Automaker Group Warns NHTSA's Fuel Economy Proposal Could Threaten EV Transition

First Up 10/02/23

Automaker Group Warns NHTSA's Fuel Economy Proposal Could Threaten EV Transition

The Alliance for Automotive Innovation warned U.S. auto safety regulators at NHTSA that new fuel economy standards, if finalized as proposed, could threaten the industry's transition to electric vehicles. NHTSA in July proposed fuel economy standards for the 2027-32 model years that would require a 2 percent per year improvement in fuel efficiency for cars and a 4 percent per year improvement for light truck, reports Automotive News. The standards would require average fleet fuel economy of nearly 58 mpg — or about 40 to 46 mpg in real-world driving — by the 2032 model year. At a virtual public hearing held Thursday, the alliance's Michael Hartrick said the proposal marked "an unprecedented rate of change" alongside standards finalized last year, which call for fuel efficiency to increase 8 percent per year for cars and light trucks in the 2024 and 2025 model years and 10 percent in 2026. The rule requires a combined fleet average of about 49 mpg in the 2026 model year. However, "NHTSA's proposal exceeds maximum feasibility," said Hartrick, senior director of energy and environment. Click here for the full story.

Are EVs Affordable? Only if You’re a Luxury Buyer

Mainstream EV buyers are being priced out of the market, according to a new study by J.D. Power. While EVs now account for 8.4 percent of the retail new-vehicle market, 76 percent of sales come from the luxury market, reports The Detroit Bureau.  The study states that while the difference between ICE and EVs are negligible in the premium market, they’re far more substantial in the mass market. Consider the five-year total cost of ownership of a compact SUV, the largest retail sales segment in the United States. The average premium EV brand buyer is spending $71,707, a mere $287 or 0.4 percent more than a comparable compact ICE SUV. In contrast, buying an EV costs the typical mass-market brand consumer $60,736, which is $9,259 or 18 percent more than an ICE vehicle. “The rapidly growing markets for luxury and mass market EVs are shaping up to be incredibly different places with distinct consumer profiles,” the report states. “As those markets continue to grow, some stark differences are starting to emerge when it comes to relative affordability. Surprisingly, that dynamic is playing out in favor of the premium brand buyer.” Click here for the full story.

Honda and Acura Partner with EVgo and Electrify America for Charging Infrastructure

Acura and Honda announced agreements with Electrify America, EVgo, and other roaming network partners. As a result, Honda and Acura EV owners now have access to even more of North America’s top charging networks, reports CBT News. In addition to the recent declaration that Honda would embrace the NACS charging standard, these agreements grant access to Tesla’s Supercharger networks. U.S. Honda and Acura EV customers will be able to use most public American DC fast chargers starting in 2024 and can anticipate having about 100,000 DC charge points available to them by 2030 when combined with the recent joint venture that Honda established with six other major automakers to create a leading high powered charging network. According to Jay Joseph, vice president of sustainability and business development at American Honda, “Honda aims to provide our customers with easy access to the most fast-charging options of any automaker. Accessing various fast-charging networks, including Tesla’s Supercharger network, EVgo, Electrify America, and roaming partner networks, will make charging Honda and Acura EVs from home easy and convenient. With the help of the new agreements, Honda and Acura EV drivers will have single-app access to thousands of fast charges around the country. Click here for the full story.

Mercedes Is Designing Its Cars to Meet the Challenges of the Future

Comprehend a century of technological heritage, then adapt it to face the auto industry's whirlwind future: That's Magnus Östberg's not so insignificant task as the chief software officer of Mercedes-Benz. Östberg left a two-decade career in software and infotainment development at Aptiv/Delphi to succeed Sajjad Khan as the leader of Mercedes' digital infrastructure in September of 2021. It's a role that goes far beyond creating snazzier navigation graphics and making in-car voice recognition more human. According to Motortrend, Östberg's vision is to lay a robust, software-based foundation so the next generation of Mercedes vehicles can meet the rigorous demands of an increasingly connected and autonomous world. Mercedes is pouring billions of dollars into accelerating the development of its new MB.OS operating system that will eventually supplant the current MBUX user experience interface created under Khan's supervision. According to Östberg, MB.OS will fundamentally "give back time, bring continuous excitement throughout the life of the vehicle, and create a seamless environment between an owner's digital life at home and in the car." Click here for the full story.

Toyota Prius Prime: BEV-Like Dynamics in a Practical Package

If it turns out full electrification isn’t for the masses, cars like the ʼ23 Toyota Prius Prime may prove the answer. According to Wards, for many, the Prius Prime could be the near-perfect bridge between the internal-combustion engine and the full battery-electric vehicle. Like the instant torque you get from a BEV when you mash the accelerator? You’ll get that with the Prime. It is one of the few hybrids we’ve driven in the way it mimics the launch characteristics of a full BEV. And that’s a good thing. The $37,000 midgrade Prius Prime XSE we tested comes standard with an all-aluminum, 150-hp, 2.0L DOHC 4-cyl., complemented by a 161-hp electric motor powered by a 13.6-kWh battery pack. Combined, the propulsion system is capable of delivering 220 hp – easily topping the 100-hp-per-liter output that’s become the ante for ICEs today. Three hybrid driving modes are available: normal, eco and sport, the last of which Toyota says is good for 0-60 mph acceleration in 6.6 seconds – making it 35 percent faster out of the blocks than the previous-gen model. Click here for the full story.


Around the Web

New Lexus LM Lands in Europe as a First Class Luxury Minivan, See it in Over 200 Photos [Carscoops]

2023 Hyundai Ioniq 6 Review: The EV Everyone Else Should be Making [The Drive]

Nissan Ready to Implement Airless Tire Technology [Carbuzz]

The Rearview Mirror: A Sports Car from a Company You’ve Never Heard of [The Detroit Bureau]