AutoGuide News Blog
The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
A new plan being put in place by eight states seeks to see another 3.3 million zero-emissions vehicles (ZEVs) on the road by 2025.
Given how a number of states have been following California’s lead in recent years, including the likes of Maryland, New Jersey and New York, there’s a distinct possibility we could see the expansion of zealous zero emissions requirements.
Recently, the California Air Resources Board approved a measure that requires some 15.4 percent of all vehicles sold in the Golden State to be Zero emissions compliant by 2025 (in other words be plug-in hybrids, pure EVs or fuel-cell machines).
California’s zero emissions mandate was first introduced in 1990, though in recent years, the standards have been significantly tightened. For automakers, the issue presents a bit of a dilema, especially if other states choose to follow California’s ruling.
As it stands, buyers haven’t exactly warmed up to the idea of plug-in hybrids or pure EVs, despite the media hype they generate. Currently, sales represent just 0.1 percent of the entire US vehicle market.
Consequently, there are concerns within the auto industry that given the sluggish demand, sales of zero emissions vehicles won’t grow fast enough to meet the mandated targets, meaning that automakers could risk facing hefty fines. Bailey Wood, director of legislative affairs for the National Automobile Dealer’s Association, believes the requirements could result in a very tough market for dealers to do business, because it would require stocking more models that aren’t popular with buyers. “Already, dealers have to accept less popular vehicles to get the ones they want,” he stated. “With the [zero-emission vehicle] mandate, it will be even worse.”
That said, David Clegern, speaking on behalf of CARB, says that the new ZEV regulations were conceived with flexibility in mind, meaning that should an automaker struggle to hit the required sales targets for such vehicles in one state, it has the option of shipping them to another without incurring penalties. In addition, those manufacturers that exceed federal rules can earn credits which they can apply to state regulations, with sales of gasoline-electric hybrids being eligible for such credits, at least initially.
However, with sales of even gas-electric hybrids currently remaining flat (at around 3 percent of all US vehicle demand) and fuel cell cars and trucks still showing little sign of becoming available within the next few years, meeting these tough ZEV targets is going to prove challenging at best.
[Source: Automotive News]
Just when CAFE loosened standards and lowered from 56.5 MPG to 54 MPG by 2025, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) has decided to propose new and more stringent conditions for automakers that sell cars in California. The California Air Resources Board will not only enforce CAFE, but will also require at least 15.4 percent of all cars sold by any major automaker in the state to either be fully electric, plug-in hybrid, or hydrogen fuel cell by 2025.
Mary Nichols, chair of the California Air Resources Board, observes 15.4 percent as, “a relatively modest goal, but that’s all that we’re mandating. Probably the most heartening aspect of this whole rulemaking was the level of cooperation that we received from the industry… Overall, the degree of support for the package was just extraordinary.”
It is worth noting that earlier this month, researcher LMC Automotive discovered that hybrid sales in the United States have decreased in 2011 to 2.2 percent compared to 2.4 percent of all vehicle sales in 2010. These numbers are far below the proposed 15.4 percent mandate. Despite high profile unveilings of gas-electric products at auto shows across the world, consumers find the cost premium of owning a hybrid over conventional combustion engine vehicles too expensive.
According to the California New Car Dealers Association, this plan would cause automakers to increase the average price of a new vehicle by an estimated $3,200 in order to develop technology that will accommodate the new rules. Appropriately, Mary Nichols also said, “direct incentives to people who buy these cars (like) rebates and credits” are also being worked out.
California’s new regulation will likely be adopted by an additional 10 states, resulting to the projected total number of advanced green vehicles near three million total units by 2025, 1.4 million of which would be in California.
Although it’s providing a fleet of some 100 Demio (Mazda2) all-electric vehicles to select lease customers in Japan (see above), Mazda doesn’t currently offer any other EV passenger vehicles.
However, that may soon change, as Chief Engineer Mitsuru Fujinaka has said the Hiroshima based automaker is looking to get regulartory approval so it can eventually offer EVs for sale in the United States, particularly California. “Sooner or later we will have these electric vehicles,” he said. “At least by 2018 though we will try to do it earlier.”
The JDM Mazda Demio models currently under test, sport a 70 kW electric motor and lithium-ion battery pack that adds approximately 220 lbs in extra weight. Fujinaka says the goal was to offer a zero tailpipe emisisons vehicle that delivered comparable performance to the regular 1.5-liter gas engined Demio and thanks to instant torque (equivalent of some 148 lb-ft), the electric version can scoot from 0-62 mph in less than 10.7 seconds and reach speeds of 87 mph. Range maxes out at approximately 125 miles.
Although the current Demio (Mazda2) EV likely won’t be sold in export markets, there’s a good chance that similar size successors could be. If and when that happens, it’ll be interesting to see both Mazda’s pricing strategy and rollout program, particularly here in the US.
Living up to it it’s rogue reputation on vehicle emissions, California is once again locking horns with automakers regarding upcoming smog and fuel economy standards, specifically its Zero Emissions Vehicle (ZEV) plan.
The Golden State’s plan, requires auto manufacturers to achieve significantly increased sales of electric or hybrid vehicles (up to 14 percent by 2025, from the current 1 percent of all cars and trucks sold in CA) or risk hefty fines; however the industry says that having differing regional standards simply complicates matters and would rather have California fall in line with a national proposal of fuel economy standards which, incidently automakers achieved with 2012-2016 targets.
“A single national program allows us all to devote our maximum efforts on focusing on carbon dioxide reductions rather than devoting efforts to the extra challenges of meeting a patchwork of state regulations,” declared Wade Newton a spokesman for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers.
However legislators at the California Air Resources Board have said they are planning to stick with their original plan, even though it has been modified seven times since 1990.
“We need to get on a path where advanced technology vehicles dominate and we have no intention of backing away from ZEV,” stated CARB’s chief deputy executive officer Tom Cackette.
Further complicating matters are requests by auto manufacturers for a ‘graduated’ schedule of national fuel economy increases, instead of yearly increases as proposed by the Obama Administration. In addition, a lack of EV infrastructure in many cold weather states, would make the California targets, currently adopted by nine other US states including New York and Massachusetts (where cold, snowy winters are a way of life), very difficult to achieve.
Interestingly, all 10 states that follow the CARB ZEV plan, currently represent 30 percent of the entire US vehicle market, which means that hefty fines resulting from failure to meet the ultra stringent requirements will likely be passed onto consumers in the form of significantly higher vehicle prices, which could result in greatly reduced overall demand for new cars and trucks.
The Obama Administration has said that it wants to propose national fuel economy standards by September this year, around the same time CARB is planning to update its own. However, given the current state of bickering between automakers and legislators, it appears both sides still have a long way to go in order to reach a solid, worthwhile agreement.
[Source: Automotive News]
In hot rodding circles, GM Performance Part’s E-ROD, a 1955 Chevrolet powered by modern 6.2-liter LS3 V-8 has been generating a lot of buzz.
Fresh off the Hot Rod Power Tour this year, the car, along with a second E-ROD; a 1955 Chevy pickup, built by Lingenfelter Performance Engineering and sporting a 5.3-liter E-ROD motor,will be on display at the GMPP stand as part of Barrett-Jackson’s Orange County collector-car auction this coming weekend.
The purpose of the display is to highlight the benefits of dropping a modern, 50-state certified low emissions V-8 into an older car. California’s ultra stringent emissions laws incorporate strict guidelines when it comes smog requires, even for ‘specially constructed’ vehicles such as modified collector cars or hot rods, which can sometimes make a minefield for hobbyists who want to build and modify their own special interest cars.
The E-ROD 6.2L V-8 attempts to take away much of that hassle , thanks to being granted an Executive Order (EO) number (D-126-30) from the California Air Resources Board (CARB). This makes the engine legal for installation in pre-OBD II (1996-and-earlier) vehicles in that state. In addition, depending on the driveline and suspension components added, it’s capable of delivering 23 miles per gallon under certain conditions.
Although most hot rods and classics are driven as pleasure vehicles, where gas mileage isn’t generally much of a concern; GM Performance Parts’ product integration manager, Dr. Jamie Meyer, said that, “with fuel prices not showing any signs of retreating, greater fuel economy is definitely a welcome benefit.” He’s got a valid point.
Both the ‘55 Chevy and the truck on display at Barrett-Jackson’s event this weekend, feature 4L65-E automatic transmissions, along with a GMPP Supermatic transmission controller, to enable the trans to work in conjunction with the E-ROD V-8′s engine control system. Combined with complete wiring harnesses available from GMPP, this essentially makes the E-ROD and automatic an essentially plug and play affair, even when installed in an older car.
While the 6.2 E-ROD is already CARB certified, the 5.3 version, featured in the Chevy truck, is still undergoing tests, though GM hopes to have a CARB EO number granted sometime this summer.
In addition, GM Performance Parts is also working with state legislators and CARB to allow the E-ROD engines and related hardware to be installed in newly built specialty vehicles, essentially cars and trucks that use brand new reproduction parts and late model chassis, have new VIN numbers, but maintain the appearance of a classic.
The Lingenfelter pickup is actually an example of this, riding on a late-model Trailblazer SS chassis, while sporting a Dynacorn reproduction 1955 Chevy truck cab and bodywork. For more information on the E-Rod engines and related components, click on the link below:
[Source: GM Performance Parts]
The Obama Administration is considering strict new fuel economy regulations that would make the 35.5-mpg 2016 CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) standards seem like an easy target to reach. The far-reaching new target would see a 62-mpg CAFE standard set in place for 2025. A preliminary proposal indicating as much was released late last week, as deliberations continue to reduce fuel consumption and tailpipe emissions by 3 percent to 6 percent a year from 2017 to 2025.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Transportation Department and the California Air Resources Board said that these targeted cuts in fuel use and emissions would require new fuel economy standards of between 47 mpg and 62 mpg by 2025.
The 245-page preliminary analysis states that “advanced technologies can be used to achieve substantial reductions in fuel consumption and (greenhouse gases).”
New fuel economy goals for 2012 to 2016 were presented earlier this year and this technical assessment is just step one in a long regulatory process to set targets leading up to the 2025 model year.
The second regulatory analysis is due by November 30, after regulators have held discussions with the auto industry, environmental groups and consumer advocates.
For their part, automakers seemed to applaud the news of a unified regulatory approach that includes a single plan by federal and state authorities. When the time comes, they will add their option to the preliminary targets under consideration, and the technologies and costs need to achieve the goals.
The report also outlines some of the costs needed to design and produce a 2025 vehicle under the stricter standards. The development costs for a 2025 vehicle would go up by between $770 and $3,500, depending on the targets and technologies incorporated, but consumers would typically save between $4,900 and $7,400 over the life of a vehicle in fuel savings.
Do you think automakers can build a car that gets 62-mpg and costs just $770 more? Will it also save you $7,400? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.
[Source: Automotive News]
The California Air Resources Board (CARB) has mandated that vehicle tire pressures must be checked during routine service and in line with the recommended factory settings.
The initiative comes as part of a bid to cut down on under-inflated tires, which use more fuel and by extension, emit more greenhouse gases. While the law was initiated in 2009, the law was revised to include maintenance shops but exempts auto body shops, auto glass installers, auto dismantlers, and auto parts retailers.
Despite being well intentioned .here are numerous problems with the law; tire pressures can vary based on the weather, how hot or cold the tires are, and customers with nitrogen filled tires can decline the service if the shop doesn’t have a nitrogen re-filling system. The law also smacks of yet another intrusions of an overly paternalistic government. Perhaps if CARB legislators kept their mouths shut, less hot air would escape, leading to a further reduction in emissions.
[Source: Consumer Reports]