Happy Thursday friends! Here’s my now monthly take on the five most interesting developments in future fuels and vehicles trends in September in more of a condensed form so that you can easily scan and jump to the item(s) that are of most interest to you. Items I selected this month run the gamut from car bans, the carbon-neutral internal combustion engine vehicle (ICEV), electric vehicles, and heavy-duty engine fuel efficiency technologies and developments.
1. Bloomberg: California Considers Following China With Combustion-Engine Car Ban ― “I’ve gotten messages from the governor asking, ‘Why haven’t we done something already?’” [California Air Resources Board Mary] Nichols said, referring to China’s planned phase-out of fossil-fuel vehicle sales. “The governor has certainly indicated an interest in why China can do this and not California.” You don’t think Governor Brown is about to be outdone by China (and India, and France, and the UK), now do you? No way. The trick is going to be how to get this done. A flat-out ban may pose constitutional issues (interstate commerce, for one). But Nichols indicated that California could use vehicle registration rules or control the vehicles that can access state highways. An ICEV phase out even if it’s in 2030, might not go over well with California drivers. An L.A. Times article details consumer backlash against efforts to curtail driving at the state and local level. Click here to read about global car ban developments.
3. Reuters: Diesel’s Disgrace Brings Hybrids-For-All In Race To Electrify ―Battery electric vehicles (BEVs) aren’t the only diesel passenger car alternative out there. The 48V mild gasoline hybrid could be as well and were featured at the recent Frankfurt Auto Show. Analysts expect them to outpace sales of full hybrids and could help replace diesel vehicles representing 55% of all cars sold by 2025. As I said recently in another post on a study showing gasoline CO2 emits less GHGs than diesel passenger cars: “Does this mean there will be a de-dieselization and a move toward “gasolinization?” That might make a lot of sense. But the push from the EU Commission, NGOs such as T&E and others is going to be toward EVs.”
4. San Francisco Chronicle: Families Are Pairing Gas Sippers, Guzzlers Like Diet Soda, Fries ― “A study released Tuesday by economists at UC Davis shows that families who own fuel-efficient cars tend to buy big, powerful gas guzzlers as their second vehicle, largely defeating the purpose of the little petrol sippers in their garages.” And worse, they tend to drive these vehicles more, reducing by up to 60% the expected future gas savings from increased fuel economy in two-car households. The story highlights one guilty-as-charged driver who say it’s hard to be a two-EV household, citing range anxiety as an issue. We need EVs, but we also need ever cleaner ICEVs as well to help minimize this effect. (On another ZEV-related policy issue see the recent post, Guess Who’s Buying ZEVs in California?)
5. Wall Street Journal: Makers of Fuel-Guzzling Big Rigs Try to Go Green (Subscription Required) ― This story notes the efforts of truck makers such as Navistar, Daimler, Volvo and Cummins to rethink the heavy-duty engine and vehicle design to make it more fuel efficient as regulations in the U.S. (and globally) get tougher. Cummins and Tesla, as you know, intend to introduce heavy-duty electric trucks; Cummins is also joining with transmission manufacturer Eaton Corp. to design a lighter-weight engine and transmission that uses less fuel to shift gears, accelerate and slow down. Volvo says its 2018 model promises a 7.5% boost in fuel efficiency due to aerodynamic improvements and other changes. Daimler says its new Freightliner Cascadia line achieves an 8% fuel-efficiency improvement through such things as hubcap covers and door seals that cut down on wind resistance. Paccar’s newest Peterbilt models include lighter engines and automatic transmissions. Efficiency is going to be a key strategy in the coming years to reduce CO2. Read more about this issue here.
Tammy Klein is a consultant and strategic advisor providing market and policy intelligence and analysis on transportation fuels to the auto and oil industries, governments, and NGOs. She writes and advises on petroleum fuels, biofuels, alternative fuels, automotive fuels, and fuels policy.