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


The Board on Energy and Environmental Systems, part of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences (DEPS) has released a report that estimates the cost, potential efficiency improvements, and barriers to commercial deployment of fuel reduction technologies that might be employed from 2020 to 2030 in next-generation light-duty vehicles. This report describes promising technologies and makes recommendations for their inclusion on the list of technologies applicable for the 2017-2025 CAFE standards.

The light-duty vehicle fleet is expected to undergo substantial technological changes over the next several decades. New powertrain designs, alternative fuels, advanced materials and significant changes to the vehicle body are being driven by increasingly stringent fuel economy and greenhouse gas emission standards. By the end of the next decade, cars and light-duty trucks will be more fuel efficient, weigh less, emit less air pollutants, have more safety features, and will be more expensive to purchase relative to current vehicles.

Though the gasoline-powered spark ignition engine will continue to be the dominant powertrain configuration even through 2030, such vehicles will be equipped with advanced technologies, materials, electronics and controls, and aerodynamics. And by 2030, the deployment of alternative methods to propel and fuel vehicles and alternative modes of transportation, including autonomous vehicles, will be well underway. What are these new technologies – how will they work, and will some technologies be more effective than others?

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