|The relative merits of gasoline hybrids and diesels. Click to enlarge. Source: Ricardo estimate, Schommers, DaimlerChrysler, GM, Aachen, October 2005|
Although hybrid gasoline technology currently appears to be the preferred route to increased fuel efficiency in the US, new investment research published by UBS and Ricardo predicts that sales of diesels will outpace those of hybrids by 2012.
Diesels will constitute 56% (1.5 million units) of a forecasted combined diesel and hybrid gasoline sales of 2.7 million units in 2012, according to the study. At 2.7 million units, the two technologies would represent 15% of the US light duty vehicle market. UBS highlights that European automakers and a number of global suppliers look set to benefit from the diesel trend.
|Cost comparison of gasoline, diesel and hybrid for a 4-liter V8 powertrain in the US. Cost gap for smaller cars is closer, but still favours diesel. Click to enlarge. Source: Ricardo|
Prospects for both technologies are strong, according to the report, given the increasing regulatory focus on fuel economy and reduction of greenhouse gas reductions. However, it concludes, diesel’s cost burden is lower than that of hybrids for similar fuel economy, even with the advanced technologies needed to meet tough US emissions regulations (including California).
Diesel’s cost lead over hybrid is the most marked for larger vehicles (crossovers/SUVs).
Should the energy storage cost barrier be overcome, the report notes, plug-in hybrid vehicles have longer-term future opportunities.