EPA Trends on EVs and PHEVs; beginning of a “measurable and meaningful impact” on new vehicle fuel economy and emissions
The US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) annual report “Light-Duty Automotive Technology, Carbon Dioxide Emissions, and Fuel Economy Trends” (earlier post) has, in its past editions since its inception in 1975, treated alternative fuel vehicles—electric vehicles (EVs), plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs), and compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles—separately from gasoline and diesel vehicles, with the vast majority of its analysis limited to gasoline and diesel vehicles only.
The agency’s reasoning was that since alternative fuel vehicle production has generally been less than 0.1% of total vehicle production until very recently, the impact of excluding alternative fuel vehicles was negligible. With alternative fuel vehicles now approaching 1% of new vehicle production, however, they are in fact beginning to have a “measurable and meaningful impact” on overall new vehicle fuel economy and CO2 emissions.
|EPA Trends report|
|The EPA report is an authoritative reference for CO2emissions, fuel economy, and powertrain technology trends for new personal vehicles in the United States.|
|EPA obtains the detailed data supporting the report directly from automobile manufacturers; the agency has been collecting and maintaining these data since 1975. They comprise the most comprehensive database of its kind.|
|The Trends report has been published annually since 1975 and covers all passenger cars, sport utility vehicles, minivans, and all but the largest pickup trucks and vans.|
Thus, for the first time, in the newly released 2014 edition of the Trends report, EPA presents a brief analysis of the impact of alternative fuel vehicles on overall new vehicle fuel economy and CCO2O2 emissions. In the analysis, EPA uses overall fuel economy in mpg equivalent (mpge) and tailpipe CO2 emission values. Including net upstream CO2 emissions for vehicles operating on electricity would reduce the positive impact of alternative fuel vehicles on fleet-wide CO2 emissions, the agency noted.
In MY 2013, there were 11 EVs and 4 PHEVs available in the market; MY 2014 has 12 (counting the Tesla Model S 60 and 80 as one) EVs on the market and 10 PHEVs, along with the lone CNG car, the Honda Civic. (In this tally, the BMW i3 counts as an EV in its battery-only configuration and as a PHEV when equipped with a range extender.) More are coming to the US market, such as the Audi A3 e-tron plug-in hybrid and Volkswagen e-Golf BEV.
The combined production of alternative fueled vehicles has increased from under 1,200 in MY 2010, to nearly 105,000 in MY 2013. While alternative fueled vehicles still represent a very limited portion of overall new vehicle production (0.7% of overall light-duty vehicle production in MY 2013), this increase by a factor of about 100 in three years is both notable and significant.—EPA 2014 Trends report
Alt fuel vehicle impact on OEMs. Alternative fuel vehicles represented 0.7% of new vehicle production in MY 2013, according to EPA. Including mpge and tailpipe CO2—i.e., not full well-to-wheels CO2—emissions from alternative fuel vehicles (AFV) increases the overall MY 2013 new vehicle fuel economy by 0.1 mpg, and reduces the overall CO2 emissions by 3 g/mi.
Of the major manufacturers (production above 100,000 vehicles), Nissan had the highest concentration of AFV production at 2.0%, followed by GM at 1.2%. Including AFVs improves Nissan’s performance the most, increasing MY 2013 fuel economy by 0.4 mpge overall, and decreasing Nissan’s MY 2013 CO2 emissions by 7 g/mi.
Tesla, which sells exclusively EVs, had the highest fuel economy of any manufacturer in terms of mpge. (Interestingly, according to the EPA figures, the Tesla Model S also is toward the bottom of fuel consumption figures for battery-electric vehicles, surpassing only the BYD e6 (the lowest of the BEVs), the Toyota RAV-4 and the Mercedes-Benz B-Class—the last two which have powertrains from Tesla. The BMW i3 with the range extender posts fuel economy just below Tesla and above the B-Class BEV.)
The impact of AFVs on overall manufacturer numbers is still relatively small, and does not change the manufacturer rankings, for either adjusted fuel economy or adjusted CO2 emissions… This report will continue to track alternative fuel vehicles and may show more analysis including alternative fuel vehicles in future reports. This will be especially important if sales of alternative fuel vehicles continue to increase at the rapid rate of the last three years.—EPA Trends report