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 Assessment of Technologies for Improving Fuel Economy of Light-Duty Vehicles


Light-duty vehicle technologies for fuel economy are advancing to improve the energy efficiency of vehicle operation. At the request of the U.S. Department of Transportation, the congressionally-mandated Committee on Assessment of Technologies for Improving Fuel Economy Light-Duty Vehicles is tasked with providing updated estimates of the potential cost, fuel economy improvements, and barriers to deployment of technologies available in 2025-2035. The committee will broadly consider the types of technologies that might emerge over this time period and their impacts on fuel consumption, including internal combustion powertrains, electric propulsion systems, as well as non-powertrain technologies. It will also consider shifts in the personal transportation and vehicle ownership models and how such shifts might impact vehicle technologies. For more details, download the Statement of Task.

 

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Announcements

The committee will host a webinar series on The Future of Light Duty Vehicle Technologies and Infrastructure. See topics, dates, and registration here.  Recordings of past webinars here.


Sign up for updates about events for the study by subscribing to our email list.


Engage in the study by submitting comments.
 


 

Project Information

At the request of the U.S. Department of Transportation, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine is undertaking a new study on fuel economy technologies for light-duty vehicles.


 
Events

January 24-25, 2019
Meeting 4
University of California-Davis
Davis, CA

 

October 15-16, 2018
Meeting 3
Center for Automotive Research
Ann Arbor, MI

 

July 16-17, 2018
Meeting 2
Keck Center 105
Washington, DC 

 

May 10-11, 2018
Meeting 1
Keck Center 201
Washington, DC
This meeting will be closed to the public


  

Statement of Task

The committee that will be formed to carry out this study will continue the work of the National Academies for the U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in the assessment of technologies for improving the fuel economy of light-duty vehicles. While the committee will need to consider the near term deployment of fuel economy technologies, it is tasked with looking out into the 2025 to 2035 time frame to provide updated estimates of the potential cost, fuel economy improvements, and barriers to deployment of technologies. The committee will need to broadly consider the types of technologies that might emerge over this time period and their impacts on fuel consumption. It will also consider shifts in the personal transportation and vehicle ownership models and how such shifts might impact vehicle technologies. The committee will build on the assessments completed in earlier National Academies reports, including the first two phases of this series of studies Assessment of Fuel Economy Technologies for Improving Light-Duty Vehicle Fuel Economy (2011) and Costs, Effectiveness, and Deployment of Fuel Economy Technologies for Light-Duty Vehicles (2015). It will reflect on developments since these reports were issued and investigate any new technologies and trends in consumer behaviors that may become important by 2035. In particular, the committee will:

  1. Examine the costs (direct and indirect), fuel economy improvements, and potential implementation timing for high volume production of technologies for internal combustion engine powertrains.
  2. Examine the costs (direct and indirect), fuel economy improvements, and potential implementation timing for high volume production of electric powertrain technologies. The committee shall include an examination of the cost, performance, durability, usable battery capacity and other issues related to critical components, including batteries, ultracapacitors, and power electronics and auxiliary vehicle systems such as heating and cooling. The committee will also address transition issues associated with meeting the infrastructure needs for such powertrains.
  3. Examine the costs (direct and indirect), fuel economy improvements, and potential implementation timing for high volume production of non-powertrain technologies including mass reduction, aerodynamics, low rolling resistance tires, and vehicle accessories. For mass reduction, the committee shall consider opportunities for a range of baseline vehicle materials, including steel, high strength steel, mixed metal, aluminum, polymers, composites and others. The committee shall include an examination of methodologies for cost assessment of mass reduction, including equipment and retooling costs, manufacturing issues, supply chain requirements, and implications for durability, safety, and reparability.
  4. Consider the current and possible future role of flexibilities in the CAFE program on the introduction of new technologies, including credit trading, treatment of alternative fuel vehicles, off-cycle provisions, and flexibilities for small volume manufacturers.
  5. Assess how shifts in personal transportation and vehicle ownership models might evolve out to 2035, how these changes could impact fuel economy-related vehicle technologies and operation, and how these changes might impact vehicle scrappage and vehicle miles traveled. Scenarios might be used to bound this task.
  6. Examine consumer behavior issues associated with new fuel efficiency technologies, including acceptance of any utility or performance impacts and cost of new technologies. This could include considerations of consumers' willingness to pay for improvements in fuel economy and other vehicle attributes.
  7. Write a final report documenting the committee's conclusions and recommendations.

 

Contact Us

 

Please email questions or comments to:

 

Elizabeth Zeitler, Study Director

ezeitler@nas.edu

  

 


 

 

Background Material

 

The National Academies has a long history of working on questions related to vehicle fuel economy technologies.  Check out these related resources for more information: 

 

Cost, Effectiveness, and Deployment of Fuel Economy Technologies for Light-Duty Vehicles (2015)

Overcoming Barriers to Deployment of Plug-in Electric Vehicles (2015)

Technologies and Approaches to Reducing the Fuel Consumption of Medium- and Heavy-Duty Vehicles (2010)