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CALSTART survey finds Tier-1 suppliers want stronger post-2026 fuel economy targets

The third installment of a CALSTART-commissioned survey of Tier-1 US automotive suppliers found that a majority (62%) of the suppliers responding to the survey disagreed with the Trump administration’s rollback of national fuel economy standards. Only 15% of respondents agreed with the rollback, and the rest were undecided. The same majority (62%) agreed that policies which force or encourage the uptake of fuel efficiency technologies tend to encourage job growth at their companies.

The survey was conducted by Ricardo Energy and Environment. The survey remained open for seven weeks, and upon closure on 11 September 2020, 21 complete responses and 5 partial responses were received, equating to a response rate of 6% (of 377 total contacts). Of the respondents, 20 out of 26 (77%) work for suppliers which produce some components for EVs, such as batteries, motors, thermal management systems and drivetrains.

Eighty-one percent of respondents agreed that ambitious standards encourage innovation and investment. An overwhelming majority of the respondents (92%) said that clean car standards should be made more ambitious post-2026, to further drive innovation in the sector and to help the US supplier industry remain competitive in an increasingly efficient global marketplace.

Another supermajority (89%) agreed that it is important to start setting post-2026 standards immediately to allow for sufficient planning horizons.

The same number of respondents (17 out of 21) recommended annual greenhouse gas emissions reductions, with the majority recommending an annual reduction of 3% or greater. This would align with the European Commission’s post-2020 standards, which reduce annual emissions 4.5% on average between 2025-2030.

A small majority of respondents (14 out of 26) indicated that they would support the implementation of a 100% ZEV sales target for 2035-40 to allow the US to align with global requirements, and to remain competitive. In addition, the majority of respondents (16 out of 26) stated that achieving 100% ZEV sales by 2035-40 for the LDV market is viable, indicating the existing technical feasibility.

However, of those that did not consider the target to be viable, the lack of political feasibility was referenced. The survey was done prior to California Governor Gavin Newsom’s Executive Order calling for 100% ZEV sales by 2035.

A majority of respondents (62%) stated that policies that encourage the uptake of ZEVs generally result in job growth at their company and even more (71%) agreed they would lead to job growth in the auto supplier sector as a whole.

In particular, 62% agreed that battery electric vehicle (BEV) technology has exceeded expectations more significantly than advances in other technologies, compared to what was anticipated in 2016. Seventy-one percent of suppliers said that possible stronger post-2026 standards are causing a shift towards investment in ZEV technologies at their companies.

Eighty-one percent of suppliers agreed that companies that are leaders in vehicle efficiency technologies will be more successful over the next 10–15 years.


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