Speaking at the Automotive News World Congress, Kesseler said automakers wouldn't need to sell an extensive number of plug-in vehicles in order to meet the 54.5 mile per gallon Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standard the US government set in 2012 for 2025 model-year vehicles. In fact, he said, components such as stop-start engine technology, turbochargers and direct injection may actually do the trick. Already, things like smaller engine sizes and lighter cars are already playing major roles in spurring fuel-efficiency gains. Of course, Johnson Controls sells batteries specially built for stop-start systems, so Kesseler does have a bit of skin in this game.
The 54.5-mpg CAFE standard equates to about a 40-mpg "real world" fuel-efficiency level. To put that into perspective, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said in a report late last year that model-year 2013 average fuel economy was an even 24 mpg. That was up from 23.6 mpg for the 2012 model year and 22.4 mpg for 2011.