Plug-ins and Hybrids and Diesels, Oh My!

Two automotive conferences show the impact of public policy on core vehicle designs

5 min read

Public policy debates now affect every aspect of vehicle design, propulsion systems, and fuel usage. The scope and depth of these debates produced energetic discussions at two recent automotive conferences and led to some surprising questions.

For instance: How do U.S. drivers actually use their cars, and are government test cycles out of date? Does the United States require diesel engines to be too clean? Will the batteries developed for plug-in hybrids make regular old hybrids so affordable that plug-ins will never actually make sense? Could proposed European carbon regulations deal a mortal blow to the German auto industry? And how did London’s mayor inadvertently devastate the UK market for electric cars?

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Greg Mably


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