Technology

Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles

The centerpiece of the current federal effort in advanced automotive R&D is PNGV, a joint initiative of the Clinton Administration together with the Big Three automakers, 74 announced in September 1993. PNGV is conceived as a joint government-industry R&D program aimed at the following three goals:

  • Reduce manufacturing production costs and product development times for all car and truck production.
  • Pursue near-term advances that increase fuel efficiency and reduce emissions of conventional vehicles.
  • Develop a manufactural prototype mid-size vehicle by 2004 that provides as much as three times the fuel efficiency of today’s comparable vehicle, without sacrificing safety, affordability, comfort, or convenience.

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In fiscal year (FY) 1995, program managers in the participating federal agencies estimated that the federal government spent about $270 million for R&D that is relevant to achieving these goals, 75 with a requested increase t. $386 million in FY 1996 (see table 1-4). 76 PNGV is actually a “virtual” program, in the sense that it coordinates and refocuses the various existing agency programs and resources toward the PNGV goals.

The effort involves numerous participants, including eight government agencies, the national laboratories, universities, the Big Three, and their suppliers and subcontractors. In FY 1995, about 41 percent of government finding for PNGV went to the Big Three or their suppliers, 23 percent to federal research labs, and 36 percent to other R&D performers.

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77 The Department of Energy (DOE) provides about 60 percent of federal finding for PNGV related research (about $159 million in FY 1995), but may account for 90 percent of the federal finding for advanced vehicle development.

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Other agencies’ contributions tend to be oriented toward improved components or materials processing technologies, or toward collateral areas, such as safety research. Within DOE, the Office of Transportation Technology’s 20-year-old Electric and Hybrid Vehicle Program is the core of PNGV.

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