2008 MIT Energy Conference: The Future of Vehicles: 2020 and Beyond
At the end of 2007, the most extensive revisions in a generation to the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards were signed into law. In addition to requiring a 40 percent increase in fuel economy by 2020, the law mandated several significant structural changes, including a shift to attribute-based standards. Automobile manufacturers and their suppliers must determine what technologies and strategies are best suited to meet these new requirements. Will conventional combustion engine technologies suffice, or will the new laws usher in an era of increased electrification of the drivetrain? What strategies will major automakers employ to procure, develop, and market the new technologies required to meet these demands, and how does the possibility of a carbon-constrained economy influence those strategies? Entrepreneurs appear poised to play a bigger role than ever both as advanced technology component suppliers and as direct competitors to the automotive industry. Nevertheless, significant obstacles to market penetration remain. What are those barriers, and what policies can be implemented to reduce them? How will recent changes in CAFE laws alter the competitive environment of the industry? This panel brings together a spectrum of experts from all sides of the automotive industry to discuss how current technologies, policies, and entrepreneurs will shape the cars of the next decade.