In a recent guidance document, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) warned the auto industry that it may enforce the prohibition against defeat devices in certifying electric vehicles for sale.
That warning may seem surprising. After all, the EPA regulates tail pipe emissions from cars and trucks, while EVs have no tailpipes — they run on batteries.
And defeat devices are more commonly associated in the popular mind with recent major EPA enforcement actions involving alleged cheating on emissions testing of internal combustion engine, or ICE, vehicles. However, the agency has regulated EVs for more than a decade.
Just as with ICE vehicles, the agency's regulations require EV companies to perform testing to obtain a certificate of conformity for every model year of a vehicle. That testing focuses on issues such as the range of EV batteries, which inform the EV fuel economy label expressed as miles per gallon equivalent, or MPGe.
Against this regulatory background, the EPA's recent guidance suggests that the agency may have concerns about EV manufacturers attempting to game the certification testing to inflate battery range and MPGe values.