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The International Council on Clean Transport has developed a timeline showing the continued advancement of emissions standards on a global scale. (image: ICCT)

Emissions reductions continue to disrupt CV industry

As the automotive and commercial vehicle (CV) industries expand from being dominated by a single powertrain to a multitude of power and fuel options, disruption is propelling change to the entire mobility ecosystem. The emissions field continues to see this change as regulations further reduce output levels on a global scale.

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) remains a leading organization of reducing emission levels in the U.S. Based on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) reports of excessive ozone levels in the state, CARB is seeking to reduce NOx output by 80%. As further recognition of this issue, the Governor of California recently signed Senate Bill 100 to make the state’s energy production 60% renewable by 2030 and 100% renewable by 2045.

“As you know, California has some of the most extreme ozone and NOx concentration areas,” William Robertson of CARB told SAE COMVEC 2018 attendees. “A large contribution of NOx is heavy-duty vehicles and a big part of where that ozone comes from. There are large benefits to populations beyond just California’s borders.”

Two approaches that CARB is leveraging to meet these requirements is through research and incentive promotion. The organization is supporting development of an opposed-piston engine that meets 0.02 g/bhp-hr output as well as continued advancement of electric powertrains for zero-emission propulsion options. They also provide vouchers to promote the purchase of natural gas engines that meet lower NOx requirements.

CARB has also partnered with CALSTART, a member organization supporting clean transportation, to provide a targeted investment approach, known as a “beachhead” strategy. Through CALSTART, CARB can better identify reduced- and zero-emission projects that provide benefits for primary as well as secondary and tertiary markets. One example is the transit bus market, where development of electric powertrains can eventually aid shuttle and delivery trucks and eventually port handling equipment.

One disruption that CARB recognizes could aid the emissions industry is remote on-vehicle measurement for compliance certification. This change would remove the required extra time and cost to the trucking industry to travel to a specific facility for testing. While no specific announcements were made regarding regulations or timelines, there was recognition of the extent to which this could transform the emissions field.

Another disruption happening is the extension of warranties on emissions equipment, a topic discussed by representatives from CARB and Navistar. This change could impact the design and manufacturing of aftertreatment components. One challenge that Navistar recognizes is the balance of investments that manufacturers must make between emissions requirements and customer-centric ones.

“As an OEM, we have to look at investments in various buckets,” Jason Quaranto, Director of Government Relations at Navistar told attendees at COMVEC. “We’re going to have aerodynamic improvements, we’re going to invest in engines, and we’re going to invest in electric vehicles. And then we’re going to have customer-focused ones that we believe customers are going to want: autonomous vehicles and driver-assistance technologies that will make the driver’s job easier and reduce accidents.”

AVL discussed that as truck and powertrain manufacturers in the U.S. focus on reducing NOx emissions, those in Europe are focused on the reduction of CO2. The European Commission is also deciding whether to include colder and cold start emissions in Euro VI Part D regulations set to begin in 2021—a requirement that concerns some due to the short timeline. While the targeted emission in Europe may be different than in the U.S., the strategies taken to meet these reductions are similar. Manufacturers and engine developers are evaluating degrees of electrification as well as alternative fuels like natural gas for lower output options.

The International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) addressed that China and India are also implementing tighter emissions regulations, although at two different rates. China has rapidly implemented standards over the past two decades to the point where the State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA) released China VI earlier this year to be rolled out over the next three years. China VI addresses both CO2 and NOx reductions at levels consistent or even more stringent than Euro VI and U.S. standards—a requirement that will require the expansion of diesel particulate filters (DPFs) on heavy-duty trucks. China has also expressed interest in remote on-vehicle data measurement for compliance testing.

While China has rapidly implemented tighter emission standards on trucks, India has been moving at a slower pace. The country has been focused on the expansion of ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel availability to ensure compliance with current and future standards. However, India is expected to implement India V, an equivalent to Euro V, by 2024.

As the global emissions market continues to tighten output levels, the panelists discussed the possibility of engine manufacturers exporting to new countries and disrupting those markets, like what has happened with the small engine field in the U.S. However, homologation of emissions standards is only one facet of trade between countries while other factors, like tariffs, may alter the landscape.

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