Thursday, October 20, 2011

Automotive Engineers Wary of 54.5 mpg CAFE Rule.

Here's an excellent article from Ward's Auto, regarding the feasibility of meeting the 54.5 mpg CAFE standard by 2025.  Automotive engineers weigh in on whether or not it is feasible (it is not), and what cars will look like if it were.
Nearly 1,100 engineers and designers who currently work at auto makers and suppliers express doubts about being able to meet the target without affecting vehicle safety, size and cost. The WardsAuto survey was conducted by Paramount Research and sponsored by DuPont.

While environmental groups such as the Union of Concerned Scientists and the Natural Resources Defense Council claim a corporate fleet average of 60 mpg (3.9 L/100 km) or better could be reached with currently available technology, only one in four automotive engineers and designers agree.

“A C-segment car will be considered huge by 2025; bye bye to the CUV/SUV, light-duty pickup trucks and D-segment or larger cars,” another says.

“Consumers don't understand what this will cost, and environmental groups don't care,” is a typical comment.

“The diametrically opposed demands of ever-increasing safety requirements and ever-increasing fuel efficiency will require materials that currently may be feasible from an engineering standpoint but are not feasible from an economic and sales viewpoint,” one engineer says.

“Anytime government regulates industry, the outcome is usually disastrous. (Government regulators) are pushing for electric cars that are not feasible except possibly for urban commuting unless there are major new technologies developed that address range and costs. Ultimately, the government will drive the market to subcompact cars to support their agenda,” a respondent says.
You can read the article in its entirety here.


Castanea_d said...

Yeah. To this non-engineer, there does not seem to be any way that this would be possible. Sure, you can build vehicles that get 50 to 60 mpg. They will be small, lightweight, expensive. Emphasis on small -- a pickup truck or minivan or SUV would be pretty much impossible. But there are some people who need precisely such a vehicle.

And if you are selling such as part of your fleet, they will have to be counterbalanced by a lot of vehicles getting even better milage, something like 70 mpg.

I agree about the limitations on electrics, mostly the limited range. But they are also in a sense just passing the buck; the energy still has to come from somewhere.

Anglican Beach Party said...

Thanks, Castanea_d!

You bring forward some great points. It is a pet peeve of mine that many "greens" think and act as if electricity were a FUEL! It is not. It is merely a way of storing energy. The majority fuel behind all those "eco-friendly" electric cars is ... COAL.

The 50 to 60 mpg cars will not only be small and expensive. They will also be relatively unsafe. Safety devices add a lot of weight to vehicles.

jackie100 said...

The only concern is that car prices may increase as a result of CAFE. The cost of the development of these efficient cars will most likely passed on to consumers.

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Anglican Beach Party said...

Thanks, Jackie.

That is only one of many concerns. For instance, families with more than 3 or 4 kids may not be able to purchase any vehicle large enough to carry them all at once.

Safety is a real concern. Safety features weigh a lot. Government artificially subsidizing electric cars while ignoring huge American petroleum reserves is a concern.

Reduced performance (acceleration) is a definite concern. It's just wrong from so many perspectives.