THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Vice President
US AUTO INDUSTRY, LABOR JOIN PRESIDENT, VICE PRESIDENT TO GIVE ONE-YEAR PROGRESS REPORT ON HISTORIC PARTNERSHIP FOR NEW GENERATION OF VEHICLES Government, Industry, Labor Craft Plan to Create Super Fuel-Efficient Car WASHINGTON -- One year after announcing an historic new partnership
aimed at strengthening U.S. competitiveness by developing technologies for a new generation of vehicles, President Bill Clinton and Vice President Al Gore today (10/18) joined with the United Auto Workers (UAW) and the Big Three American automobile makers to mark the event and outline their plan for creating a vehicle up to three times more fuel efficient than today's.
"In less than one year, we have moved from announcing this historic partnership to creating a plan that will make it a reality," President Clinton said. "America is going to build this car. I'm proud that the efforts of creative people throughout American industry have been able to move so quickly to design a project every bit as ambitious and complex as the Apollo mission."
Vice President Gore said, "We are here today to reaffirm our commitment to a program that is critical to both maintaining jobs in a vital U.S. industry and protecting the environment. Unprecedented cooperation among government agencies, industry and labor has led to an ambitious technical plan and an effective management team for ensuring that it is implemented. We've come a long way in a year, and it's clear that if we're going to meet our goal in a decade, we've got a lot of work ahead of us."
President Clinton and Vice President Gore joined last year to launch the Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles (PNGV), which aims to increase U.S. competitiveness in manufacturing, ensure the preeminence of the U.S. automobile industry, and develop an attractive, affordable automobile that will meet or beat all urban pollution and safety standards while achieving three times the fuel efficiency of today's comparable vehicles. Today the partners returned to describe the first year's progress, including development of a program plan, a management team to implement it, and technical work already underway.
Once the PNGV was announced last year, an unprecedented industry/government engineering team, which worked together to craft a detailed plan for achieving the program goals, was quickly created. The team's plan identifies the technologies needed to achieve the cost and performance goals of the project, a strategy ensuring that all promising approaches are supported in the early stages of the project. It also establishes a time line and a disciplined process for evaluating and selecting the most promising technologies for further support.
A process for peer review also has been established to provide for outside expertise to advise on the propriety of the technical plan. The National Academy of Engineering has begun this review, already conducted an in-depth assessment and is expected to issue its first report later this year.
In addition, during the past year, federal agencies and the industry have made major funding decisions based on the technology plan. For example, more than $250 million of the federal government's budget will have directly supported PNGV projects over the past year. Two-thirds of the funding has come from the Department of Energy with the rest from the Departments of Defense, Commerce, and Transportation, as well as the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency. The industry has jointly funded these projects with the cost of many of the projects supported equally by government and industry.
Finally, the federal agencies also are completing an unprecedented interagency plan for next year's funding:
major DOE and DOD contracts for hybrid vehicles and
key components (electric motors, power electronics);
CRADAs (Cooperative Research and Development Agreements) from the Advanced Technology Program in NIST, DOE, and other agencies to develop the high-performance, low-cost materials needed (including light metals, advanced metals, composites, engineering plastics, ceramics, steel and cast iron, life cycle assessment of materials);
an expanded DOE program to support fuel cells involving all three major U.S. auto makers and a large number of suppliers;
NASA and other agency support for development and use of advanced design tools and simulations of vehicle concepts;
development of a major program for high-power energy storage devices such as high-power batteries, ultra-capacitors, and flywheels;
programs to reduce NOx and other emissions that contribute to urban pollution programs to reduce air resistance, tire resistance, and mechanical losses due to internal friction; NSF, NIST, and other agency support for rapid prototyping technologies, agile manufacturing, high- performance computing and advanced manufacturing techniques. Steven Yokich, vice president, international union, UAW, said,
"The partnership offers the promise of strengthening a key U.S. industry by assisting in the development of cutting-edge technology. That's important because if we can maintain U.S. leadership in this vital industry -- the UAW believes we can maintain our industrial base and protect thousands of good-paying jobs for American workers."
Bill Hoagland, executive vice president of General Motors Corp., said, "This partnership will help make all American industry more competitive. It will help to produce a stronger economy, a cleaner environment, and more competitive businesses, and technical leadership in critical fields."
Thomas Denomme, vice chairman and chief administrative officer of Chrysler Corp., said, "When we gathered here a year ago, we knew that Super Car was going to be a huge technical challenge. Developing a class of vehicles that achieve quantum gains in fuel economy, retain all the function, affordability and utility of family cars, and that are benign to the environment is no small feat."
Alex Trotman, chairman and chief executive officer of Ford Motor Co., said, "The challenges faced by the partnership are great. But if anyone can do the job, it's American scientists, engineers, the national labs, and private industry -- working together."