Kesseler says carmakers can meet CAFE target of 54.5 mpg sans hybrids and EVs

Article by Anita Panait, on January 21, 2014

Carmakers can comply with the 54.5 mpg Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) target even without launching large volumes of electric cars and plug-in hybrids, according to Brian Kesseler, a member of the purchasing panel at the Automotive News World Congress. Kesseler, who is also president of Johnson Controls Inc.'s battery division, remarked that through a mix of start-stop systems, turbochargers, direct injection and other cutting-edge technology, carmakers were able to boost their fuel economy numbers.

He said that Johnson Controls has made available a durable battery that can meet the demands of start-stop systems. The start-stop system-laden Ford Fusion is fitted with JCI's absorbent glass mat battery. "We can leverage existing technology to meet these regulations," Kesseler said, adding that carmakers “don't necessarily need hybrids, EVs or plug-ins."

Kesseler's remark seems to be an implicit endorsement of the Environmental Protection Agency's approach to fuel economy regulations. While the agency has set strict CAFE targets, it has not mandated the use of certain technologies to comply with them. On the other hand, the California Air Resources Board has mandated the launch of zero-emission vehicles powered by electric batteries or fuel cells.

The board aims to have 15 percent of new vehicles sold in California to be electric cars, plug-in hybrids or fuel-cell vehicles by 2025. While carmakers posted mixed results with electric vehicles, they were more successful by upgrading conventional powertrains. Ford Motor Co. has focused on downsizing engines and turbocharging – generating good results. Ford purchasing chief Hau Thai-Tang noted that the Ecoboost powertrain option is available on 80 percent of the carmaker’s product lineup. [source: automotive news - sub. required]

Topics: fuel economy

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