Engine CO2 improvements coming cheaper than expected

  • 18-Jul-2011 02:20 EDT

Direct injection is one way to maximize combustion efficiency, as represented here in Ford's EcoBoost technology.

Internal-combustion engine technologies offer the potential to cut tailpipe CO2 emissions by about 40% at a cost to consumers of $50 to $60 per percentage point of reduction for an average passenger car, according to Boston Consulting Group's recently released report, Powering Autos to 2020: The Era of the Electric Car? That is about half the cost expected three years ago. Thus automakers should be able to meet 2020 CO2 emissions targets mainly via ICE and overall vehicle improvements, noted BCG. "But original equipment manufacturers will need to pull multiple levers simultaneously to achieve such dramatic reductions," according to report author Xavier Mosquet, including improvements in the areas of transmission, vehicle mass, aerodynamics, and power management. EV battery costs are forecast to fall by 64% from 2009 levels to $360 to $400 per usable kW·h by 2020—resulting in a cost of about $9600 for a typical battery-electric-vehicle's 20-kW·h pack. For that reason, EVs will see only modest growth by then, BCG's study predicts.

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