Applied Energy, Vol.241, 257-277, 2019
Technology pathways for complying with Corporate Average Fuel Consumption regulations up to 2030: A case study of China
Under the annually strengthened fuel economy regulations for light-duty vehicles, a technology pathway provides automakers with forward-looking guidance to strategically manage their vehicle assortment and fuel-efficient technologies. Because the regulations worldwide are very different in terms of their various schemes and designs, it is difficult to calculate the optimal pathway or to evaluate a regulation's impact on the vehicle fleet without an assessment model specifically designed to do so. To date, China has issued four Phases of Corporate Average Fuel Consumption regulations; however, a bottom-up optimized technology pathway for the regulation compliance of domestic automakers is still missing. In this paper, real-world data on each vehicle model's market and technology parameters are used to describe China's passenger vehicle fleet. Employing a combinational optimization assessment model for China's regulation, this study calculates bottom-up fuel-efficient technology pathways for complying with the 2020 regulation and the potential 2025-2030 regulations. Under scenarios that do not consider the subsidy or super-credit preferential policies for New Energy Vehicles (Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles and Battery Electric Vehicles in China), the average compliance costs for the three future phases of the regulations will be $687.5, $2344.4 and $3111.2. The average fuel consumption rate of passenger vehicle fleet will reach 5.28, 4.07 and 3.33 L/100 km, and the average vehicle curb weight will increase by 4.7%, 6.3% and 9.2%. These results mean that if current schemes are followed, the regulations will fail to achieve their fuel saving targets and to promote lightweighting vehicles. The technology pathway of powertrains and specific fuel-efficient technologies is analyzed in great detail. The results show that the market share of New Energy Vehicles will increase to 16.9% and 34.2% by 2025 and 2030, and that Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle will be the most promising fuel saving technology due to the preferential test method in China. The sensitivity of the compliance cost and the market share of New Energy Vehicles to regulation stringency is further analyzed. For every change in regulation stringency of 0.05 L/100 km in the 2025 and 2030 regulations, the compliance cost will change by 3.03% and 2.31%, while the market share of New Energy Vehicle will change by 0.58% and 0.73%. These results indicate that if the various schemes for regulation compliance are not taken into account, only making adjustment to the regulations' stringency may have little effect on reducing automakers' compliance cost or promoting the market share of New Energy Vehicles.