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Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles

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Title: Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles  
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Subject: François Castaing, Air pollution, Energy policy
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Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles

The 80 mpg diesel-hybrid General Motors Precept
The 72 mpg diesel-hybrid Ford Prodigy
The 72 mpg diesel-hybrid Chrysler ESX-3

The Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles was a cooperative research program between the U.S. government and major auto corporations, aimed at bringing extremely fuel-efficient (up to 80 mpg) vehicles to market by 2003. The partnership, formed in 1993, involved 8 federal agencies,[1] the national laboratories, universities, and the United States Council for Automotive Research (USCAR), which comprises DaimlerChrysler, Ford Motor Company and General Motors Corporation. On track to achieving its objectives, the program was cancelled by the Bush Administration in 2001 at the request of the automakers, with some of its aspects shifted to the much more distant FreedomCAR program.


The PNGV program "overcame many challenges and has forged a useful and productive partnership of industry and government participants",[2] "resulting in three concept cars that demonstrate the feasibility of a variety of new automotive technologies" with Diesel-electric transmission.[3]

GM, Ford, and Chrysler all created working concept vehicles of 5 passenger family cars that achieved at least 72 mpg.[4] GM created the 80 mpg Precept, Ford created the 72 mpg Prodigy, and Chrysler created the 72 mpg ESX-3.

Researchers for the PNGV identified a number of ways to reach 80 mpg including reducing vehicle weight, increasing engine efficiency, combining gasoline engines and electric motors in hybrid vehicles, implementing regenerative braking, and switching to high efficiency fuel cell powerplants. Specific new technology breakthroughs achieved under the program include:[5]

  • Development of carbon foam with extremely high heat conductivity (2000 R&D 100 Award)
  • Near frictionless carbon coating, many times slicker than Teflon (1998 R&D 100 Award)
  • Oxygen-rich air supplier for clean diesel technology (1999 R&D 100 Award)
  • Development of a compact microchannel fuel vaporizer to convert gasoline to hydrogen for fuel cells (1999 R&D 100 Award)
  • Development of aftertreatment devices to remove nitrogen oxides from diesel exhaust with efficiencies greater than 90 percent, when used with diesel fuel containing 3 ppm of sulfur
  • Improvement of the overall efficiency and power-to-weight ratios of power electronics to within 25 percent of targets, while reducing cost by 86 percent to $10/kW since 1995
  • Reduction in cost of lightweight aluminum, magnesium, and glass-fiber-reinforced polymer components to less than 50 percent the cost of steel
  • Reduction in the costs of fuel cells from $10,000/kW in 1994 to $300/kW in 2000
  • Substantial weight reduction to within 5 to 10 percent of the vehicle weight reduction goal


Ralph Nader called PNGV "an effort to coordinate the transfer of property rights for federally funded research and development to the automotive industry". [6] PNGV was also criticized by some groups for a focus on diesel solutions, a fuel that is seen by some as having inherently high air pollutant emissions. [7]

Elizabeth Kolbert in her article in the 2007-11-05 New Yorker Running on Fumes, noted that renewable energy is the main problem, and that "If someone, somewhere, comes up with a source of power that is safe, inexpensive, and for all intents and purposes inexhaustible, then we, the Chinese, the Indians, and everyone else on the planet can keep on truckin’. Barring that, the car of the future may turn out to be no car at all."

See peak oil.


  1. ^ Departments of Commerce, Energy, Defense, Interior and Transportation, the National Science Foundation (NSF), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and Environmental Protection Agency
  2. ^ National Research Council Review of the Research Program of the Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles: Seventh Report (2001)
  3. ^ U.S. Department of Energy publication "New concept cars demonstrate clean, efficient transportation technologies" published April 2001, accessed April 16, 2007
  4. ^ DoE PNGV summary
  5. ^ Testimony to U.S Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Technology by Dr. Claude Gravatte, Director PNGV
  6. ^
  7. ^

External links

  • Review Of The Research Program Of The Partnership For A New Generation Of Vehicles: Seventh Report, the National Research Council's final report on PNGV
  • Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles Organization
  • "Updating Automotive Research", commentary on PNGV and FreedomCAR by Daniel Sperling, professor of civil engineering and environmental science at University of California, Davis
  • DOE vehicle technologies homepage
  • USCAR Website
  • "Supercar: The tanking of an American dream"
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