EPA official says auto tailpipe rules still needed thumbnail

EPA official says auto tailpipe rules still needed

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With the Biden administration expected to announce new standards for vehicle greenhouse gas emissions on Thursday, industry experts say there will be a greater reliance on electrification to meet the president’s climate and energy goals.

As automakers set targets for electric vehicle-only lineups and seek to sell more electrified options in the U.S., EPA official Bill Charmley says the agency’s performance-based emissions requirements ensure the industry is making progress on meeting clean air and environmental goals.

“It’s not the type of thing that you want to leave it to chance,” said Charmley, director of the assessment and standards division within EPA’s Office of Transportation and Air Quality.

Charmley spoke Wednesday during a hybrid version of the annual CAR Management Briefing Seminars.

“We want the industry to be successful on this transition,” he said. “We want to make sure that EPA’s policies help provide long-term goals and stability, if possible.”

Charmley, who was unable to comment on the EPA’s soon-to-be proposed rule on vehicle emissions, said the agency’s standards also provide a “level playing field” to make sure all automakers work toward meeting the same requirements.

Automakers will invest $330 billion in electrification through 2025, said Julia Rege, vice president of energy and environment at the Alliance for Automotive Innovation, the trade association that represents most major automakers as well as some suppliers and tech companies in the U.S.

“As we are seeing these commitments being made about electric vehicles, do we have the right policies in place to make sure that these vehicles are going to be successful?” she asked.

Rege said it is critical to have both federal and state action, including incentives for consumers and investments in EV charging infrastructure as well as hydrogen fueling stations.

For suppliers, more stringent standards and a transition to EVs means big investments in new technologies to help automakers meet the requirements.

“We’re here and ready to support the OEMs in their quest to deliver whatever technology they’d like to,” said Brian Daugherty, chief technology officer at the Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association.

For electric pickup maker Rivian, it’ll be business as usual no matter the stringency of the proposed rule, said Chris Nevers, senior director of policy.

“Rivian was going to build EVs before this rule, and they’re going to build EVs after this rule,” Revers said. “We’re going to build EVs no matter what.”