President Barack Obama will outline a timetable today to introduce new fuel efficiency standards in medium- and heavy-duty vehicles.
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A Tesla fan is petitioning the White House stop requiring cars to be sold through third-party dealers.
When you’re an Olympic gold medalist, there’s no denying your dedication to your country. But apparently Tyler Clary would much rather hop into a stock car and go racing than hang out with the President of the United States.
In 2008 when President Barack Obama was a senator, he pledged a goal of having 1 million electric vehicles on U.S. streets by 2015. Four years later, that goal seems far away at best.
In his 2011 State of the Union address, President Obama said “with more research and incentives, we can break our dependence on oil with biofuels, and become the first country to have a million electric vehicles on the road by 2015.” Even though there is the capacity to build 1 million EVs by 2015, sales and overall demand for electric vehicles will keep that goal out of reach.
The Chevrolet Volt, for example, hasn’t done as well as anyone hoped, with production stopping at times to help match supply and demand. In fact, the Volt is selling at about 10 percent of the Department of Energy’s projected 120,000 units per year. The Nissan Leaf, despite its selling better than the Volt, won’t meet 100,000 sales until 2014.
Rather than admitting the goal is out of reach, the White House changed the wording in its “Blueprint For A Secure Energy Agenda” from aiming to have 1 million EVs on the streets to saying “by 2015, the United States will be able to produce enough batteries and components to support one million plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles.”
Even without the fire fiasco of the Volt, the million EV goal by 2015 would be a challenging one. Electric vehicles will continual to fight an uphill battle until the technology is widely accepted and is convenient.
[Source: Left Lane News]
Things might get a lot sweeter in 2013 for folks considering a “new technology car,” as they’re being called at the White House.
President Obama’s 2012 fiscal year budget apparently includes a provision for increasing the federal tax credit from $7,500 to a more substantial $10,000. The subsidy hasn’t been passed yet, but if it goes through, people purchasing natural gas cars, EVs and extended-range hybrids will have more of an incentive to seal the deal.
The increased amount could serve to replace subsidy dollars that disappeared this year which went toward accessory items like home charging stations, meaning a few folks who bought those cars this year might feel a little bamboozled by federal policy.
That sting might be all the more pungent when people realize, as The Truth About Cars points out, that the new incentive is actually a refund available upon purchase instead of the more-complicated tax credit of the past.
Past issues aside, the President appears to have his sights set squarely on the future with a goal to have one million “advanced technology” vehicles on the road by 2015.
Questions about vehicle safety during incidents like the one we saw recently with the Chevrolet Volt battery fires certainly won’t help accomplish that target, but money talks and people are often quick to forget when there’s cash on the table for them. We’ll have to wait and see if the new subsidy makes the cut.
[Source: The Truth About Cars]
Most automakers have gotten in line with the White House and accepted (even welcomed) the new CAFE regulations. Not Volkswagen. In fact, they criticize the new CAFE standards as being biased towards trucks—which of course, they don’t build.
The proposal “places an unfairly high burden on passenger cars, while allowing special compliance flexibility for heavier light trucks,” according to a statement from Tony Cervone, vice president of communications for Volkswagen America. Furthermore, “the largest trucks carry almost no burden for the 2017-2020 timeframe, and are granted numerous ways to mathematically meet targets in the outlying years without significant real-world gains.”
Long story short, Volkswagen fears that manufacturers will find ways to skirt the CAFE regulations by building larger vehicles and classifying them as trucks, rather than finding ways to improve the mileage of their current lineup. The largest vehicle in VW’s lineup is the Touraeg, which luckily for them counts as one of those larger trucks (along with the Routan minivan, somehow).
VW’s point isn’t new: classifying smaller vehicles as light trucks to cheat efficiency regulations is something every manufacturer is guilty of, and hell, it’s basically what kept GM and Ford alive during those dark days of the early 2000s. But VW finds itself outspoken when raising this matter, as every other major manufacturer has supported the government’s new CAFE standards. Will VW hold its ground?
Toyota, Honda, and Nissan all support the White House’s revised CAFE standards, but still view market response as an obstacle.
All three companies dabble in hybrids or electric vehicles, so it’s less of a surprise that they’re willing to accept these higher standards. All three CEOs of their North American divisions have issued statements, to the extent that they see this increase as a challenge.
“Honda embraces this new challenge and we welcome the competition we will have with other automakers that will result from these new standards,” said John Mendel, vice president of sales for Honda America, “because it will benefit both our customers and the health of the planet.”
“Obviously, there is still a great deal of uncertainty as to how the market will respond and what vehicle technologies consumers will embrace, which is why we are rolling out and testing a range of alternative fuel options,” said Jim Lentz, president of Toyota USA.
“Nissan is a company built on innovation and we’re up to the task,” said Scott Becker, vice president of Nissan America, as he cited the Leaf and upcoming Infiniti M Hybrid as examples of Nissan’s “multifaceted approach to meeting consumer demand for increased fuel economy.”
The White House announced earlier that it would be lowering its CAFE standard from 56.5 MPG to 54. The proposal, however, won’t be finalized until Friday—and until then, the White House is looking towards automakers to approve the change.
Automakers have yet to officially endorse the new limits, but many are expected to favor any CAFE lowering. Despite this, German manufacturers such as Volkswagen, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz still oppose even the new regulations, at the potential cost of stiff penalties if they don’t accept these terms and conditions.
These terms and conditions are still the same, of course: passenger cars will have to improve their mileage 5% every year from 2017 to 2025; by 2016, the average mileage standard across the industry will be 35.5 MPG.
[Source: Left Lane News]
After much debate, the White House has lowered its CAFE target for 2025 from 62 MPG to 54.5.
The original 62 MPG figure has been dragged through the dirt before, having previously been lowered to 56.2 before this current figure. But now, the 1.7-mpg drop helps ease the concerns, however slightly, expressed by the auto industry that this annual mileage increase will drive up the cost of cars and destroy car sales as well as manufacturing jobs.
The CAFE situation dictates that cars will have to be 5% more fuel-efficient every year, from 2017 to 2025. On the one hand, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration believes that this would add $2,100 to a car’s base price. On the other, according to the Consumer Federation of America, with the earlier 56-mpg revision consumers would save over $6,000 in gasoline costs throughout the car’s lifetime.
As you can tell, even with a revised CAFE target the debate won’t be over anytime soon.
A statement released today by the White House seemed to take credit for the resurgence of the American auto industry, with President Obama’s bailout plan credited as the driving force behind it.
“When President Obama took office, the American automobile industry was on the brink of collapse,” said the National Economic Council, in a prepared statement. ”Two years later, the American auto industry is mounting a comeback.” The statement comes as the 2012 Presidential election looms closer, and the statement went on to claim that 400,000 jobs in 2008 were lost, and the number could have been closer to 1 million if no action was taken.
The report was released on the two year anniversary of General Motors’ bailout. The Big Three domestic automakers have all reported profits in the first quarter of 2011, but taxpayers are still expected to be on the hook for billions of dollars in losses. The United States treasury is expected to write down as much as 20 percent of the bailout as losses.
[Source: Automotive News]