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Technical Paper

Analysis of Technology Adoption Rates in New Vehicles

This paper examines the pace at which manufacturers have added certain powertrain technology into new vehicles from model year 1975 to the present. Based on data from the EPA's Light-Duty Automotive Technology, Carbon Dioxide Emissions, and Fuel Economy Trends database [1], the analysis will focus on several key technologies that have either reached a high level of penetration in light duty vehicles, or whose use in the new vehicle fleet has been growing in recent years. The findings indicate that individual manufacturers have, at times, implemented new technology across major portions of their new vehicle offerings in only a few model years. This is an important clarification to prior EPA analysis that indicated much longer adoption times for the industry as a whole. This new analysis suggests a technology penetration paradigm where individual manufacturers have a much shorter technology penetration cycle than the overall industry, due to “sequencing” by individual manufacturers.