US automakers are facing a difficult problem; by 2025, they must whittle carbon-dioxide emissions down to half of their 2012 levels fleetwide, which would equate to somewhere around 54.5 mpg. That’s no easy task, and chances are that Detroit’s “Big Three” – Ford, Chrysler, and General Motors – will need to spend a considerable amount of engineering effort to solving the problem, exhausting almost every conceivable solution to get there.
To that end, Automotive News reports that each of the Big Three have put in requests with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), requesting emissions credits for several “off-cycle” technologies which, combined, theoretically ought to help the automakers reach the EPA’s mandates.
For instance, AN reports that two of the Big Three – Ford, and Fiat Chrysler – have put in requests to have reflective glass and paint formulations count toward “off-cycle” carbon credits. These might not be among the most immediately obvious carbon-cutting technologies, but paint and glass which reflect solar rays rather than absorbing them result in lower cabin temperatures on hot days, meaning that the air-conditioner can be run less, improving fuel economy.
In addition to those measures, the Big Three are petitioning the EPA to credit features like ventilated seats – which can further aid in the reduction of a reliance on A/C – and the use of more efficient LED bulbs. Ford Motor Company has also petitioned the EPA to include things like its automatic start/stop technology, active grille shutters which can help lower aerodynamic drag at speed, and engineering feats which allow the engine and transmission to reach operating temperature more quickly.
General Motors, meanwhile, is requesting credits from the EPA for a relatively new A/C compressor from Denso, which is substantially more efficient than previous units. The compressor first appeared on the Cadillac ATS for 2013, reports AN, and has since reached all of GM’s full-size trucks.
These EPA carbon credit requests from the Big Three are still awaiting approval.