This Week’s Top 10: Ford wants to electrify China market, White House wants to pass cost of EPA vehicle emissions testing over to automakers

by Jon LeSage, editor and publisher, Green Auto Market

Here’s my take on the 10 most significant and interesting occurrences during the past week…….

  1. Ford joining China EV market: Ford Motor Co. is now in agreement with Daimler, Tesla, and General Motors on the importance of China in the global electric vehicle market. Ford is launching the Mondeo Energi plug-in hybrid in China early next year and an all-electric small SUV in that market within five years. The EV will go more than 280 miles on a charge, and will also be sold in the U.S. and Europe. The automaker said that 70 percent of all Ford nameplates will have an electrified option in China by 2025; that will include hybrids, plug-in hybrids, and battery electric vehicles. That lineup will include all vehicles manufactured jointly through Changan Ford JV, which is a collaboration with Changan Automobile. EV sales are expected to stay strong in China, whether or not the government cuts back on its generous subsidies. “The time is right for Ford to expand our EV lineup and investments in China,” said Ford CEO Mark Fields. “We are prioritizing our electrification efforts on China to reflect its importance as a global electrified vehicle market and to make lives better, simpler and more cost effective for Chinese consumers.”
  2. EPA lab fees: The White House would like to see automakers pay for testing in the Environmental Protection Agency’s emissions testing lab. The Trump administration is proposing a $48 million budget cut that would close down the lab and cut 168 jobs. It would mean “pretty much shutting down the testing lab,” said Margo Oge, who led the EPA’s Office of Transportation and Air Quality under the Obama administration. Funding would come in by increasing fees that automakers and engine manufacturers would be required to pay for testing.
  3. Cap-and-trade protected for now: California’s cap-and-trade system was solidified by a state court – at least until 2020. The state program allows companies to purchase carbon credits through an auction or a secondary market and has produced millions of dollars in funding programs for clean transportation and fuels. A state appeals court has found that it’s not an illegal tax due to voluntary participation and the purchase of something with value, which keeps it from being a tax, according to the ruling. The program will stay in place through 2020 before becoming vulnerable to legal challenges. Since its launch in 2012, California has taken in about $4.4 billion on auction proceeds to be spent on clean energy, low-carbon transportation, and other programs supporting reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.
  4. 4 in I.D. lineup: According to Volkswagen design chief Klaus Bischoff, the fourth I.D. all-electric vehicle, a concept sedan, will be revealed at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September. It won’t be revealed before then, but it got a lot of “wows” from VW colleagues when they saw it for the first time, he said. That’s the fourth in the I.D. series to be built on the new MEB modular electric platform. The I.D. hatchback compact concept, unveiled in September at the Paris auto show, was the first and is scheduled for production in 2020. The I.D. Buzz microbus concept was revealed in January at the Detroit auto show, and the automaker will be showing the third one, an I.D. SUV concept, soon at the Shanghai Motor Show. The company recently told analysts that the I.D. concept hatchback is expected to have its design approved this August for a 2020 launch.
  5. Hybrid police car: Ford is rolling out the first hybrid police car, which was designed to meet certification standards law enforcement agencies require to meet their full pursuit ratings. The Police Responder Hybrid Sedan is being built on the Fusion Hybrid. The automaker designed the pursuit vehicle for agencies to cut fuel costs and decrease emissions while driving and idling. Ford received an EPA-estimated mpg of 38 combined city and highway, more than double that of the Ford Police Interceptor with its 3.7-liter, V6 engine and 18 mpg combined EPA rating. The police departments in Los Angeles and New York City will be taking deliveries this summer.
  6. AutoDrive Challenge: General Motors is sponsoring AutoDrive Challenge, a university competition with SAE International in autonomous vehicles. At SAE World Congress Experience in Detroit, they announced these universities will be demonstrating automated Chevy Bolts during a three-year challenge. Kettering University, Michigan State University, Michigan Tech, North Carolina A&T University, Texas A&M University, University of Toronto, University of Waterloo, and Virginia Tech are now competing. GM and SAE have been heavily involved in student competitions for advanced vehicle technology for years. Formula SAE race car design competition started in 1980, and GM is now sponsoring EcoCar 3 with the U.S. Department of Energy.
  7. TurboDock chargers: AeroVironment Inc. announced today that Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport will install 102 of its TurboDock EV charging stations in the airport’s parking structures. Packed with features specifically designed to make it ideal for airports, including modular charging configurations, 120V capability and mobile app based access control, TurboDock helps EV drivers proceed with certainty, the company said. The installation is the most recent effort by the City of Atlanta and the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport to turn ATL into one of the greenest airports in the world.
  8. March EV sales: Tesla took No. 1 and No. 2 in U.S. electric vehicles sales, with about 3,100 and 2,500 units sold, respectively. The Chevy Volt came in third with 2,132 units sold and has been the top performing plug-in hybrid in U.S. sales through the first quarter. The Prius Prime was fourth on the list with 1,618 units sold.
  9. ACT Expo autonomous vehicle panel: “The Future of Intelligent Transportation: Connected & Autonomous Vehicles” will be one of the speaker panels at the upcoming Advanced Clean Transportation Expo (ACT Expo 2017). Attendees can learn more about the latest advancements in innovative vehicle technologies that are disrupting the way vehicles interact with other vehicles, the environment around them, and drivers. Featured speakers include Mike Roeth, North American Council for Freight Efficiency, an industry leader who understands the phases of truck automation and the expected ROI; Bill Burns, City of Columbus, Ohio, who played an integral role in combining electric and automated technology to win DOT’s Smart City Challenge; and Joanna Wadsworth, City of Las Vegas on launching the first electric autonomous shuttle on U.S. public roads. For further details on vehicle displays at the conference, you can view the vehicles list.
  10. ZEV mandate not going away: Read all about Plug In America’s history, along with the film “Who Killed the Electric Car?”, that goes back to 2003 and the California Air Resources Board’s controversial decision to become heavily influenced by pressure from automakers and scale back the zero emissions mandate. Times have changed, with CARB unanimously deciding to stay with the ZEV program as planned without any changes through 2025.

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