The committee formed to carry out this study will continue the work of the National Research Council for the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in the assessment of technologies and programs for improving the fuel economy of light-duty vehicles. While the committee will need to consider the development and deployment of fuel economy technologies up to 2019, it is tasked with providing updated estimates of the cost, potential efficiency improvements, and barriers to commercial deployment of technologies that might be employed from 2020 to 2030. It will reassess the technologies analyzed in NRC reports, Impact and Effectiveness of Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) Standards (2002) and Assessment of Fuel Economy Technologies for Improving Light-Duty Vehicle Fuel Economy (2011). It will reflect developments since these reports were issued and investigate any new technologies that may become important by 2030. The committee will also examine and make recommendations for improvements to the CAFE program. In particular, the committee shall:
- Broadly assess the methodologies and programs used to develop standards for passenger cars and light trucks under current and proposed CAFE programs and make recommendations for future programs, including recommendations concerning the attributes used for the standards, the structure of the program necessary with the introduction of alternative technology vehicles, and the assumptions and methods used in analysis of proposed regulatory activities.
- Examine the potential for reducing mass by up to 20%, including: technologies such as materials substitution; downsizing of existing vehicle design, systems or components; and the use of new vehicle, structural, system or component designs or other mass substitution/weight reduction categories. The committee shall consider the implications of such weight reductions on vehicle safety.
- Examine other vehicle technologies, including aerodynamic drag reduction, improved efficiency of accessories such as alternators and air conditioners, and conversion of engine-driven equipment to electricity (e.g. power steering, fans, and water pumps).
- Examine electric power train technologies, including the capabilities of hybrids, plug-in hybrids, battery electric vehicles, and fuel cell vehicles. The committee shall include an examination of the cost, performance, range, durability (including performance degradation over time) and safety issues related to lithium ion and other possible advanced energy storage technologies that are necessary to enable plug-in and full function electric vehicles.
- Examine advanced gasoline and diesel engine technologies that will increase fuel economy. Advanced gasoline technologies to be examined include the high Brake Mean Effective Pressure (BMEP) and Homogeneous-Charge Compression Ignition (HCCI) engines. For diesel engines, include the capabilities of emissions control systems on advanced diesel engines to meet current and possible future criteria pollutant emissions standards, impacts on fuel consumption of emissions control systems, and the fuel characteristics needed to enable low emissions diesel technologies. For all these engines, the committee shall consider their ability to meet load demands; cost; the need for after-treatment; and market acceptability of those engines.
- Assess the assumptions, concepts, and methods used in estimating the costs of fuel economy improvements. In particular, consider the degree to which time-based cost learning for well-developed existing technologies and/or volume-based cost learning for newer technologies should apply, what the time or volume basis should be, and whether other methods of applying cost learning are practical. Also, examine the differences between Retail Price Equivalent (RPE) and Indirect Cost
Multipliers (ICM), determine appropriate values for each, and recommend which method is preferable to use for estimating indirect costs of technologies.
- Provide an analysis of how fuel economy technologies may be practically integrated into automotive manufacturing processes and how such technologies are likely to be applied in response to requirements for improving fuel economy. Include an analysis of how technology implementation is likely to impact capital equipment and engineering, research and development (ER&D) costs, and at what rate such technologies might be implemented to meet increases in fuel economy standards.
- Examine the costs and benefits in vehicle value that could accompany the introduction of advanced vehicle technologies. Consider the total cost of operation of these vehicles by examining potential cost impacts on fuel, maintenance, insurance, registration fees, and other factors. In addition, assess the impact on consumers of factors that may change how they use their vehicles, such as reduction of driving range and loss of utility.
- Examine test procedures and calculations used to determine fuel economy values for purposes of determining compliance with CAFE standards, identifying potential changes to make those procedures and calculations more relevant to and neutral in their treatment of technologies considered by the committee. In considering test procedures, the committee should examine the fuel saving potential for technologies such as adaptive cruise control, real-time traffic alerts, tire pressure sensors, and real-time fuel economy information. This analysis shall evaluate the possibility of incorporating the savings produced by such technologies within CAFE test procedures.
- To the extent possible, the committee will address uncertainties and perform sensitivity analyses of its cost estimates and provide guidance to NHTSA on improving its uncertainty analyses given the relatively long time frame for these future estimates.
- Write a final report documenting its conclusions and recommendations.