CAFE 2025: Rising to the Challenge

The auto industry has a long way to go to meet the challenge of the 2025 CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) standards. That’s the takeaway message from the sixth annual WardsAuto survey, sponsored by DuPont and conducted by Penton Market Research. 

Over 600 representatives from the auto industry — including automakers and auto system, component, and parts manufacturers — responded to this year’s survey. Similar to 2015, their answers confirmed the importance of vehicle lightweighting as a universal approach to regulatory compliance. Not only can lightweighting technology be applied to every vehicle system and component, it amplifies the impact of other strategies. 

Still, few of those surveyed were confident that today’s materials portfolio is enough to meet the 2025 standards. Furthermore, current trends appear to be working against manufacturers and suppliers: 90% of respondents said they expect a combination of low gas prices and low consumer appetite for fuel-efficient, low-emission vehicles will impact their programs to meet CAFE regulations. The pending regulations offer something of a moving target, too. With a mid-term review of the 2025 CAFE standards taking place in 2016 through 2017, a majority of respondents said they expect CAFE standards would strengthen, placing even more demands on them. 

Above all, the results of the WardsAuto survey suggest the need for closer collaboration between materials suppliers, engineers, designers, parts manufacturers, and automakers as they rise to meet the 2025 challenge.