Automotive co 2 emissions characterization by u s light duty vehicle platform
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Automotive CO 2 Emissions Characterization by U.S. Light-Duty Vehicle Platform. John DeCicco, * Feng An, † Huiming Gong † Presentation at the TRB Annual Meeting Washington, DC – January 2005. * Environmental Defense † Energy and Transportation Technologies, LLC. Overview.

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Automotive co 2 emissions characterization by u s light duty vehicle platform

Automotive CO2 Emissions Characterizationby U.S. Light-Duty Vehicle Platform

John DeCicco,* Feng An,† Huiming Gong†

Presentation at the TRB Annual Meeting

Washington, DC – January 2005

*Environmental Defense

†Energy and Transportation Technologies, LLC


  • Objectives (why look at platforms?)

  • What is a platform?

  • Methodology and data sources

  • Platforms in the U.S. auto market

  • CO2 Emissions Characterizations

    • Explore variability within and across platforms

    • Compare platform efficiency estimates

  • Conclusions


Why look at platforms?

  • Link CO2 emissions and related factors to the way production is organized.

  • Proliferation of nameplates and artificiality of the car-truck distinction makes traditional class-based analysis more difficult and less revealing.

  • Foundation for analyzing issues of part-scale production and staggered design change.

  • Provide a basis for assessing costs pertinent to production credits or similar incentives.

What is a platform
What is a Platform?

  • In general, a collection of manufacturing assets shared among different products.

  • Historically related to common chassis components and "hard points" for an assembly line.

  • Flexible manufacturing long since obviates need for fixed dimensions.

  • Platform ("architecture") now entails sharing of both "soft" and "hard" assets.

Platform strategy as a balancing act
Platform Strategy as a Balancing Act

Maximizing the market benefits of product differentiation

Minimizing costs througheconomies of scale

Data and methodology
Data and Methodology

  • EPA & NHTSA data for fuel economy, matched to trade (Ward's) platform data

    • Only up to 8,500 lb gvw, even though some platforms also include heavier models

    • Platforms are not always "well defined"

  • MY2002 sales, CY2002 platform production

    • early MY2003 models not counted in sales

  • Nominal, direct CO2 emissions based on 8.8 kg/gal, 15% fuel economy shortfall

    • Diesel and AFV use assumed negligible (diesel LDV share was only 0.1% in MY2002; estimated FFV credits were backed out)

Top platforms ranked by u s sales
Top Platforms Ranked by U.S. Sales

Next 5: Ford Explorer, Honda Accord, Chevy Trailblazer, Chrysler Voyager, Chevy Malibu

Variability within a platform
Variability within a Platform

  • Factors: # of engines, # of body styles, weight

  • Examples

    • GMT800 (Silverado, etc.)7 models, 5 engines, 3 body stylesvariations: 33% in disp, 26% in wt, 23% in CO2

    • Dodge Dakota/Durango2 models, 4 engine, 2 body stylesvariations: 75% in disp, 31% in wt, 45% in CO2

    • Honda Odyssey / Acura MDX2 models, 1 engine, 1 body stylevariations: (0) in disp, 5% in wt, 6% in CO2

Variation ≡ (Max-Min)/Mean [sales-weighted]

Typical variations within a platform
Typical Variations within a Platform

  • Weight, in general, varies least: median 17%

    • Greatest variation (26%-35%) in pickup platforms, which include body-on-frame SUVs

  • Engine displacement median variation: 26%

    • Greatest for compact pickups, with I4 - V8 options

  • CO2 emissions rate median variation: 20%

    • Outlier is VW Jetta, with diesel: 67% variation

    • For others, compact pickups show 45% variation

N.B. Drive type was not examined, but other analysis indicates typical 10%-15% CO2 impact for 4- vs. 2-WD.

Variability across platforms
Variability Across Platforms

  • Comparing platform averages (but remember the significant within-platform variability)

  • Examined:

    • Power, specific power (HP/L)

    • Ton-MPG

      • Reciprocal of mass-normalized fuel consumption

      • Isolates non-mass-related aspects of efficiency

      • A good (but not perfect) index of powertrain efficiency

Ton mpg indeces for selected platforms
Ton-MPG Indeces for Selected Platforms

(identified here by representative models)

Ton mpg vs average platform weight
Ton-MPG vs. average platform weight

No correlation to weight (r = -0.04)

Ton-MPGfor trucks only 5% lower than cars on average

Some, but not all, large variations reflect platform age ("dated"-ness)


  • Platform-level data enable analysis linked to how the industry manages production

  • Highest volume platforms contribute, by a modest margin, disproportionately to CO2

    • Top 30 ⇛ 69% of sales, 72% of CO2 (MY2002)

  • Variability within and across platforms can reflect some opportunities for CO2 reduction

  • Newer platforms generally more "efficient"

  • Provides a baseline and foundation for several types of future analyses