Investment in research and development

Research and Development (R&D) spending is important in making sure that the newest and cleanest technology is developed within a reasonable time frame, in addition to helping developers overcome start-up and market limitations. While auto companies expend capital on R&D, sometimes the government will enter into a cooperative agreement to jointly help fund such activities. An example in the U.S. is the program to develop fuel efficient technology with help in funding from the U.S. Department of Energy.


The Chilean government has promoted the participation of foreign experts in peer reviews and workshops discussing technological options. The National Commission for Scientific and Technological Research (CONICYT) has also developed bilateral technology co-operation agreements with the United States, Canada, the European Union, France, Germany and Finland, among others, to develop specific research projects, in particular on non-conventional renewable energy sources. For more information on Chile, see the Chile case study


The Green Car Initiative, a part of the European economic recovery plan, aims to allocate €5 billion (US$6.7 billion) through a Public Private Partnership to bolster innovation in the automotive sector and sustain its focus on environmental progress. The initiative complements the European Clean Transport Facility which, through the European Investment Bank, serves to provide more immediate financial relief to the sector.

The European Green Car Initiative aims to sustain progress towards a breakthrough in the use of renewable and non-polluting sources of energy, road safety and traffic fluidity. The initiative covers passenger cars as well as trucks and buses and transport systems, intelligent infrastructure and the availability of a fuelling and/or charging infrastructure.

Funding will be spread over four years. €1 billion (from a total of €5 billion) will come from the existing EU 7th Framework Program for R&D funding and includes €500 million to be financed by the industry. The remaining €4 billion will become available in EIB loans to individual projects from manufacturers and suppliers. For more information on EU,
see the EU case study.


In January 2003, the US announced a 5-year, $1.2 billion Hydrogen Fuel Initiative to perform research, development, and demonstration (R&D) for developing hydrogen fuel cells for use as a substitute for gasoline engines. Led by the Department of Energy (DOE), the initiative's goal is to develop the technologies by 2015 that will enable U.S. industry to make hydrogen-powered cars available to consumers by 2020.

In addition, EPA is making grant funds available and soliciting applications from eligible entities utilizing state-of-the-art experimental techniques and numerical simulations focusing on comprehensive research to develop new cutting-edge engine technologies. This effort is part of the Advanced Vehicle Program, to develop advanced combustion systems. For more information on U.S. see the U.S. Case Study.

The information contained on this website is intended as practical guidance coupled with examples of auto fuel economy policies and approaches in use around the world. It is not a complete collection of all national examples, nor does it track national and global progress on improving auto fuel economy. It is a work in progress and is updated regularly.This website does not support IE 5 and below.


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