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The hullabaloo around hybrids and electric cars to meet the government’s mandated 54.5 mpg by 2025 might be little more than a lot of meaningless noise.
Vehicles with alternative powertrains (those not powered purely by gasoline) are expected to account for 36 percent of the world market by 2025 according to a forecast by LMC Automotive.
Likely behind countless sleepless nights among the world’s automotive engineers, the Obama administration’s mandate for improved fuel efficiency was expected to take effect yesterday, but the gun remains unfired.
Mercedes-Benz revealed its hydrogen-powered gullwing F 125! luxury car concept, offering a glimpse at what the company’s vehicles will look like in the year 2025.
The F 125! – named for Mercedes-Benz’s 125th anniversary – illustrates the company’s styling direction for the next decade and beyond while also highlighting Mercedes-Benz’s commitment to developing hydrogen-powered technology. Mercedes foresees a range of 1,000 km (621 miles) for the F 125! thanks to the combination of the car’s fuel cell drive system and plug-in technology. Helping to increase the range is a new hydrogen storage unit which integrates the hydrogen tank with the floor assembly. In addition to the hydrogen storage unit, the F 125! uses a 10 kWh lithium-sulfur battery stored behind the rear seats. The battery can provide enough power for a range of 50 km (31 miles).
Volkswagen was one of several large automakers that did not sign off on the Obama Administration’s proposed Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards for 2025.
“We still have a dialogue going on with the administration in terms of how we think the policy needs to be adjusted,” said Jonathan Browning, CEO of Volkswagen Group of America.
Volkswagen is worried about the current proposed rules that place an unfairly strict rules on passenger cars. Heavier light trucks on the other hand, have much more lenient terms attached to them. Passenger cars maybe required to achieve 5% annual improvements and light trucks may face 3.5 percent annual improvements. The largest trucks on sale face almost no ruling for the 2017-2020 time frame.
“The proposal encourages manufacturers and customers to shift toward larger, less-efficient vehicles, defeating the goal of reduced greenhouse-gas emissions,” one spokesman said.
Volkswagen is also upset regarding the administration ignoring the improvements the German automaker has made to its diesel models. Diesels offer up to 30 percent better fuel efficiency and are installed in up to 80 percent of some VW models sold in the U.S.
“Diesels are growing to pretty much twice the scale in terms of (U.S. sales) of electric vehicles and hybrids together. It’s a technology that is available and affordable…and we think it should be part of the landscape going forward,” Browning explained.
[Source: Wards Auto]
There’s no question that the US Federal government’s proposed Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards have drawn a lot of fire and widespread opposition from automakers, especially as the Obama administration is now pushing for a 56 miles per gallon fleet average target by 2025.
In particular, General Motors and Chrysler, still on the road to recovery after receiving Government assistance in 2008-09 have expressed dismay at the proposed standards, since large trucks and SUVs, which will find the regulations tougher to meet, still represent a sizeable portion of their profits.
As a result, in an effort to win support for it’s fuel economy plan, the Obama administration is considering proposals that would loosen the requirements for large trucks and SUVs, giving automakers, namely the Detroit three, a larger window with which to comply with the new regulations.
This would mean an improvement of 3.5 mpg per year, instead of the 5 mpg increments required by passenger cars and smaller trucks and SUVs.
Import automakers, whose product portofolios tend to focus more on smaller cars and SUVs, claim these changes would give their Detroit rivals an unfair advantage, citing that such proposals would ultimately defeat the objective of the proposed CAFE requirements.
This isn’t first time this year the Feds have backed off on proposed fuel economy standards. Originally ,the mandate for 2025 was a 60 miles per gallon fleet average, though widespread opposition reduced it to the current 56 mpg proposal.
[Source: Automotive News]
A trade group representing Detroit’s three automakers as well as Toyota is currently urging the Obama administration to say no to a proposal that could mandate a 62-mpg CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) industry standard by 2025.
The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, in a letter addressed to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and Environmental Protection Agency administrator Lisa Jackson, said, “fuel economy and greenhouse gas targets should not be arbitrary numbers, chosen before the necessary analyses are completed,” claiming that the proposed standard would ”circumvent the rulemaking process and undermine the ongoing collaborative effort to set sound standards.”
In April 18 senators led by Democrat Dianne Feinstein and Republican Olympia Snowe, California and Maine respectively, urged the administration to consider a 62-mpg standard by 2025, which equates to a 6-percent annual increase from 2017 to then. Depending on how stringent the administration wants to make things, the increase could cost anywhere from $770 per vehicle built to $3,500.
The automakers believe that this requirement could reduce car sales by 14%, owing to the increase in cost per car to meet the requirements (that are then passed onto you, dear consumer). This could lead to an equal 14% reduction in jobs, or 250,000 people—automakers ”depend on reasonable regulations that provide clarity and certainty, without pricing our customers out of the market or preventing them from choosing vehicles that can meet their diverse needs,” cites the Alliance.
Currently there is a 35-mpg CAFE standard set in lace for 2016.
[Source: The Detroit News]