OEM: Flexibility Key to EPA Phase 2 Emissions Rule

Daimler Trucks North America’s director of compliance and regulatory affairs said signaled optimism over the upcoming EPA Phase 2 GHG rules and praised the long lead time and “flexibility” built into the regulations.

Sean Waters said complying with the rules will be a challenge for OEMs – “these are tough standards that will cost a lot of money for R&D but they are achievable,” he said.

“There are lots of different things we can do; we’re allowed to mix and match features,” Sean Waters explained at a presentation during the annual transportation conference hosted by research firm FTR. “We are also not forcing customers to buy specific technologies. That’s why we don’t think there will be any ‘cliff events’ or pre-buys due to the rules.”

Yet, Waters also noted that for the rules to achieve full fuel economy benefits, highway congestion must improve. He explained that increasing congestion will consume the same amount of fuel as the Phase 2 rules will purportedly save over a decade.

“That means we really need better roads and we need to spend money on them,” he stressed. “You can’t get everything you want [in terms of fuel savings] out of [truck] OEMs. We need better roads and infrastructure.”

Waters also suggested that the Phase 2 rules should push the “acceptance rate” for automated manual transmissions (AMTs) to near 90% by 2027, as well as broader adoption of engine “start/stop” technology for Class 8 trucks.

The EPA is providing an “alternative engine certification pathway” under the Phase 2 rules, he said.  Thus if engines are certified to the first stage of the rules in 2020 ahead of the 2021 deadline, they will get “longer credit life” and some relaxation from the 2024 requirements.

If suppliers can come up with “better technologies” to save fuel as the rules are implemented, they can receive more credits. “That’s a big positive; that will motivate innovation,” Waters emphasized.

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