assessment of Response S-1 and 5-1. These actions, particularly the creation and deployment of the C2G working group and the new target setting approach, are fully responsive to the recommendations, with the earlier caveats

Suggested Citation:"2 Management, Strategy, and Priority Setting." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Review of the Research Program of the U.S. DRIVE Partnership: Fifth Report. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24717.
×

regarding timely engagement by the ESG and the transition of C2G to a permanent technical team.

FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

Finding 2-1. The committee finds that the response to prior recommendations regarding management of the Partnership, particularly the creation of the target setting task force and the cradle-to-grave (C2G) working group, and the adoption of a portfolio-based strategy are welcome improvements, and the Partnership is well managed. However, the increased engagement by the Executive Steering Group has improved from unacceptable to barely adequate. Furthermore, the Partnership currently regards the C2G working group as only a “temporary, task-specific” group.

Recommendation 2-1. Now that there is a more robust target setting task force and cradle-to-grave working group, the Executive Steering Group should meet more regularly than annually (perhaps at least quarterly) and participate directly in the portfolio analysis and target setting process for revised 2020 and new 2025 goals. Furthermore, the recently published cradle-to-grave study on vehicle-fuel pathways and follow-on work by the target setting task force and cradle-to-grave working group should be used proactively and specifically to help shape the overall Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy portfolio, and the cradle-to-grave working group should be transitioned from temporary to permanent status.

Finding 2-2. Given the reality that the Partnership does not direct or manage DOE-funded programs, overlaps with other DOE programs, and has no budget, there remains considerable ambiguity over the precise scope of the Partnership and its relationship with other DOE activities.

Recommendation 2-2. The Partnership is urged to provide more transparency and clarity regarding those Department of Energy projects deemed wholly or partly within the U.S. DRIVE portfolio and the achievements truly attributable to the Partnership.

REFERENCES

Bernanke, B.S. 2011. Promoting research and development: The government’s role. Issues in Science and Technology 27(4). http://www.Issues.org/27.4/bernanke.html.

Cooper, C. 2016a. Inputs to DOE Programs. E-mail communication to the committee (pers. comm.), March 4.

Cooper, C. 2016b. “U.S. DRIVE Overview Presentation.” Presentation to the Committee on the Review of the Research Program of the U.S. DRIVE Partnership, Phase 5, Washington, D.C., February 3.

Suggested Citation:"2 Management, Strategy, and Priority Setting." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Review of the Research Program of the U.S. DRIVE Partnership: Fifth Report. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24717.
×

DOE (U.S. Department of Energy). 2004a. Basic Research Needs for the Hydrogen Economy: Report of the Basic Energy Sciences Workshop on Hydrogen Production, Storage, and Use, May 13-15, 2003. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Science. http://science.energy.gov/~/media/bes/pdf/reports/files/Basic_Research_Needs_for_the_Hydrogen_Economy_rpt.pdf.

DOE. 2004b. Hydrogen Posture Plan: An Integrated Research, Development and Demonstration Plan. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Energy. http://www.4uth.gov.ua/usa/english/tech/energy/hplan.pdf.

DOE. 2012. Department of Energy FY2013 Congressional Budget Request. Vol. 3. February. DOE/CF-0073. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Energy, Office of the Chief Financial Officer.

NRC (National Research Council). 2013. Review of the Research Program of the U.S. DRIVE Partnership, Fourth Report. Washington, D.C.: The National Academies Press.

NRC. 2015. Review of the 21st Century Truck Partnership, Third Report. Washington, D.C.: The National Academies Press.

Sarkar, R. 2016. “EERE Sustainable Transportation Overview.” Presentation to the Committee on the Review of the Research Program of the U.S. DRIVE Partnership, Phase 5, Washington, D.C., February 3.

Satyapal, S. 2016. “Overview of the Fuel Cell Technologies Office.” Presentation to the Committee on the Review of the Research Program of the U.S. DRIVE Partnership, Phase 5, Washington, D.C., February 3.

Suggested Citation:"2 Management, Strategy, and Priority Setting." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Review of the Research Program of the U.S. DRIVE Partnership: Fifth Report. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24717.
×
Page 33
Suggested Citation:"2 Management, Strategy, and Priority Setting." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Review of the Research Program of the U.S. DRIVE Partnership: Fifth Report. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24717.
×
Page 34
Suggested Citation:"2 Management, Strategy, and Priority Setting." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Review of the Research Program of the U.S. DRIVE Partnership: Fifth Report. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24717.
×
Page 35
Suggested Citation:"2 Management, Strategy, and Priority Setting." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Review of the Research Program of the U.S. DRIVE Partnership: Fifth Report. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24717.
×
Page 36
Suggested Citation:"2 Management, Strategy, and Priority Setting." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Review of the Research Program of the U.S. DRIVE Partnership: Fifth Report. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24717.
×
Page 37
Suggested Citation:"2 Management, Strategy, and Priority Setting." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Review of the Research Program of the U.S. DRIVE Partnership: Fifth Report. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24717.
×
Page 38
Suggested Citation:"2 Management, Strategy, and Priority Setting." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Review of the Research Program of the U.S. DRIVE Partnership: Fifth Report. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24717.
×
Page 39
Suggested Citation:"2 Management, Strategy, and Priority Setting." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Review of the Research Program of the U.S. DRIVE Partnership: Fifth Report. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24717.
×
Page 40
Suggested Citation:"2 Management, Strategy, and Priority Setting." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Review of the Research Program of the U.S. DRIVE Partnership: Fifth Report. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24717.
×
Page 41
Suggested Citation:"2 Management, Strategy, and Priority Setting." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Review of the Research Program of the U.S. DRIVE Partnership: Fifth Report. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24717.
×
Page 42
Suggested Citation:"2 Management, Strategy, and Priority Setting." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Review of the Research Program of the U.S. DRIVE Partnership: Fifth Report. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24717.
×
Page 43
Suggested Citation:"2 Management, Strategy, and Priority Setting." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Review of the Research Program of the U.S. DRIVE Partnership: Fifth Report. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24717.
×
Page 44
Suggested Citation:"2 Management, Strategy, and Priority Setting." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Review of the Research Program of the U.S. DRIVE Partnership: Fifth Report. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24717.
×
Page 45
Suggested Citation:"2 Management, Strategy, and Priority Setting." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Review of the Research Program of the U.S. DRIVE Partnership: Fifth Report. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24717.
×
Page 46
Suggested Citation:"2 Management, Strategy, and Priority Setting." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Review of the Research Program of the U.S. DRIVE Partnership: Fifth Report. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24717.
×
Page 47
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Review of the Research Program of the U.S. DRIVE Partnership: Fifth Report follows on four previous reviews of the FreedomCAR and Fuel Partnership, which was the predecessor of the U.S. DRIVE Partnership. The U.S. DRIVE (Driving Research and Innovation for Vehicle Efficiency and Energy Sustainability) vision, according to the charter of the Partnership, is this: American consumers have a broad range of affordable personal transportation choices that reduce petroleum consumption and significantly reduce harmful emissions from the transportation sector. Its mission is as follows: accelerate the development of pre-competitive and innovative technologies to enable a full range of efficient and clean advanced light-duty vehicles (LDVs), as well as related energy infrastructure. The Partnership focuses on precompetitive research and development (R&D) that can help to accelerate the emergence of advanced technologies to be commercialization-feasible.

The guidance for the work of the U.S. DRIVE Partnership as well as the priority setting and targets for needed research are provided by joint industry/government technical teams. This structure has been demonstrated to be an effective means of identifying high-priority, long-term precompetitive research needs for each technology with which the Partnership is involved. Technical areas in which research and development as well as technology validation programs have been pursued include the following: internal combustion engines (ICEs) potentially operating on conventional and various alternative fuels, automotive fuel cell power systems, hydrogen storage systems (especially onboard vehicles), batteries and other forms of electrochemical energy storage, electric propulsion systems, hydrogen production and delivery, and materials leading to vehicle weight reductions.

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