leum dependence—efforts such as biofuels and the shifting of some transportation energy to the electrical grid (through the development of PHEVs and BEVs), but it expressed concern about effectively abandoning the longer-term hydrogen and automotive fuel cell programs. Given the uncertainty of technical and market success of many of the technologies under development, the committee believes that longer-term hydrogen and automotive fuel cell programs should remain in a balanced R&D portfolio of different options and is an appropriate strategy for the Partnership to pursue.
Since the DOE budget request for little or no funding (which was subsequently mostly reinstated by Congress) for hydrogen and automotive fuel cell R&D came after most of the accomplishments between Phases 2 and 3 of this study, this report focuses primarily on those accomplishments and on significant remaining barriers. Indeed, PHEVs, BEVs, and biofuels were not included in the initial FreedomCAR and Fuel Partnership program, so there were few such activities to evaluate or compare between Phases 2 and 3. The accomplishments were made possible, for the most part, by funding from the DOE, matching contributions from the DOE contractors, and efforts by the light-duty-vehicle original equipment manufacturers (OEMs)—the automotive manufacturers and their suppliers. As had previously been true, considerable guidance for needed research was 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 while also addressing societal needs such as reducing petroleum dependence and greenhouse gas production. However, there are several very substantial barriers remaining that could inhibit positive fuel cell vehicle commercialization decisions by 2015.
Even though there had been considerable emphasis on hydrogen fuel and automotive fuel cells, there are a number of technical areas where R&D as well as technology validation programs have been pursued, including the following (see Chapter 3):
ICEs potentially operating on conventional and various alternative fuels,
Automotive and non-automotive fuel cell power systems,
Hydrogen storage (especially onboard vehicles) systems,
Electrochemical energy storage,
Electric propulsion systems,
Hydrogen production and delivery, and
Materials leading to vehicle weight reductions.
In each of these technology areas, there are specific research goals (targets) established by the Partnership for 2010 and 2015. Program oversight is provided by an Executive Steering Group consisting of the DOE Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) and a vice-presidential-level executive from each of the Partnership companies. The DOE EERE efforts are