EPA ruling on emissions coming out soon: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will be releasing its final ruling on the fuel economy and emissions standards this week, as the deadline approaches Sunday, April 1. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt is expected to announce a cut in the standards and issue a new rule-making timeline. The new standards could be released as early as this summer. Bloomberg and Reuters, citing anonymous sources, reported on Friday that the second round of rule, covering 2022-2025, will be relaxed. Automakers had asked the Trump administration to stick to the original April 1 deadline, and to block the Obama administration’s late decision to accelerate and end the review. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has differing concerns than the EPA under the Obama administration. Margo Oge, the former EPA official who helped develop the fuel economy and emissions standards, said she is worried that NHTSA is preparing to “gut the 2025 program.” Her concerns have been raised by reports in Bloomberg that NHTSA was considering options such as dropping fleetwide fuel economy to 35.7 mpg by 2026, down from the 46.6 mpg target set under the Obama administration.
Nissan wants to maintain EV lead: Nissan wants to maintain its market leader position in electric vehicle sales gained through the Nissan Leaf by launching eight new EVs and hitting a one million annual EV sales target by 2022. The new strategy will also mean bringing out 20 new models with autonomous driving technology to 20 markets by that time. All of its Nissan and Infiniti models will have 100% connectivity by that time, the company said. The Japanese automaker plans to increase global annual revenue during that time to 16.5 trillion yen ($160.0 billion), from the 12.8 trillion yen ($120.0 billion) announced in the fiscal year that ended last month. That will come through a sustained 8% operating profit margin, Nissan executives said at a briefing on Friday at Nissan’s global headquarters in Yokohama, Japan.
Mack Trucks finding fuel savings at ports: Volvo Group’s Mack Trucks will be using “geofencing” technology to switch over a plug-in hybrid truck between electricity and diesel in a pilot program. Mack trucks is testing out an automated GPS-based system that can switch between multiple modes of operation to reduce diesel consumption and air pollution. The geofencing utilizes GOA and radio-frequency identification technology at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, which has been able to increase fuel savings in the 25-to-30 percent range. The ports have become a hub for alternative fuel testing; that includes a Cummins Westport project testing low NOx natural gas engines, Toyota testing a fuel cell electric drayage truck, and a few battery-electric BYD drayage trucks moving freight from the ports to area warehouses.