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UMTRI study finds US and China could turnover more than 90% of LDV fleet to alternative powertrains by 2050 under very aggressive penetration scenarios

9 November 2010

Umtri
Turnover of the US fleet under the three models of penetration. The circles represent the year in which new vehicle sales equal 100% alternative powertrains/fuel. Source: Belzowski and McManus. Click to enlarge.

The US and China—as well as Western Europe, Japan and Brazil—could turnover more than 90% of their vehicle fleets to alternative powertrain/fuel models by 2050 under very aggressive models (or levels) of penetration, according to a report by Bruce Belzowski and Walter McManus at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI).

In their study, they used three different alternative powertrain/fuel models: less aggressive, moderately aggressive and very aggressive, applied across four developed economies (United States, Western Europe, Japan, and South Korea) and four developing economies (Brazil, Russia, India, and China). A less aggressive approach yielded fleet turnover rates of 60% or more for most countries, while a moderately aggressive approach yielded fleet turnover rates of more than 80% for most countries.

The analysis of fleet turnover was based on the following steps:

  1. Establish a light-duty vehicle growth rate for each country;
  2. Establish a scrappage rate for each country;
  3. Establish a vehicle-in-use estimate for years 2010 to 2050 for each country;
  4. Establish a vehicle sales estimate for years 2010 to 2050 for each country;
  5. Establish three levels or models of penetration of alternative powertrains/fuels into each country’s fleet for the years 2010 to 2050. Production forecasts from IHS Global Insight for powertrains/fuels for each country formed the basis for a moderately aggressive model for penetration of alternative powertrains/fuels into each country’s new vehicle fleet from 2010 to 2020. For 2020 to 2050, the UMTRI team then used their knowledge of past and current country policy, the current growth of alternative powertrains/fuels, and the recent sales growth to estimate the continued growth of alternative powertrains/fuels in new vehicles until alternative powertrains/fuels reach 100%of new-vehicle penetration. Using the moderately aggressive model as a baseline, they developed a less aggressive model and a very aggressive model of penetration;
  6. Establish vehicles-in-use, scrappage, and sales estimates for vehicles in the fleet using the old technology/fuels and vehicles using the alternative powertrains/fuels; and
  7. Establish the percentage of vehicles-in-use using alternative powertrains/fuels for 2010 to 2050.
Chinaturnover
Turnover of the Chinese fleet. Click to enlarge.

Their definition for alternative powertrains/fuels eliminates pure gasoline and diesel powertrains/fuels, but does include hybridization of those fuels. Possible alternative powertrains/fuels include: CNG; CNG/diesel hybrid; Diesel/electric hybrid; Gasoline/electric hybrid;Gasoline/CNG hybrid; Gasoline/liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) hybrid; Pure electric; Ethanol (E85); Ethanol (E85)/electric hybrid; Hydrogen; and Fuel cell vehicles.

Overall fleet turnover to alternative powertrains
FleetPercent of fleet turned over by 2050
Less aggressiveModerately aggressiveVery aggressive
United States 77% 84% 93%
Western Europe 69% 83% 90%
Japan 72% 88% 93%
South Korea 60% 80% 87%
Brazil 95% 98% 99%
Russia 64% 75% 83%
India 36% 51% 68%
China 82% 92% 99%

A US Department of Energy program manager recently stated that when introducing a new automotive powertrain technology into a developed market such as the United States, it takes 20 years to bring it to the market, 20 years to get all the old technology out of all the vehicles, and a minimum of 30 years to get the full benefits of the introduction (P. Davis, personal communication, February 20, 2010). The governments, the energy companies, and the auto companies all understand that they will have years to adjust to the evolution to alternative powertrains/fuels, but the challenge of turning over an entire fleet is daunting to even evolutionary thinking. Our analysis of fleet turnover in this report shows the challenge of fleet turnover to alternative powertrains/fuels that include some of the fuels that countries are trying to displace (e.g. hybrid engines that use gasoline or diesel fuel). Eliminating hybrids from the equation would make the transition to alternative powertrains/fuels possibly a 75 to 100 year venture!

...We also see that if countries take a less aggressive approach to turning over their fleet to alternative powertrains/fuels than they have currently stated, many of them will still be very dependent on foreign oil by 2050. Most countries can, with a moderately aggressive approach, turn over most of their fleets, and most of the countries that take a very aggressive approach can meet such a goal by 2050. Yet even in the automotive industry with its long lead times for vehicle development, 40 years is a long time. However, when countries demand that automotive companies introduce new technologies that reduce dependence on foreign oil or reduce greenhouse gas emissions, this is exactly the type of timeframe they must consider.

In order to succeed in this endeavor, a country must be steadfast in moving towards its goal. Consistent policies over a long period of time can make the turnover process more efficient, allowing all the parties involved (governments, energy companies, auto companies, and consumers) time to adjust to the change taking place.

—Belzowski and McManus

The report was sponsored by The University of Michigan and by the research consortium Sustainable Worldwide Transportation. Current members of this research consortium are: Autoliv Electronics; Bosch; FIA Foundation for the Automobile and Society; General Motors; Honda R&D Americas; Nissan Technical Center North America; and Toyota Motor Engineering and Manufacturing North America.

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November 9, 2010 in Brazil, China, Europe, India, Japan, Other Asia, Policy, Russia, Sustainability | Permalink | Comments (12) | TrackBack (0)

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I am going to have to read this study to see what assumptions it makes about e.g. availability of oil. If world oil production is down by 60% in 2050 and we still have an aviation industry, that's easily a 70% conversion to non-petroleum energy right there.

This 40-year transition possibility make more sense than the other study with 131 years. Of course, the progressive reduction in crude oil production will contribute but the major contributing factors could be the production of replacement fuels for airplanes and specially the electrification of the ground fleet.

Really? “.. . turnover more than 90% of their vehicle fleets to alternative powertrain/fuel models by 2050 under very aggressive models (or levels) of penetration,”

That’s like saying the Vikings will win 90% of their games if they score at more aggressively levels than their opponents. Who can disput that?.

And; “but the challenge of turning over an entire fleet is daunting to even evolutionary thinking.”
Evolutionary thinking? What’s that?

A lot can be done in 4 decades. Have a look how far China went in half that time. China, Japan, Brazil and India could do better than 2050 and they probably will. Not so sure about USA, Australia and Canada, where Oil addiction is extremely high and changes do not come easy. EU and many other countries are question marks.

This 40-year transition possibility make more sense than the other study with 131 years.

Yeah but the point of that other study was market forces alone would have us leaving the turnover to the last minute while the oil industry wrings out every last dollar from our pockets. This study says "under very aggressive penetration scenarios" turnover could be quicker.

I note this text from the article: However, when countries demand that automotive companies introduce new technologies that reduce dependence on foreign oil or reduce greenhouse gas emissions, this is exactly the type of timeframe they must consider.

In order to succeed in this endeavor, a country must be steadfast in moving towards its goal. Consistent policies over a long period of time can make the turnover process more efficient, allowing all the parties involved (governments, energy companies, auto companies, and consumers) time to adjust to the change taking place.

They're talking about government planning there, which is why China does better in these scenarios than the US.

EP,

Why would Oil availability be a question or down? Even the biggest, informed Peakist zealot, would say Oil in similar quantities will be available for a minimum of two hundred years. If you read the real Peakist literature, rather than just semi-foolish popularizations of it, that distort their thesis, there is no serious concern for oil availability for a millenia or more.

And that predates the discovery that one third of the Earth's biota by weight, is busy making new crude even as we speak. They are doing it in the rocks up to six miles deep under the floors of the oceans. There is a "natural Bio-fuels industry" at work, that we knew nothing about, until very recently.

Peakists don't count as being Oil, petroleum in forms like heavy oils, sour sulfur-laden crude, tar like, Orinoco very high viscosity oil, tar-sand oil, or shale oil, never mind synthetic manufactured substitutes (Ethanol & cellulosic bio-fuels) that already represent 15% of US demand and significantly more in countries like Brazil. All these sources are now producing oil today to some degree, unlike was the case when the petroleum engineer Peakists, set down their first doomsday writings.

Even then, the real Peakists were concerned more with Refining capacity to handle other than sweet, low-sulfur, low-viscosity, crude, then with Oil availability. The original Peakist fear has proven to be erroneous, because the conversion for existing refineries to handle those other oils, that they said could never be economically afforded to be done, is now finished and completed.

ai_vin,

Well said. We don't have and don't want leaders with enough will to do what should be done. We have been totally convinced (by you know who) that we need over sized, over weight, ICE gas guzzler to survive. We no longer know the difference. We like the blind leading the blind. That may be the major reason why our nation is on a progressive downward path. We may be getting what we collectively deserve. Interesting decades ahead.

Countries with better regulations and leaders will do better.

Unregulated free enterprise may be obsolete and unsustainable.

When 95% of the wealth is in the hands of 1000 billionaires, the end of an era is near.

The Less Aggressive scenario is more likely than the Very Aggressive scenario. From 1970-2010 we got fuel injectors, unleaded gas and catalytic converters. The more likely outcome is picking the least aggressive path that is possible.

Stan, the best thing I can say is that you're clueless.

If you'd like to place a bet on world oil output as little as 5 years from now, I'll be happy to. 5 troy ounces of gold sound good?

SJC...the least aggressive path may be what USA-Canada-Australia and a few other countries will choose (not to rock the boat). However, many other countries without easy access to low cost fossil and/or bio-fuel may be forced into the more aggressive transition mode. That may be the case for many Asian countries such as China, India and EU countries.

We can hope that is the case, most of the growth in oil consumption will happen in India and China. My question is what happens between now and 2050? We just hope that the oil situation remains stable until then?

Stan is right about the Deep Hot Biosphere right now archaebacteria are doing chemosynthesis under every oceanic crustal area there is no dispute of this. The main byproduct of archaebacteria anaerobic chemosynthesis is methane.

This methane is believed to be the main source of the massive methane hydrates found in every ocean basin where the pressure temperature stability curve crosses the subsea sediments. The size of these deposits is mind blowing on the order of 200000 trillion cubic feet or 2 orders of magnitude more than all the other fossil carbons anywhere and everywhere.

Methane hydrates C12 to C13 ratios are skewed to mantle chemistry not Atmospheric or biospheric ratios this can only mean that the archaebacteria are chemosynthesing carbon from the lower lithosphere not the biosphere or atmo. Not surprising since the lithosphere is full of carbon containing minerals.

The debate scientifically is how much these archaebacteria are producing over time and does this methane get converted to polyhydrocarbons of CH2n+++? researcher's have taken rocks of mantle composition and put methane co2 and water in a anvil cell then pressurized it to mantle pressure n temp.

What they got out shocked even the most hardened Geologist who holds abotic oil to be a fairytail, they got polyhydrocarbons that were metastable once the pressure temp was released such as ethane and the like.

That one discovery rocked the Geosciences because if you can take chemosynthetic methane and iron rich rocks plus water and get polyhydrocarbons then this planet should be awash with these look deep and look for structural traps above the mantle crustal interface.

This also explains why some oil in production today has carbon ratios closer to mantle chemistry and not biospheric. We have not looked deep enough to find the abiotic stuff but some fields do show in 4d seismic recharge from a very deep source area and this recharged oil is of mantle chemistry.

I can think of 2 fields in the GOM that this effect is actively being studied right now as the oil is of dare it be said abiotic chemistry the carbon 12 to 13 is almost undeniably of lithosphere and not organic origin.

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