2025 Mileage Rules Will Reshape Auto Industry

Green Car Reports

Cur­rent­ly, the U.S. has rough­ly 250 mil­lion vehi­cles on the roads, of which less than 2 per­cent are hybrids and plug-ins of all kinds.

But that could all change as we edge clos­er to the year 2025 and EPA stan­dards.

The U.S. has rough­ly 250 mil­lion vehi­cles on the roads, of which less than 2 per­cent are hybrids and plug-ins of all kinds.

Nonethe­less, both tech­nolo­gies are impor­tant because they’re at the lead­ing edge of the elec­tri­fi­ca­tion of the auto­mo­bile.

If you think about it, a car is one of the last major con­sumer appli­ances that doesn’t run on elec­tric­i­ty.

Not only are most home appli­ances electric–though not all, certainly–so are out­door appli­ances like weed-whack­ers, lawn mow­ers, and the like.

We won’t all be dri­ving plug-in cars tomor­row. Or by 2020. Or even by 2050.

But the pro­por­tion of elec­tri­cal­ly-run acces­sories and pow­er­trains in the fleet will increase sig­nif­i­cant­ly start­ing … well, about now.

If you buy a small­er car from pret­ty much any mak­er these days, you may (or may not) have noticed that its pow­er steer­ing is no longer hydraulic.

Instead, a major­i­ty of new cars are now fit­ted with elec­tric pow­er steer­ing (EPS) that uses an elec­tric motor to move the steer­ing rack or arms, which saves weight and pow­er.

Hybrids and plug-in cars also now have elec­tric air-con­di­tion­ing com­pres­sors, so that the cli­mate con­trol remains on even when a hybrid’s engine switch­es off.

Those com­pres­sors are still more expen­sive than the old com­pres­sors dri­ven by a belt run­ning off the engine’s crank­shaft pul­ley, and many of them require a high-volt­age bat­tery pack found only in hybrids or electrics.

But that’s anoth­er acces­so­ry that will move toward elec­tri­fi­ca­tion.

Again, it’s all in ser­vice of meet­ing the much tougher 2025 fuel-econ­o­my rules, while automak­ers do their absolute best to keep changes to user per­cep­tions of how cars actu­al­ly func­tion to a minimum–or invis­i­ble.

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