Appendix D
Letters from PNGV and the U.S. Department of Transportation Regarding Phase 2 Report

 

 

Mr. Trevor Jones

Chairman of the National Research Council Advisory Group on the Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles

National Research Council

2101 Constitution Avenue, NW - Room HA-270 Washington, DC 20418

Dear Mr. Jones:

I have reviewed the second report of the National Research Council's (NRC) Standing Committee to Review the Research Program of the Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles (PNGV) and concur with the report's recommendations.

In particular, the U.S. Department of Transportation (US DOT) supports the Committee's recommendation that "The PNGV should immediately involve the DOT's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in identifying, addressing, and resolving the safety issues raised by Goal 3 vehicles."

The Department has been committed to providing technical support to the PNGV initiative and holds to that position. Within the Department, NHTSA has been designated as the focal point for PNGV. In fiscal year 1996, NHTSA requested $5 million to support PNGV. Funding was requested to develop advanced computer models and to obtain the computing capacity necessary to evaluate the crashworthiness characteristics of alternate vehicle designs and new lightweight materials such as advanced composites proposed for use in the PNGV program. These evaluations would ensure that the PNGV vehicles meet existing and anticipated safety standards, and that the overall safety of the future vehicle fleet is not compromised. It was also proposed that NHTSA assess the specific requirements and costs associated with developing the physical infrastructure to support these new vehicles—including vehicle and component manufacturing repair and refueling. And finally, DOT proposed a National Research Council Peer Review study of the conceptual designs developed by the program. It was planned that NHTSA, with technical support from the US DOT Volpe National Transportation Systems Center, would also create a comprehensive knowledge base and conduct analyses of the impact of this new vehicle on the U.S. economy, transportation system, and motor vehicle industry.



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Review of the Research Program of the Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles: Third Report Appendix D Letters from PNGV and the U.S. Department of Transportation Regarding Phase 2 Report     Mr. Trevor Jones Chairman of the National Research Council Advisory Group on the Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles National Research Council 2101 Constitution Avenue, NW - Room HA-270 Washington, DC 20418 Dear Mr. Jones: I have reviewed the second report of the National Research Council's (NRC) Standing Committee to Review the Research Program of the Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles (PNGV) and concur with the report's recommendations. In particular, the U.S. Department of Transportation (US DOT) supports the Committee's recommendation that "The PNGV should immediately involve the DOT's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in identifying, addressing, and resolving the safety issues raised by Goal 3 vehicles." The Department has been committed to providing technical support to the PNGV initiative and holds to that position. Within the Department, NHTSA has been designated as the focal point for PNGV. In fiscal year 1996, NHTSA requested $5 million to support PNGV. Funding was requested to develop advanced computer models and to obtain the computing capacity necessary to evaluate the crashworthiness characteristics of alternate vehicle designs and new lightweight materials such as advanced composites proposed for use in the PNGV program. These evaluations would ensure that the PNGV vehicles meet existing and anticipated safety standards, and that the overall safety of the future vehicle fleet is not compromised. It was also proposed that NHTSA assess the specific requirements and costs associated with developing the physical infrastructure to support these new vehicles—including vehicle and component manufacturing repair and refueling. And finally, DOT proposed a National Research Council Peer Review study of the conceptual designs developed by the program. It was planned that NHTSA, with technical support from the US DOT Volpe National Transportation Systems Center, would also create a comprehensive knowledge base and conduct analyses of the impact of this new vehicle on the U.S. economy, transportation system, and motor vehicle industry.

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Review of the Research Program of the Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles: Third Report Despite a strong effort on the part of the Department to secure funding for these initiatives in fiscal year 1996, Congress specifically denied this request on the basis that it was premature at this stage in the PNGV effort. In fiscal year 1997, however, NHTSA is again requesting $5 million for PNGV. I am hopeful that your group's recognition of the need for NHTSA involvement will help us convince the Congress to provide The research proposed in the fiscal year 1997 budget ensures that the PNGV-developed vehicles will meet existing and anticipated safety standards and that the overall crash and other safety attributes are not compromised by their light weight or the use of new advanced materials. If funded, NHTSA plans to develop advanced computer models to evaluate the crashworthiness of conceptual designs; conduct research in the area of advanced composites; provide the required PNGV infrastructure analysis; and provide a peer review of conceptual designs. We are aware of the PNGV timetable, and recognize that analytical capability is needed before January 1998 for sufficient confidence in the safety of specific PNGV technologies to move forward with concept vehicles and production prototypes on schedule. The US DOT's key fiscal year 1997 milestone will be to develop the analytical capability required to support the PNGV program. Please contact me if you would like to discuss the Department's commitment and most recent efforts to support the Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicle program. Sincerely, Mortimer L. Downey

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Review of the Research Program of the Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles: Third Report JUN 18 1996 Mr. Trevor O. Jones Chairman Standing Committee to Review the Research Program of the Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles National Research Council 2101 Constitution Avenue, NW Washington, D.C. 20413 Dear Mr. Jones: Both the government and industry members of the Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles (PNGV) have reviewed your second report on our research program. We were pleased by the general tone of the findings. The Committee's confirmation of our overall program strategy and the scope of our technical work is appreciated. In particular we are reassured by your belief that the technologies being pursued are relevant and appropriate to the Partnership's objectives. The Committee's recognition that our technical teams are organized effectively and are working well is also gratifying. We certainly agree the PNGV has a significant challenge to meet in a relatively short time frame. Our goals were purposely set high to accelerate the advance of automobile technology. The NRC report contained a number of important findings and recommendations. The partnership has studied these carefully and believe all provided helpful perspectives. Our intent is to respond to most of the major recommendations and enter into a more detailed dialogue during the next review. There are some peripheral aspects that we have only begun to explore for which the Committee's recognition and guidance are appreciated. These include the need for global technology benchmarking and the importance of anticipating the impact of new PNGV technologies on the automobile industries'—and even the nations'—infrastructure. With regard to the recommendation that research funding be focused on the most promising technologies, we can report that some steps have been taken on the government side to facilitate this. First, the Office of Management and Budget has assumed a stronger role in the allocation and tracking of PNGV-related projects. Additionally, industry representatives are participating more actively in budget planning with OMB and Congressional staffs. The actual shifting of resources will follow the technology selections process. This is expected to commence this summer and continue, as per the original schedule, through the end of 1997. We are developing procedures for this process and expect to review them with the Committee before they

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Review of the Research Program of the Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles: Third Report are implemented. An ability to redeploy funds will certainly be needed for this process to be most effective. Although there are numerous constraints imposed on the government with regard to handling funding, there now appears to be some mechanisms for shifting funding that offer promise. We will report our progress on this to you at the next review. Comments on other, more specific, committee recommendations are contained in the enclosure. The PNGV team greatfully acknowledges the willingness of the Peer Review panel to contribute their time and experience to the review of the PNGV program. We are pleased with the growing level of interaction between our organizations in both formal and informal sessions and believe that this process will advance our efforts measurably. The Peer Review Committee's recommendations are important guidance to us as we seek to achieve the very ambitious goals of the program. We look forward to the next interaction with you. Enclosure cy: Dr. J. Gibbons, Director, OSTP Operational Steering Group

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Review of the Research Program of the Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles: Third Report PNGV RESPONSE TO RECOMMENDATIONS BY THE NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL'S PEER REVIEW RECOMMENDATION: PNGV needs systems analysis tools to support 1997 technology selection. PNGV RESPONSE: Systems analysis is one of the important approaches to model vehicle and subsystems decision making. Each company has its own systems modeling team to guide technology decisions. In addition, there is an independent, effective analysis underway funded by the government. This analysis allows for the integration of the systems as a whole without having to overcome proprietary issues of each company. We have an effective analysis underway and will ensure that it continues; the government is committed to funding this effort on an ongoing basis. We are holding to our schedule and we have not changed our technical goals. The industry has always recognized the essential role of systems analysis in achieving vehicle and component development objectives as evidenced by a considerable and growing dedication of resources to modeling and computer analysis of vehicle designs. Discussions with the federal agencies involved in the systems analysis effort have reaffirmed that PNGV systems analysis will remain a priority. All of our plans described in Technical Roadmaps reflect its importance. As we described to the Committee, the OEM's have sophisticated proprietary modeling tools which have been used in support of the Hybrid Electric Vehicle development programs. Since the last Peer Review, the PNGV systems analysis activity has made substantial progress in developing a joint cross-calibrated vehicle modeling tool for trade studies. Existing component models have been acquired from the federal labs and industry and, where needed, component models have been created or modified using the OEM's proprietary modeling capabilities. Verification of vehicle models is planning for this Summer, with initial trade studies scheduled for this Fall. RECOMMENDATION: Assess and benchmark foreign technology developments; U.S. not in clear leadership position in developing critical technologies for PNGV-type vehicles. PNGV RESPONSE: We agree on the importance of assessing the bench marking foreign technology developments and will continue to benchmark domestic and foreign technologies whenever they may reside. There are pockets of technology around the world that may be ahead of the United States; there are pockets of technology where the U.S. is ahead. While no country or region has collected necessary integration capabilities to meet full vehicle development objectives, we believe we have a very powerful tool with PNGV to create a leadership position in the development of the critical technologies. The industry relies on established integral technology assessment processes as an important foundation to support our goals. This includes actively surveying the spectrum of technology developments both through our global supplier networks and through foreign subsidiaries.

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Review of the Research Program of the Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles: Third Report RECOMMENDATION: Three auto companies should have more integrated industry organization to better leverage strengths. PNGV RESPONSE: We believe we have a well integrated industry organization, as evidenced by 13 consortia and 10 technical teams, doing pre-competitive work. We appreciate the spirit of the Peer Review comments and will continue to seek means to improve industry's management process. Diverse and sometimes proprietary efforts of the three partners and their numerous suppliers complicate the management challenge RECOMMENDATION: Industry should appoint single technical director PNGV RESPONSE: The industry believes that appointment of the technical teams, using similar operating techniques and working in parallel with established USCAR consortia, has proven to be an effective and workable mechanism to balance the program's complex and proprietary issues and represents the best opportunity for success within our timeframe. We are collaborating in a pre-competitive environment to understand fundamental automobile technologies but we are competitive when it comes to bring vehicles to market. Given the nature of our relationship and the results of working together to develop the broad spectrum of technologies, appointing a single technical director would only serve to add another layer of bureaucracy and inevitably slow our progress. RECOMMENDATION: The federal government should establish a Chief Technical Officer. PNGV RESPONSE: Since the Peer Review Committee met with PNGV official last year, the government has expanded its management team to include a Chief Financial Officer for PNGV. He resides in the Office of Management and Budget. This official will address the committee's concerns about the project's ability to focus funding in necessary technical areas. Also, a government Technical Council has been established to improve the oversight and support to the Technical Teams. This has been accomplished via an expansion of the previous Technical Oversight Principals and the establishment of a permanent chair for the council. RECOMMENDATION: Need more effort regarding infrastructure issues. PNGV RESPONSE: This is not part of the PNGV charter. However, the federal government through other programs, continues to analyze infrastructure issues and is trying to assure that those efforts align with PNGV progress. Argonne National Laboratory has recently released a report on these issues and will continue to do this analysis. A report to the Committee is planned. The importance of developing appropriate infrastructure programs necessary to support the technologies required by a breakthrough vehicle is recognized. At the inception of PNGV, lead responsibility for developing all infrastructure mechanisms was assigned in the Declaration of Intent to the government partner. This allocation of duties was necessary to allow the auto

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Review of the Research Program of the Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles: Third Report industry to pursue technologies that it was best suited to address, leaving the government to lead in the development, in parallel, of collaborations or associations with those industries most informed on infrastructure issues. The auto industry, meanwhile, will make every effort to keep all parties informed of developments that may have an impact on vehicle support systems. RECOMMENDATION: Need more involvement from DOT, NASA, EPA and DOD PNGV RESPONSE: All these agencies are fully committed to the success of this project and are participating to the extent that their budgets will allow. The principal difficulty with the involvement of DOT and NASA is a lack of funding appropriated by Congress. These agencies are committed to the PNGV goals, made budget requests to support these goals, and actively support PNGV to the extent their appropriated budget permit. However, their PNGV line items were deleted by Congress in the appropriations process. These agencies are continuing to discuss the importance of these issues with the appropriations committees. EPA is using a significant portion of its limited research budget to address technical issues related to PNGV and emissions, as well as other PNGV issues. Its regulatory responsibilities are, of course, dictated by the statutory requirements of the Clean Air Act, and EPA is carrying out those responsibilities. The joint industry-government parameters for the PNGV vehicles include a requirement that the vehicles meet Tier II Clear Air Act standards. DOD's research is in support of its military mission. DOD is nevertheless important to PNGV because, in several areas, its mission-oriented research is also directly relevant to PNGV goals. Light weight and fuel efficiency are important to military vehicles just as they are to the civilian passenger fleet. DOD research in these areas is available to the PNGV project. Examples of other overlapping areas of research include DARPA's hybrid vehicle projects and the Office of Naval Research's work on electric power systems. Industry, the Administration, and many members of Congress understand the need for this program. We will continue to educate lawmakers on the important of PNGV and the unique collaborative effort it represents to strengthen U.S. competitiveness, improve environmental quality, and provide greater energy security for our nation. RECOMMENDATION: The federal government portion of PNGV's R&D must be sufficiently funded. PNGV RESPONSE: PNGV is jointly funded by the federal government and the three major domestic auto makers. Government's proper role is to fund long-term, high risk basic research. The companies have a complementary role, but their R&D is more focused on work that is more likely to be commercially viable in the near term. The Administration believes that government support of long-term, high-risk R&D to assist in the development of fuel efficient vehicles is vital

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Review of the Research Program of the Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles: Third Report to reaching important economic and environmental public policy goals, particularly given the lack of near-term market pull for such vehicles. Maintenance of a government research budget adequate to support the realization of PNGV goals is a matter of the highest priority for the Administration. The budget as submitted consistently reflects this, and increases in PNGV spending, have been requested since the beginning of the program. The PNGV budget received the same level of priority within the Administration during the 1997 budget cycle. In addition, the government expanded its management team to include an OMB official appointed as Chief Financial Officer for PNGV. This official will ensure maximum value for the government's expenditures. During the last budget cycle there were strenuous efforts by some members of Congress not only to reduce spending generally, but specifically to reduce drastically the government's spending on long-range R&D. The Administration believes this is short-sighted, and ignores the historic value to the country of such spending, which traditionally has enjoyed bipartisan support. Notwithstanding such congressional efforts generally, the Administration and the industry worked closely with those members of Congress responsible for appropriations in the areas important to PNGV to explain the value of the requested expenditures. While we were unable to obtain the level of spending requested in all cases, expenditures on PNGV-related research were held relatively constant in a year in which the vast majority R&D spending was severely reduced. Government and industry are working together to get the maximum value from those expenditures and we are examining each agency's projects to assure maximum efficiency.