EV Transition at Risk: NHTSA’s New Fuel Economy Proposal Sparks Concern

Could a new proposal jeopardize the automotive world’s shift to electric vehicles (EVs)? The Alliance for Automotive Innovation thinks so. The group recently expressed concerns about the NHTSA’s proposed fuel economy standards for the 2027-2032 model years. According to them, if these new standards are accepted, they might just impede the industry’s push to go electric.

The Heart of the Matter

In July, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) had a proposal on the table. They aimed for a 2% yearly fuel efficiency gain for cars and a 4% yearly leap for light trucks for the 2027-2032 model years. Compare this to last year’s targets: an 8% yearly rise for cars in 2024-2025, and a 10% jump in 2026.

The recent proposal would mandate an average fleet fuel economy nearing 58 mpg by 2032, a significant increase from the previous requirement of roughly 49 mpg by 2026.

Automotive Alliance Sounds the Alarm

In a virtual public gathering, Michael Hartrick of the Alliance for Automotive Innovation raised the alarm. He stated the NHTSA’s July proposal “exceeds maximum feasibility.” Hartrick didn’t just stop there. He voiced worries about penalties for not meeting these standards and an upcoming rule from the US Department of Energy.

This rule might pose challenges for automakers trying to juggle their EV commitments with making their traditional cars more efficient.

Hartrick didn’t mince words, saying, “We are concerned that NHTSA’s consideration of BEVs in developing its proposed standards… combined with DOE’s proposal to devalue the fuel economy of electric vehicles by 72% will result in serious misalignment, distracting manufacturers’ attention and resources from the EV transition.”

However, the NHTSA’s acting administrator, Ann Carlson, took a different stance. She emphasized the benefits: better car efficiency in the US, boosted US energy self-reliance, and increased savings for the average American.

As she put it, “These targets are consistent with Congress’ direction to conserve fuel and promote American energy independence and American auto manufacturing.”

A Crossroads for the EV Transition

As the debate heats up, the fate of the EV transition hangs in the balance. It’s clear that while the drive for efficiency is commendable, ensuring the proposed standards align with the broader vision of an electric future is crucial.

Haye Kesteloo
Haye Kesteloo

Haye Kesteloo is the Editor in Chief and Founder of EVXL.co, where he covers all electric vehicle-related news, covering brands such as Tesla, Ford, GM, BMW, Nissan and others. He fulfills a similar role at the drone news site DroneXL.co. Haye can be reached at haye @ evxl.co or @hayekesteloo.

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