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UNITED STATES president Joe Biden is set to announce softer annual emissions requirements and a slower transition toward an all-electric vehicle fleet says a report published by Reuters this week.

 

The news comes as a response to OEM and union requests suggesting EV technology is still too costly for mainstream consumers, and that more time is required to develop suitable charging infrastructure.

 

In April of last year, the US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) proposed a 56 per cent reduction in new vehicle emissions by 2032. Under that proposal, OEMs were expected to aim for a 60 per cent electric vehicle model mix by 2030 and 67 per cent by 2032.

 

Under the revised proposal – expected to be announced next month (March 2023) – the USEPA will slow the pace of its proposed annual emissions requirements through the end of the decade. Reuters suggests the new pace is expected to result in EVs accounting for less than 60 per cent of the total vehicles produced by 2030.

 

In backing the move, the United Automobile Workers (UAW) says the USEPA proposal should be revised to increase stringency “more gradually” and occur over a “greater period of time”.

 

Similarly, the Alliance for Automotive Innovation (AAI), a trade group representing Ford, General Motors, Stellantis, Toyota, Volkswagen and others, last year called the initial proposal “neither reasonable nor achievable” and urged that a lower rate of between 40 and 50 per cent combined EV, HEV, and PHEV uptake is instead implemented.

 

“Give the market and supply chains a chance to catch up, maintain a customer’s ability to choose, let more public charging come online, let industrial credits and the Inflation Reduction Act do their thing and impact the industrial shift,” said AAI chief executive officer John Bozzella.

 

A USEPA spokesperson told Reuters that the proposal remains the subject of interagency review and that it plans to finalise a ruling that is “readily achievable, secures reductions in dangerous air and climate pollution and ensures economic benefits” soon.

 

The USEPA is also expected to address other concerns raised by OEMs, including a proposal to “drastically reduce particulate matter from petrol-powered vehicles”, which the industry has argued would effectively require petrol particulate filters on every petrol-powered vehicle produced.

 

It is understood OEMs also object to the USEPA plan to largely eliminate the use of enrichment, a strategy to boost performance and prevent engine damage from hot exhaust gases, which they determine would bar them from access to particular engine technologies.

 

Reuters further reports that OEMs have “sounded the alarm” over the Energy Department’s proposal to significantly revise how it calculates petroleum-equivalent fuel economy ratings for electric vehicles in the Transportation Department’s Corporate Average Fuel Economy program, saying such a move would sharply boost fines for non-compliance.

 

The US Energy Department sent its revised proposal to the White House for review earlier this month. Outcomes relating to the proposal are expected to be announced before the middle of the year.

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