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Myths & Reality of PNGV


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Suggested Citation:
Sperling, Daniel (1995) Myths & Reality of PNGV. Institute of Transportation Studies, University of California, Davis, Presentation Series UCD-ITS-RP-95-10

Presented at the Annual Meeting of TRB, Technology Policy for Sustainable Transportation, Chapter 9

If there is anything we can all agree on, it is that the future for advanced vehicles is highly uncertain and the cost of developing and commercializing new advanced technologies will be high. The result is a high degree of risk for those manufacturers investing in fuel cells, ultracapacitors, advanced batteries, lightweight materials, flywheels, and other advanced technologies. High risk means delayed investments. Delays are worrisome for 2 reasons: U.S. industry becomes less competitive, and environmental degradation and disruption continues.

If the transition to environmentally benign fuels and vehicles is to be sustained, investments in the riskier, more far-off technologies need to be accelerated. A research partnership between government and industry is essential to spur the development of more advanced technologies. It is also an appropriate role for government to play.

In theory, PNGV, as currently conceived, benefits virtually everyone. The beleaguered national labs (who are the primary recipients of PNGV spending) are given a renewed mission; thousands of highly trained scientists and engineers at the labs are kept productively employed; automakers receive a much-needed infusion of technical know-how; the adversarial relationship between automakers and government is converted into a partnership; and the transition to more environmentally benign technologies is accelerated.