Product innovation in the age of CAFE
In just over a decade, automotive manufacturers must meet new corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards that require an average of 54.5 miles per gallon for their fleet of vehicles. A new UMTRI conference on February 13 examined how vehicles and automotive technologies are changing to meet these standards by 2025.
The daylong event, Automotive Product Portfolios in the Age of CAFE, took place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the University of Michigan, Michigan League, 911 North University.
Manufacturers began making major changes to their fleets as early as 2006, as North American auto shows began featuring smaller European vehicles and new powertrain technologies. Each year since then has brought continued new powertrain entries, fuel-efficient updates to current powertrains, and numerous introductions of more fuel-efficient vehicles.
"The automotive industry has always been innovative, but the new CAFE regulations have forced the manufacturers and suppliers to look at completely new types of vehicles as well as new powertrains in order to meet future regulations," said UMTRI assistant research scientist Bruce Belzowski, who moderated the conference.
Speakers highlighted the new vehicle and powertrain entries of the manufacturers, the government's research on how the fleet is expected to change, and the technologies that suppliers are providing to help make the transition.
Among the speakers were Alexander Freitag of Bosch Corporation; John German of the International Council on Clean Transportation; Kevin Green of Volpe Center (NHTSA); Jeff Alson of U.S. EPA; Todd Lassa of Automobile Magazine; Nancy Homeister of Ford Motor Company; and Brandon Schoettle of UMTRI, who discussed UMTRI's Eco-Driving Index.
The event is part of UMTRI's Focus on the Future automotive research conference series. The next event will examine the Japanese automotive industry on April 17, 2013 at U-M.
Image: Honda EV concept car at the 2013 North American International Auto Show. Courtesy: Bruce Belzowski, UMTRI.