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North Hills Automotive editorial image under the hood of a Nissan Leaf electric car.

Ken Gamble Looks at the Future of the Automotive Service Industry – Hybrids and Electrics

Federal CAFE Mandates 

The federal government has regulated fuel economy of cars and light-­duty trucks for decades, with the latest rules in 2012 dramatically increasing fuel economy and decreasing greenhouse gas emissions. A 2010 rule raised the average fuel economy of new passenger vehicles to 34.1 miles per gallon (mpg) for the model year 2016, a nearly 15 percent increase from 2011. A second rule, finalized in 2012, will raise average fuel economy standards to 54.5 mpg for the model year 2025, for a combined increase of more than 90 percent over 2011 levels. The standards also will reduce the carbon intensity of these vehicles by 40 percent from 2012 to 2025. 

These changes have their supporters and detractors and are debated as to whether they are worth the cost of research and development to implement. That being said they are the law and automakers are moving forward to meet the standards by the dates mandated. We are not writing here to debate the politics, science or economics at stake but to shed some light on how the manufactures will likely accomplish this feat and educate consumers about the future of their transportation service and repair needs. 

First, let’s identify the acronym CAFE. CAFE stands for Corporate Average Fuel Economy. The word “Corporate” refers to the total production of models a manufacturer produces. Second, the production and fuel economy numbers are intended to include all cars and light trucks. For example, the Ford Motor Company vehicle lineup ranges from the Fiesta to the F150 (the full lineup can be found here). The EPA averages the sale numbers from each segment (i.e. economy car, mid-­sized car, full-size car and light-­‐truck). At that point the sales numbers and the corresponding fuel mileage for that segment are averaged together, resulting in the CAFE mpg.  

2016 Models, for each manufacturer selling cars and light trucks in the US, are required to achieve a CAFE standard of 37.8 mpg. So how are they doing it? They are doing it by offering and selling more Hybrids and fully Electric vehicles. Hybrids use a combination of gasoline or diesel-fueled engines and high voltage battery powered motors. In other words, hybrids have two power units under the hood and fully electric vehicles use only high voltage motors and no other fuel. Obviously, the Electric vehicle gets unlimited mpg, which will significantly help manufacturers hit the CAFE standard. 

As time goes by and we close in on 2025 the CAFE standard will be 54.5 mpg and the industry will undoubtedly be putting more and more Hybrids and Electrics on the road to achieving the government’s goal. That influx of vehicles will change the auto service and repair industry in ways that will require intense additional training and demands for new diagnostic tools.  Training and diagnostic tools are an absolute must to stay current with new cars. New diagnostic tools integrate with your current and future car by using Telematics. Telematics allows your smartphone to act as the remote transfer of data from your car's computer to the service technicians at North Hills. When it comes to remote diagnostic technology the future is “now”. We are already using this technology with a product from Launch Technologies called Golo. Ask us about downloading the Golo app for iPhone or Android and getting he Golo adapter for your car - Get Connected! Being connected to our service gives you the peace of mind you need to know that no matter where you are you’re only a phone call away from real‐time diagnostics. 

North Hills Automotive has a tradition of changing with the times and the addition of Hybrids and Electrics has not changed our resolve to stay current and to always anticipate the future as we keep our ability to service and repair our client’s vehicles with the latest technology - no matter what you drive or where you are when trouble comes. 

Call North Hills Auto today: Augusta St (864) 233-9002 or Butler Rd (864) 234-1002.

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