Tesla Motors Inc Ready To Fight Automakers On Fuel Standards


Tesla is preparing to wage a battle traditional automakers on one more front apart from already fighting with them for its direct sales model. At a time when automakers are seeking relief from U.S. regulators on fuel-economy targets, the EV maker is making a case to make the rules even tougher, says a report from The Wall Street Journal.

Tesla to press for harder targets

It is expected that Tesla will make a case to keep the mileage and emissions regulations intact or make them more stringent, says the Journal, citing a company executive. The EV firm will also be making efforts to keep automakers away from loosening regulations in California, which according to the Journal has more “ambitious targets than the federal government.” The U.S. fuel-economy targets ask car makers to make cars averaging 54.5 miles a gallon by 2025.

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Tesla’s vice president of development, Dairmuid O’Connell, believes automakers can meet the current regulations but that they lack the willpower to do so. In an interview prior to Tuesday’s presentation in Traverse City, Mich., O’Connell said, “From an empirical standpoint, the [regulations] are very weak, eminently achievable and the only thing missing is the will to put compelling products on the road.” The event will further up Tesla’s reputation or, more specifically, the reputation of CEO Elon Musk, who has been quite vocal about the lack of progress being made by rivals in developing viable electric vehicles.

Tesla Motors’ stance will also be in contrast to the usual demands from automakers for softening fuel-economy regulations. The automakers have only agreed to the harsher laws due to political pressure and negotiations, says the Journal.

Automakers also ready to fight

On the other hand, General Motors and Toyota are also preparing to make a case for less-strict rules when federal regulators review the targets in 2017. In 2016, California will also be reviewing its rules regarding the minimum percentage of electric cars being produced or sold. Automakers can also present their case on the progress being made for autonomous features such as automatic braking. The car makers claim such features, along with improving safety, help in saving fuel.

The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, a lobbying group representing many automakers such as GM, Toyota and Ford, claims the car companies are offering more options “than ever in energy-efficient vehicles, but that’s not enough,” adding, “We need consumers to buy them in high volumes to meet the steep climb in fuel-economy standards ahead.”