ABSTRACT. Improving the fuel efficiency of automobiles (cars and light trucks) is an important means of addressing transportation oil demand and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. This report examines the efficiency attainable through evolutionary changes in U.S. automobiles that have fueling characteristics as well as performance, size and other attributes similar to those of today. The analysis combines results from previous engineering studies of powertrain efficiency and load reduction with new examinations of rates of technology change and cost reduction.
With the backing of 13 car companies, the United Auto Workers and other parties, the Obama Administration announced the biggest step forward on auto efficiency in over a generation. The new Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) regulations just finalized target the greenhouse gas emissions equivalent of 54.5 mpg by model year 2025, double the efficiency of this year's vehicle fleet.
Building on the Bush Administration's 2007 proposal to raise automotive fuel economy by up to four percent per year, the Obama Administration is now considering regulations that might target a doubling of Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards by 2025. But just how much can the efficiency of cars and light trucks be improved, and at what cost?
Autonomous "robot" vehicles that can drive themselves hold great promise for transforming transportation systems across the world. Part of their appeal is the potential to greatly improve energy efficiency and reduce emissions. Not so fast, notes Bradley Berman in a critical piece on ReadWriteDrive, where he quotes Energy Institute research professor John DeCicco's admonition that technology "doesn't save us from ourselves."
Since 2005, the United States has embarked on a steady expansion of renewable fuels such as ethanol and biodiesel, widely touted as a win-win proposition for energy security and the environment. However, the promised breakthroughs in biofuel technology have greatly lagged the rapid ramp-up of production mandated by Congress while adverse side effects of the policy have become ever more clear.
More and more plug-in electric vehicles are hitting the roads each year, but is the technology really close to a tipping point for mass-market growth? In this analysis piece for the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), U-M Energy Institute research professor John DeCicco argues that the real turning point for EVs will come only after transportation systems are automated for driverless operation. Read the article here at Automotive Engineering International Online.
Carrie Morton, a member of the Energy Institute team since 2011, is leaving the Institute to join the University’s new Mobility Transformation Center (MTC) as Managing Director. The MTC is a public/private R&D partnership formed to develop the foundations of a commercially viable ecosystem of connected and automated vehicles that will dramatically improve transportation safety, sustainability, and accessibility. The Energy Institute is a partner supporter of the MTC.
Fuel economy must improve 57 percent in order for light-duty vehicles to match the current energy efficiency of commercial airline flights, says a University of Michigan researcher.
Michael Sivak, a research professor at the U-M Transportation Research Institute, examined recent trends in the amount of energy needed to transport a person a given distance in a light-duty vehicle (cars, SUVs, pickups and vans) or on a scheduled airline flight. His analysis measured BTU per person mile from 1970 to 2010.
Mcity is a partnership with industry, communities and government formed at U-M to transform global mobility by dramatically improving transportation safety, accessibility, efficiency and sustainability. Mcity draws on U-M’s broad strengths in engineering, urban planning, energy and information technologies, business, law and the social sciences to accelerate progress in diverse areas such as connected-vehicle systems, driverless vehicles, shared vehicle, and advanced propulsion systems.