While the Environmental Protection Agency is expected to announce it will reopen a revisit to 2022-2025 vehicle emissions requirements, the regulation should stay. These requirements, which will drive innovation in the vehicle propulsion industry, protect our environment, and can be affordably met. They are good for the industry, our country, the earth and the consumer.
There is an urgent need for cars and trucks to be more fuel efficient than ever, to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and fuel consumption, and affordably. The industry can and will meet this challenge.
The EPA final determination in late 2016 was based on comprehensive research that concluded higher standards can be met with the technology in development across the auto industry. Instead of backing away from the 2025 Corporate Average Fuel Economy regulations with claims of job losses or market forces, vehicle manufacturers should be aggressively working to implement the fuel savings technology they and the supply-base have in the development pipeline.
Companies like Achates Power develop some of the cleanest, most fuel efficient and cost effective internal-combustion engines. The Achates Opposed-Piston Engine has been tested, verified and measured in a variety of traditional fuels, such as diesel, gasoline, natural gas, bio-fuels and even jet fuel. It allows vehicle manufacturers to achieve stringent current and future fuel efficiency and emissions standards, while still using our current fueling and manufacturing infrastructure.
While electric vehicles will play a part in meeting the CAFE puzzle, it’s a small part because battery-electric vehicles are more expensive than internal combustion engine vehicles, even with heavy subsidizes by taxpayers — which are unsustainable. And despite these considerable incentives from manufacturers and government, battery-electric vehicles and hybrids have failed to make a dent in vehicle market share, garnering less than 3 percent in the U.S. market in 2016. The performance, low cost and fuel flexibility of internal combustion engines will continue to make them the dominate vehicle propulsion choice for many decades to come.
Additionally, the Opposed-Piston Engine has been proven to achieve industry-best fuel economy gains of 30 percent to 50 percent, significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions over state-of-the-art engines.
These cleaner, more fuel efficient engines are job creators as well. Our company alone employs nearly 100 powertrain engineers in San Diego and Detroit working on internal combustion engines.
According to the EPA’s draft Technical Assessment Report released in 2016, integrating fuel-saving technology will come at a cost — $1,500 per vehicle, or more, for some solutions.
Global markets will continue to need more fuel-efficient and cost-effective vehicles in high volume. To that end, the U.S. shouldn’t shrink from its responsibility to lead in technology development and environmental stewardship.
It is important we continue toward the current regulatory fuel efficiency and emissions targets and not delay the automotive industry’s efforts to help protect our environment, while providing consumers with affordable vehicles that meet their needs and preferences.
David Johnson is president and CEO of Achates Power Inc.