WASHINGTON – On Dec. 5 the EPA’s National Vehicle and Fuel Emissions Laboratory (NVFEL) hosted its first annual Vehicle Technology Showcase in order to highlight the latest technologies improving fuel economy and reducing emissions. The EPA also released data showing where current technology is at and where it’s going.
The technologies that lead to improvements in fuel economy and emissions include alternative-fuel powertrains and advances in gasoline and diesel engine technologies, including hybrids, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, all-electric models, and natural gas models.
Among the conventional fuel system technologies, gasoline direct injection systems, which now make up 24% of the market in 2012 (up from 0% five years ago, according to EPA) and turbochargers and superchargers (making up 9% of the market in 2012, up from 3% in 2007) have begun gaining ground. Transmission technology has improved, with six-, seven-, and higher-speed types being available, along with continuously variable transmissions. Those types of transmissions now make up 75% of those in vehicles on the market in 2012, compared with only 25% in 2007.
As for how these technologies are taking vehicles down the path of meeting federal CAFE and emissions standards, the EPA said there are 65 vehicle models of pickups, minivans, and vans with combined city/highway fuel economy ratings of 20 mpg or greater, as compared to only 38 models five years ago. Among SUVs, 14 models get 25 mpg or greater. Among cars, 48 models get 30 mpg or better, which is a huge increase in the last five years, with only 8 models getting that number in 2007. Out of the cars, 15 models get 40 mpg or higher.
In terms of emissions, 90 vehicles in showrooms already meet or can meet (with expected air conditioning improvements) the EPA’s 2016 CO2 targets. In the future, about 40 vehicles can meet 2020 CO2 requirements, and about 25 vehicles can meet 2025 CO2 targets.