You would have thought that higher fuel economy standards would help spur growth in alternative fuelled vehicles, particularly EVs. However, it appears that the tough new CAFE regs, are actually pushing automakers to improve what they already know, namely the internal combustion engine, rather than invest heavily in new, unfamiliar technology.
According to the Department of Energy, gasoline fuelled vehicles only convert a maximum of 26 of energy from the fuel they burn to drive them along the road. As a result, there’s still a great deal of room to improve the overall efficiency of internal combustion engines.
In fact, it can almost be said, that the introduction of hybrid and EV technology, is actually pushing automakers to apply elements to traditional engines, especially with features like automatic stop/start, first introduced on hybrids.
Another issue for the apparent re-emphasis on ICEs, concerns consumer acceptance. Aside from early adopters, EVs and Hybrids haven’t exactly caught on with much of the buying public, their high sticker prices often requiring heavy incentives and government intervention to move them off dealers’s forecourts.
And with America in the midst of another election year and incumbent administration that heavily supports EV development on the defensive, the topic of EVs; already highly politicized; appears to be falling from favour.
Nevertheless, there are automakers, including the likes of Nissan (shown above) and on a smaller scale, Tesla, that have invested heavily in EV technology, though still; it will be interesting to see that, given what CAFE appears to be doing, their strategic plans ultimately bear fruit (at least as intended).
[Source: Auto News]