Survey: Fuel efficiency a top concern of automotive engineers

By Rhoda Miel
News Editor

Published: August 7, 2013 9:30 am ET
Updated: August 7, 2013 4:52 pm ET

Related to this story

Topics Industry Trends, Automotive
Companies & Associations DuPont Co.

TRAVERSE CITY, MICH. — The last time the auto industry took on fuel economy, it was because of an oil embargo that prompted lines at gasoline stations, higher prices and the first Corporate Average Fuel Economy requirements in the U.S.

That was in the 1970s.

Now, there is no immediate sign that oil prices are going to surge anytime soon, but government regulations across the globe are ensuring the industry will take fuel economy very seriously — and almost no one expects those regulations will ease up.

In its annual survey of auto industry insiders, DuPont Co. and WardsAuto found that only 8 percent of the respondents expected regulations would relax, compared to nearly half — 47 percent — anticipating requirements would strengthen further.

The survey, released Aug. 7 during the Center for Automotive Research's Management Briefing Seminars in Traverse City, was conducted by Paramount Research for DuPont and WardsAuto, with 1,300 responses. About half of those people participating are in engineering or research and development.

In the U.S., automakers are working toward a CAFE standard of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025, while the European Union is looking at more stringent carbon dioxide standards for 2020 — although the EU recently delayed a vote to adopt those standards.

Those regulations will be the biggest driver in fuel performance and clean technology demands over the coming decades, noted Kevin Layden, director of electrified powertrain engineering for Ford Motor Co. of Dearborn, Mich.

"You must reduce your [emissions] output," added Bob Lee, vice president and head of the engine, powertrain and electrified propulsion systems engineering for Chrysler Group LLC of Auburn Hills, Mich. "It doesn't matter if you're in Europe, in China, in the U.S. or South America."

More than 60 percent of survey participants said that lighter weight has gained value in automotive business discussions since 2011, while plastics is gaining potential as a future alternative material to meet lighter weight goals.

In past surveys, aluminum led the list of materials expected to help meet fuel economy standards. For 2013, aluminum tied with engineering plastics.

On a five-point scale asking which materials would be more useful in meeting fuel economy requirements, both aluminum and engineering plastics scored 4.2, with advanced composites just behind at 4.1.

"Development activity with automakers is intensifying, especially related to new composite and multi-material solutions that deliver the strength and stiffness needed for performance and safety," said Mike Day, DuPont automotive Performance Polymers development director in North America.


Comments

Survey: Fuel efficiency a top concern of automotive engineers

By Rhoda Miel
News Editor

Published: August 7, 2013 9:30 am ET
Updated: August 7, 2013 4:52 pm ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

Plastics help designers bring home the gold

July 22, 2014 2:15 pm ET

Products with polymer content received multiple gold recognitions in the 2014 International Design Excellence Awards.    More

Image

Illinois injection molder expands

July 21, 2014 1:23 pm ET

Automotive supplier All-Rite Industries Inc. has added two new injection molding machines to its operations.    More

Image

Material Insights: PE makers declare force majeure

July 21, 2014 1:53 pm ET

Plus, changes in PET bottle resin price, PolyOne closing facilities and CCP Composites gets bought.    More

Image

More head-up displays going into cars, with improved information, graphics

July 21, 2014 10:48 am ET

Head-up displays with "augmented reality," the technology that employs much of the windshield as a display area for data and images, is poised to...    More

Image

Infiltrator goes very large scale for injection press

July 18, 2014 1:45 pm ET

Infiltrator Systems Inc. has designed and built a mammoth injection press, with 6,000 tons of clamping force, to mold septic tank halves measuring 15 ...    More

Market Reports

Injection Molders Market Report & Ranking 2014

This special package contains our 132-page 2014 Market Report on the Injection Molding segment and our exclusive 2014 RANKINGS database of 500+ Injection Molders for a discounted package price.

Learn more

Plastics Recycling Market Review & Outlook 2014

This special report from Plastics News examines the North American plastics recycling industry and provides insight into indicators that impact market viability, including Resin pricing trends for virgin and recycled market material and historical Resin production trends for post- consumer and industrial waste.

Learn more

Shale Gas Market - Analysis of North American Region

This report highlights the impact of shale-based natural gas on the North American plastics market and features an in-depth analysis of production trends in the United States during 2013 and a forecast for 2014 and beyond.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

September 10, 2014 - September 12, 2014Plastics Caps & Closures 2014

February 4, 2015 - February 6, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

More Events