[Federal Register Volume 83, Number 38 (Monday, February 26, 2018)]
[Pages 8262-8264]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2018-03846]




Alternative Method for Calculating Off-Cycle Credits Under the 
Light-Duty Vehicle Greenhouse Gas Emissions Program: Applications From 
General Motors and Toyota Motor North America

AGENCY: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

ACTION: Notice.


SUMMARY: EPA is requesting comment on applications General Motors (GM), 
and Toyota Motor North America (Toyota) for off-cycle carbon dioxide 
(CO2) credits under EPA's light-duty vehicle greenhouse gas 
emissions standards. ``Off-cycle'' emission reductions can be achieved 
by employing technologies that result in real-world benefits, but where 
that benefit is not adequately captured on the test procedures used by 
manufacturers to demonstrate compliance with emission standards. EPA's 
light-duty vehicle greenhouse gas program acknowledges these benefits 
by giving automobile manufacturers several options for generating 
``off-cycle'' carbon dioxide (CO2) credits. Under the 
regulations, a manufacturer may apply for CO2 credits for 
off-cycle technologies that result in off-cycle benefits. In these 
cases, a manufacturer must provide EPA with a proposed methodology for 
determining the real-world off-cycle benefit. These two manufacturers 
have submitted applications that describe methodologies for determining 
off-cycle credits. The off-cycle technologies vary by manufacturer and 
include thermal control technologies such as high efficiency 
alternators, an efficient air conditioning compressor, and active 
climate control seats. Pursuant to applicable regulations, EPA is 
making descriptions of each manufacturer's off-cycle credit calculation 
methodologies available for public comment.

DATES: Comments must be received on or before March 28, 2018.

ADDRESSES: Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID No. EPA-HQ- 
OAR-2017-0754, to the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions for submitting 
comments. Once submitted, comments cannot be edited or withdrawn. The 
EPA may publish any comment received to its public docket. Do not 
submit electronically any information you consider to be Confidential 
Business Information (CBI) or other information whose disclosure is 
restricted by statute. Multimedia submissions (audio, video, etc.) must 
be accompanied by a written comment. The written comment is considered 
the official comment and should include discussion of all points you 
wish to make. The EPA will generally not consider comments or comment 
contents located outside of the primary submission (i.e. on the web, 
cloud, or other file sharing system). For additional submission 
methods, the full EPA public comment policy, information about CBI or 
multimedia submissions, and general guidance on making effective 
comments, please visit http://www2.epa.gov/dockets/commenting-epa-dockets.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:  Roberts French, Environmental 
Protection Specialist, Office of Transportation and Air Quality, 
Compliance Division, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 2000 
Traverwood Drive, Ann Arbor, MI 48105. Telephone: (734) 214-4380. Fax: 
(734) 214-4869. Email address: [email protected].


I. Background

    EPA's light-duty vehicle greenhouse gas (GHG) program provides 
three pathways by which a manufacturer may accrue off-cycle carbon 
dioxide (CO2) credits for those technologies that achieve 
CO2 reductions in the real world but where those reductions 
are not adequately captured on the test used to determine compliance 
with the CO2 standards, and which are not otherwise 
reflected in the standards' stringency. The first pathway is a 
predetermined list of credit values for specific off-cycle technologies 
that may be used beginning

[[Page 8263]]

in model year 2014.\1\ This pathway allows manufacturers to use 
conservative credit values established by EPA for a wide range of 
technologies, with minimal data submittal or testing requirements, as 
long as the technologies meet EPA regulatory definitions. In cases 
where the off-cycle technology is not on the menu but additional 
laboratory testing can demonstrate emission benefits, a second pathway 
allows manufacturers to use a broader array of emission tests (known as 
``5-cycle'' testing because the methodology uses five different testing 
procedures) to demonstrate and justify off-cycle CO2 
credits.\2\ The additional emission tests allow emission benefits to be 
demonstrated over some elements of real-world driving not adequately 
captured by the GHG compliance tests, including high speeds, hard 
accelerations, and cold temperatures. These first two methodologies 
were completely defined through notice and comment rulemaking and 
therefore no additional process is necessary for manufacturers to use 
these methods. The third and last pathway allows manufacturers to seek 
EPA approval to use an alternative methodology for determining the off-
cycle CO2 credits.\3\ This option is only available if the 
benefit of the technology cannot be adequately demonstrated using the 
5-cycle methodology. Manufacturers may also use this option for model 
years prior to 2014 to demonstrate off-cycle CO2 reductions 
for technologies that are on the predetermined list, or to demonstrate 
reductions that exceed those available via use of the predetermined 

    \1\ See 40 CFR 86.1869-12(b).
    \2\ See 40 CFR 86.1869-12(c).
    \3\ See 40 CFR 86.1869-12(d).

    Under the regulations, a manufacturer seeking to demonstrate off-
cycle credits with an alternative methodology (i.e., under the third 
pathway described above) must describe a methodology that meets the 
following criteria:
     Use modeling, on-road testing, on-road data collection, or 
other approved analytical or engineering methods;
     Be robust, verifiable, and capable of demonstrating the 
real-world emissions benefit with strong statistical significance;
     Result in a demonstration of baseline and controlled 
emissions over a wide range of driving conditions and number of 
vehicles such that issues of data uncertainty are minimized;
     Result in data on a model type basis unless the 
manufacturer demonstrates that another basis is appropriate and 
    Further, the regulations specify the following requirements 
regarding an application for off-cycle CO2 credits:
     A manufacturer requesting off-cycle credits must develop a 
methodology for demonstrating and determining the benefit of the off-
cycle technology, and carry out any necessary testing and analysis 
required to support that methodology.
     A manufacturer requesting off-cycle credits must conduct 
testing and/or prepare engineering analyses that demonstrate the in-use 
durability of the technology for the full useful life of the vehicle.
     The application must contain a detailed description of the 
off-cycle technology and how it functions to reduce CO2 
emissions under conditions not represented on the compliance tests.
     The application must contain a list of the vehicle 
model(s) which will be equipped with the technology.
     The application must contain a detailed description of the 
test vehicles selected and an engineering analysis that supports the 
selection of those vehicles for testing.
     The application must contain all testing and/or simulation 
data required under the regulations, plus any other data the 
manufacturer has considered in the analysis.
    Finally, the alternative methodology must be approved by EPA prior 
to the manufacturer using it to generate credits. As part of the review 
process defined by regulation, the alternative methodology submitted to 
EPA for consideration must be made available for public comment.\4\ EPA 
will consider public comments as part of its final decision to approve 
or deny the request for off-cycle credits.

    \4\ See 40 CFR 86.1869-12(d)(2).

II. Off-Cycle Credit Applications

A. General Motors

1. High-Efficiency Alternator
    General Motors (GM) is requesting GHG credits for alternators with 
improved efficiency relative to a baseline alternator. This request is 
for the 2010 to 2016 model years. Automotive alternators convert 
mechanical energy from a combustion engine into electrical energy that 
can be used to power a vehicle's electrical systems. Alternators 
inherently place a load on the engine, which results in increased fuel 
consumption and CO2 emissions. High efficiency alternators 
use new technologies to reduce the overall load on the engine yet 
continue to meet the electrical demands of the vehicle systems, 
resulting in lower fuel consumption and lower CO2 emissions. 
Some comments on EPA's proposed rule for GHG standards for the 2016-
2025 model years suggested that EPA provide a credit for high-
efficiency alternators on the pre-defined list in the regulations. 
While EPA agreed that high-efficiency alternators can reduce electrical 
load and reduce fuel consumption, and that these impacts are not seen 
on the emission test procedures because accessories that use 
electricity are turned off, EPA noted the difficulty in defining a one-
size-fits-all credit due to lack of data.\5\ GM proposes a methodology 
that would scale credits based on the efficiency of the alternator; 
alternators with efficiency (as measured using an accepted industry 
standard procedure) above a specified baseline value could get credits 
of 0.16 grams/mile per percent improvement in alternator efficiency. 
This methodology is similar to that proposed by Ford and published for 
comment in June of 2017.\6\ Details of the testing and analysis can be 
found in the manufacturer's application.

    \5\ See 77FR 62730, October 15, 2012.
    \6\ See 82 FR 27819, June 19, 2017.

2. Active Climate Control Seats
    GM is also applying for off-cycle GHG credits for the use of active 
climate control seat technologies. Based on GM's analysis, they are 
requesting credits equal to 2.3 grams CO2 per mile for 
passenger cars and 2.9 grams CO2 per mile for trucks on all 
models that use these seats in both front seating locations. This 
request is for a larger amount of credit than could be earned by these 
designs using the pre-defined regulatory ``menu'' of default off-cycle 
credits for ventilated seats (1.0 and 1.3 grams/mile for cars and 
trucks, respectively).
    The technology used by GM uses a combination of ventilation fans 
and cooling devices. Active cooling to the seat back is provided by the 
installation of thermoelectric devices (TED) and a blower which 
provides positive, temperature controlled airflow pushed towards the 
occupant. The seat cushion also features a blower operating in a pull 
mode, drawing the air surrounding the occupant into the seat cushion. 
The foams in both seating surfaces include a textile spacer fabric that 
facilitates lateral airflow under occupant load. The seat covers are 
made of cloth and backed by an additional layer of textile spacer 
fabric to promote airflow to the occupant.
    GM performed a series of simulations on three vehicle platforms, 
demonstrating credit values of 1.7 and 2.1 grams/mile for cars and 

[[Page 8264]]

respectively. The analysis also accounted for emissions associated with 
the power consumption of the ventilated seat technology. The request is 
for these credit levels for 2010-2016 models using active climate 
control seat technology in both front seating locations.

B. Toyota Motor North America (Toyota)

    Using the alternative methodology approach discussed above, Toyota 
is applying for credits for an air conditioning compressor manufactured 
by Denso that results in air conditioning efficiency credits beyond 
those provided in the regulations. This request is for the 2013 and 
subsequent model years. This compressor, known as the Denso SAS 
compressor, improves the internal valve system within the compressor to 
reduce the internal refrigerant flow necessary throughout the range of 
displacements that the compressor may use during its operating cycle. 
The addition of a variable crankcase suction valve allows a larger mass 
flow under maximum capacity and compressor start-up conditions (when 
high flow is ideal), and then it can reduce to smaller openings with 
reduced mass flow in mid- or low-capacity conditions. The refrigerant 
exiting the crankcase is thus optimized across the range of operating 
conditions, reducing the overall energy consumption of the air 
conditioning system. EPA first approved credits for General Motors (GM) 
for the use of the Denso SAS compressor in 2015,\7\ and has 
subsequently approved such credits for BMW, Ford, and Hyundai.\8\

    \7\ ``EPA Decision Document: Off-cycle Credits for Fiat Chrysler 
Automobiles, Ford Motor Company, and General Motors Corporation.'' 
Compliance Division, Office of Transportation and Air Quality, U.S. 
Environmental Protection Agency. EPA-420-R-15-014, September 2015.
    \8\ EPA Decision Document: Off-cycle Credits for BMW Group, Ford 
Motor Company, and Hyundai Motor Company.'' Compliance Division, 
Office of Transportation and Air Quality, U.S. Environmental 
Protection Agency. EPA-420-R-17-010, December 2017.

    The credits calculated for the Denso SAS compressor would be in 
addition to the credits of 1.7 grams/mile for variable-displacement A/C 
compressors already allowed under EPA regulations.\9\ However, it is 
important to note that EPA regulations place a limit on the cumulative 
credits that can be claimed for improving the efficiency of A/C 
systems. The rationale for this limit is that the additional fuel 
consumption of A/C systems can never be reduced to zero, and the limits 
established by regulation reflect the maximum possible reduction in 
fuel consumption projected by EPA. These limits, or caps, on credits 
for A/C efficiency, must also be applied to A/C efficiency credits 
granted under the off-cycle credit approval process. In other words, 
cumulative A/C efficiency credits for an A/C system--from the A/C 
efficiency regulations and those granted via the off-cycle 
regulations--must comply with the stated limits.

    \9\ See 40 CFR 86.1868-12.

    Toyota is requesting an off-cycle GHG credit of 1.1 grams 
CO2 per mile for the Denso SAS compressor. Toyota cited the 
bench test modeling analysis referenced in the original GM application, 
which demonstrated a benefit of 1.1 grams/mile. Like other 
manufacturers, Toyota also ran vehicle tests using the AC17 test. Six 
tests were conducted on a Toyota Corolla, resulting in a calculated 
benefit of 1.4 grams/mile, thus substantiating the bench test results. 
Based on these results, Toyota is requesting a credit of 1.1 grams/mile 
for all Toyota vehicles equipped with the Denso SAS compressor with 
variable crankcase suction valve technology, starting with 2013 model 
year vehicles. Details of the testing and analysis can be found in the 
manufacturer's application.

III. EPA Decision Process

    EPA has reviewed the applications for completeness and is now 
making the applications available for public review and comment as 
required by the regulations. The off-cycle credit applications 
submitted by GM and Toyota (with confidential business information 
redacted) have been placed in the public docket (see ADDRESSES section 
above) and on EPA's website at https://www.epa.gov/vehicle-and-engine-certification/compliance-information-light-duty-greenhouse-gas-ghg-standards.
    EPA is providing a 30-day comment period on the applications for 
off-cycle credits described in this notice, as specified by the 
regulations. The manufacturers may submit a written rebuttal of 
comments for EPA's consideration, or may revise an application in 
response to comments. After reviewing any public comments and any 
rebuttal of comments submitted by manufacturers, EPA will make a final 
decision regarding the credit requests. EPA will make its decision 
available to the public by placing a decision document (or multiple 
decision documents) in the docket and on EPA's website at the same 
manufacturer-specific pages shown above. While the broad methodologies 
used by these manufacturers could potentially be used for other 
vehicles and by other manufacturers, the vehicle specific data needed 
to demonstrate the off-cycle emissions reductions would likely be 
different. In such cases, a new application would be required, 
including an opportunity for public comment.

    Dated: February 6, 2018.
Byron Bunker,
Director, Compliance Division Office of Transportation and Air Quality 
Office of Air and Radiation.
[FR Doc. 2018-03846 Filed 2-23-18; 8:45 am]