Opinion

Automotive Innovation: Here Today, Driving Tomorrow

This year’s Super Bowl was a highlight reel for innovation — and no, not just the show-stopping, on-the-field play.

During the big game’s commercial breaks, automakers proudly showcased their commitment to cleaner, safer and smarter vehicles by heavily advertising electric and fuel-efficient cars and trucks. The message from auto innovators to the American public is this: Cleaner, safer and smarter cars are widely available now, and automakers are providing consumers with more advanced technologies than ever before.

However, in order to allow consumers to benefit from these innovations, we need to work together to break down the barriers and tackle today’s challenges. That’s exactly why policymakers in Washington, D.C., California and across the country should work alongside auto innovators toward achieving the environmental goals that we share with millions across the country.

To meet customer needs and create a future that is more responsive to environmental concerns, the auto industry is united by a common goal: to approach regulatory challenges with smart, efficient policies that encourage technological development, continue year-over-year greenhouse gas reductions, and balance affordability, safety and the environment to ensure that innovative products are available to customers.

Americans deserve the ability to own, lease, rent or share the best vehicle that meets their individual, family or business needs; and now they have access to a record number of fuel efficient vehicles. Today, automakers offer more than 490 models that achieve 30 miles per gallon or higher, including 45 hybrids, 34 plug-in hybrids, 24 battery electric, and three fuel-cell electric vehicles.

This diverse menu of powertrain options provides consumers with practical, fun, clean and efficient vehicle choices in all ranges, sizes, segments and price points. At the same time, automakers are making transportation even more efficient, safer and accessible through connectivity, automation and new ownership models.

One of the biggest obstacles to reducing light-duty vehicle fuel consumption and increasing the adoption and use of electric vehicles is closing the gap between regulatory goals, consumer preferences and building charging stations and hydrogen refueling infrastructure throughout the United States. Now more than ever, the industry needs clear regulations, as well as state and federal investments that support consumer adoption of ever-efficient vehicles and powertrains. 

That is why members of the Alliance for Automotive Innovation — an automotive trade association representing 99 percent of vehicle sales totaling 35 auto manufacturers, suppliers, and technology and mobility companies — have consistently called for year-over-year improvements in fuel economy and greenhouse gas emission standards. We want a framework that supports innovation and environmental improvements while keeping autos affordable and protecting manufacturing jobs in the United States as the market continues to transition to safer and even cleaner vehicles.

Moreover, auto innovators need trusted sources and outlets to help educate and increase public awareness about new technologies, including the record number of clean and advanced vehicles that are currently available across the country. And policymakers can help by supporting customer incentives and charging infrastructure funding that help expand the market for electric drive vehicles.

Our organization stands ready to work in partnership with policymakers at all levels to promote the full breadth of energy-efficient vehicles. These include the cars, trucks and minivans that have evolved throughout our industry’s long history of innovation and will propel us into a future of lower-carbon-emitting vehicles.

The cars and trucks on display during Super Bowl LIV were an indication of auto innovators’ commitment to consumers. We are on track to continue building a cleaner, safer and smarter automotive future together.

 

John Bozzella is the CEO of the Alliance for Automotive Innovation.

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