The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) recently announced that it will partner with General Motors (GM) to reduce automotive fuel cell costs through manufacturing research and development. NREL will work with GM to address current complications to next-generation fuel cell electric vehicles such as achieving high power densities, understanding the implication of contaminants for fuel cell performance, and accelerating manufacturing processes. NREL’s news also discusses the partnerships that have come about between private companies as a result of government involvement, specifically between GM and Honda.
AEIC staff’s case study examining the role of the government in public-private partnerships for vehicle technologies, including fuel cells, suggests partnerships like GM & NREL’s have provided critical pre-competitive research to accelerating cost improvements for the American vehicle industry as a whole. While each partnership is unique and its outcomes uncertain, the maintaining a diverse set of public-private partnerships is a critical driver for accelerating American energy innovation.