Single-speed EV transmissions will give way to two-speed units within 5 to 6 years, according to German supplier ZF. As with gas-powered cars, adding more gears to electric motors will make them more efficient, extending their range by up to 20 percent.
The Environmental Protection Agency is proposing to reduce the federal ozone standard for cars, power plants, and oil refineries from 75 parts per billion to between 65 and 70--a move it calculates will prevent between 710 and 4,700 premature deaths per year by 2025.
From January through November 2014, the average fuel economy for new light vehicles sold in the United States was 25.1 miles per gallon, according to trade publication Wards Auto. That represents a year-over-year increase of 1.8 percent, the first in four years.
Alcoa, the U.S. aluminum group, developed a new manufacturing process that makes it easier to create lightweight aluminum body panels for vehicles. The process changes the metal at the molecular level, making it 40 percent more formable.