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Trump’s Plans Could Scuttle New Hybrid Car Tech in U.S.

Global standards drove fuel-saving “mild hybrid” technology, but weakened EPA rules could stall U.S. deployment

3 min read
Mild Yet Electric: Eaton’s Electrically Assisted Variable Speed supercharger uses braking energy and engine exhaust to power a mild-hybrid system.
Mild Yet Electric: Eaton’s Electrically Assisted Variable Speed supercharger uses braking energy and engine exhaust to power a mild-hybrid system.
Photo: Eaton

Global policy efforts to boost fuel economy are progressively electrifying the automobile and expanding technology options to cut greenhouse gas emissions. One of the most exciting recent developments is, however, at risk of failure in the United States: a new generation of “mild hybrid” technology that could be undercut by President Donald Trump’s attempts to stall U.S. climate policy.

In March, Trump ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to rethink fuel economy mandates set under President Obama. Those mandates require cars and light trucks sold in the United States between 2022 and 2025 to deliver an average of 6.5 liters per 100 kilometers (36 miles per gallon) in real-world driving— a 40 percent efficiency improvement over the average vehicle sold in 2016.

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Chinese Joint Venture Will Begin Mass-Producing an Autonomous Electric Car

With the Robo-01, Baidu and Chinese carmaker Geely aim for a fully self-driving car

4 min read
A black car sits against a white backdrop decorated with Chinese writing. The car’s doors are open, like a butterfly’s wings. Two charging stations are on the car’s left; two men stand on the right.

The Robo-01 autonomous electric car shows off its butterfly doors at a reveal to the media in Beijing, in June 2022.

Tingshu Wang/Reuters/Alamy

In October, a startup called Jidu Automotive, backed by Chinese AI giant Baidu and Chinese carmaker Geely, officially released an autonomous electric car, the Robo-01 Lunar Edition. In 2023, the car will go on sale.

At roughly US $55,000, the Robo-01 Lunar Edition is a limited edition, cobranded with China’s Lunar Exploration Project. It has two lidars, a 5-millimeter-wave radars, 12 ultrasonic sensors, and 12 high-definition cameras. It is the first vehicle to offer on-board, AI-assisted voice recognition, with voice response speeds within 700 milliseconds, thanks to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8295 chip.

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