News & Events


Accounting for the Fuel Efficiency of Connected Vehicles

Although the COVID-19 pandemic showed us how telecommuting can radically reduce driving and associated emissions, it will constrain using car-shared services and buses. The fuel efficiency of personally owned passenger vehicles is again going to be extremely critical for climate protection and energy security.

Connectivity can provide the information needed to dramatically improve the vehicle fuel efficiency for all cars, whether they are powered by combustion or electricity. The benefits are, however, not certain if the information is intermittent. Moreover, the benefits are not captured in federal test procedures and therefore not aggressively pursued by manufacturers.

On Wednesday, June 10, 2020, UMEI held a webinar on this timely topic, hosted by Institute Director Anna Stefanopoulou. A recording of the event is available and slides are linked to the presentation titles below.

1:00-1:30 “The Role of Credits and Advanced Technologies in EPA’s Light Duty GHG Standards” by Aaron Hula, Technology Advisor with the U.S. EPA’s Office of Transportation and Air Quality.

1:30-2:00 “Lessons and Thoughts from the ARPA-E’s NEXTCAR Program” by Chris Atkinson, Director of the ARPA-E NEXTCAR program.

2:00-2:30 Questions (via chat), answers and discussion.


Aaron Hula

For the last 11 years, Aaron has been part of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Transportation and Air Quality. His responsibilities include technology evaluation, analysis of technology and regulatory trends, and development of future transportation policy and regulations for the United States. Prior to joining EPA, Aaron worked for Ford Motor Company’s Environmental Quality Office, where he focused on regulatory compliance and environmental control technology for manufacturing facilities worldwide. Aaron has a master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Michigan, and an undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering and Engineering and Public Policy from Carnegie Mellon University.

In his presentation, Aaron will give an overview of off-cycle credits and their role in the EPA’s light-duty GHG program, and explain how off-cycle credits could (or could not) be relevant for connected and automated vehicle technologies under the current regulations. In addition, the presentation is intended to facilitate a discussion about how EPA can account for future technologies that reduce emissions in model years beyond the existing regulations.

Chris Atkinson

Dr. Chris Atkinson is currently the Director of the Smart Mobility Initiative and professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at Ohio State University. From 2014 to 2020 he served as Program Director at the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) of the US Department of Energy. At ARPA-E he initiated and managed external research and development projects in the advanced clean energy area totaling over $120 million, including NEXTCAR, a program using connectivity and automation to improve vehicle energy efficiency. He is the founder of Atkinson LLC, a consultancy in advanced engine and vehicle technology. From 2009 to 2011 he was the Director of the West Virginia University Center for Alternative Fuels, Engines and Emissions, in addition to holding the rank of tenured professor in mechanical and aerospace engineering. He has authored over 70 peer-reviewed publications (with over 2200 citations) and holds two U.S. and international patents. He received the Lewis F. Moody Award from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) in 1992 in addition to being a Fellow of ASME, and is also a Fellow of the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE).