According to a recent study from Lux Research, the number of micro-hybrid vehicles on the road will grow nearly eight-fold to 39 million worldwide in 2017, resulting in a nearly $7 billion market for the energy-storage devices associated with these vehicles.
Micro-hybrids use a small battery to provide efficiency-boosting features, the company explains. Within the next five years, these models will dominate the automotive market, claiming 42% of the overall light-duty vehicle sector. The number of mild hybrids – vehicles that use a large electric motor/generator to complement a traditional internal combustion engine – will reach 1.5 million in 2017, accounting for 1.6% of the auto market.
‘Micro-hybrids will take over the automotive market, while mild hybrids will leverage the excessive build-out of lithium-ion capacity to grow,’ says Kevin See, a Lux Research analyst and lead author of the report. ‘Micro-hybrids and, to a lesser extent, mild hybrids, provide a cost-effective solution to fuel savings to bridge the gap to more disruptive technologies like alternative fuels, plug-in vehicles and fuel-cell vehicles.’
To estimate adoption rates for micro-hybrids and mild hybrids, Lux Research factored in the adoption of other fuel-saving technologies and modeled cost-impact variations, besides estimating the costs of battery replacement and maintenance for these alternative vehicles.
The company's conclusions include the following:
- Europe will lead the market development, followed by China and the U.S. Europe will continue its leadership in the micro-hybrid market, growing over three-fold to 12.6 million units in the next five years. China will see explosive 81% annual growth to reach 8.9 million units in 2017, and the U.S. will have over 8 million units.
- A low price premium, fuel savings of up to 10% and a relatively easier manufacturing process will propel medium micro-hybrids to the top of the alternative auto market over the next five years. These vehicles will grow at a 36% CAGR to 22.2 million vehicles in 2017, driven largely by the European market and automakers like Volkswagen.
- Absorbed glass mat (AGM), lead-acid batteries will dominate the market for storage of micro-hybrids, growing at 46% annually to nearly $4 billion in 2017. In mild hybrids, lithium-ion will grow from near-zero to nearly $570 million in 2017, capturing a 47% market share among plug-in vehicles.
Photo credit: Siemens