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Frost & Sullivan: All Euro Automakers to Hybridize by 2010

Frost & Sullivan, a global research and consulting firm, forecasts that all European automakers are likely to hybridize their vehicles to some degree—micro, mild and full—by the end of the decade due to stringent emission requirements combined with increasing fuel prices.

Micro-hybrids (start-stop systems with regenerative braking) will represent the most pervasive hybrid approach, especially in the mini, small and compact vehicle segments, according to Frost & Sullivan’s analysis.

Micro-hybrid vehicles are set to dominate the market due to lower hybridization costs and rapid return on investments (ROI) for end users.

—Vijayendra R. Rao, Research Analyst

Mini, small and compact segment vehicles are likely to account for about 85–90% of micro-hybrid vehicles by 2015. Further, micro hybridization of the driveline will help vehicle manufacturers reduce emissions and hence satisfy the voluntary European automobile manufacturers association (ACEA) agreement to reduce the CO2 fleet-average emissions to 140g/km by 2008.

Currently, the PSA Group (with its micro-hybrid start-stop system), Honda and Toyota are the only vehicle manufacturers to market hybrid electric vehicles extensively.

Frost & Sullivan expects the strategic alliance of BMW, Daimler Chrysler and General Motors to design and manufacture full hybrid vehicles (two-mode full hybrid systems) will further improve penetration rates of these vehicles.

In support of driving down the cost differential between hybrids and conventional vehicles, Frost & Sullivan recommends that automakers develop collaborations with suppliers of motors for consumer applications to reduce the price of electric motors and ensure the commercial viability of hybrid vehicles. The same strategy can also be applied to battery and electronics suppliers.

Increasing standardization and more capable energy storage solutions are also necessary.

It will become vital to standardize hybrid technology in terms of crucial elements such as starter generators, electric motors, energy storage systems and power electronics. This will assist in reducing research and development costs and facilitate the commercialization of technology at a rapid pace.

Vendors will need to concentrate on obtaining energy storage systems for hybrid electric vehicles with pulse-specific power as well as a high-charge acceptance. This will help to maximize the utilization of regenerative braking and ensure a reasonable product life cycle.

—Vijayendra R. Rao

Frost & Sullivan sees the emergence of complete hybrid subsystems (comprising the electric motor, power electronics, energy management system, brake systems and electrical auxiliaries) from suppliers such as Continental AG and ZF Friedrichshafen AG helping to increase the European HEV market from about 40,000 units in 2005 to over 1.2 million units in 2015.



Besides PSA, Honda and Toyota, GM is already a player in the micro-hybrid arena, implementing this technology as an option on full-size pickup trucks.


Ford is also lumbering along with it's fuller-bodied Escape and Mariner hybrids.

From a purely dollars-and-cents point of view, GM's approach may be the most rational; spending $1500 on extra equipment to cut fuel consumption by 10% makes more economic sense when starting from a larger total fuel consumption figure. Someone spending $2000 a year on fuel (~850 gal. @ $2.35/gal; ~15000 mi. per year @18 mpg) could recoup the cost of the extra equipment within seven and a half years if the equipment saves him 10% a year. Someone driving a small car (e.g. Toyota Corolla) the same yearly mileage would need to keep the car for nearly 15 years before the savings added up. Plus, the availability of power outlets on GM's hybrid pickup can -- as has been pointed out -- save more money and pollution if they displace less clean stand-alone generators.

Only if the cost of the system is reduced considerably will it make economic sense to implement on small cars -- but that is the point of the report. But starting with an earlier and more expensive version of the technology, it makes the most sense to implement it where it will create the most absolute fuel savings per vehicle.

GM missed -- as my analysis misses -- the non-economic reasons why consumers have sprung for the Prius in large numbers -- prestige, environmental concerns, "first mover" status, etc. But coming from a car company which made a great deal of money in the 1990s selling oversized and overpowered SUVs to consumers who often (though admittedly not always) had no functional need for them, it is hard to forgive them for failing to catch the latest popular but somewhat economically irrational trend. Especially when sound environmental and conservation concerns underpin that trend, and when further oil market and technological developments will by necessity turn it from an non-economical trend into an essential consumption-cutting strategy.


GM didn't miss the opportunity because it wasn't there for them. If consumers would be rational than 9 out of 10 cars would be a corolla or similarly sized car. Image is why most people buy something else. Toyota had the image to go with it. Volvo and Saab would also have the image for it but Saab isn't long enough a GM brand to have had the money to develop it. Another reason why Toyota financed the Prius was as a kind of advertising. Without the high oil price it would still be a money loser and the reason why the oilprice is at this moment so high is China's demand and Iraq. Both of which were unknown 10 years ago



Rafael Seidl

For Toyota, the Prius was literally a marketing vehicle, i.e. a loss leader, for many years. European manufacturers (except Porsche) don't really have deep enough pockets to play catch-up and are overwhelmingly sticking to turbodiesel technology. Audi had brought its Duo hybrid to market long before the Prius was a twinkle in Toyota's eye, but it flopped commercially.

Today's hybrid technology is more attractive, for vehicles in stop-and-go traffic. This includes city buses, garbage trucks, delivery vans, taxis and especially, the price-sensitive sub-compact segment. European manufacturers are looking at hybrids only because they can't meet US and CA emissions regulations with their diesels.

Unfortunately, electric hybrids featuring NiMH or Li-ion batteries are still very expensive to produce. Rapid-charge variants would improve recuperation efficiency and hence hybrid ROI, but they are still in the lab:

EDLC systems would recuperate even more efficiently but they are also not yet available in volume or at low cost:

However, hybrids do not have to be electric at all, there are strictly mechanical alternatives like hydraulic habrids:

These make sense for large vehicles. By contrast, a pneumatic hybrid might be suitable for a passenger car:

IMHO, the proposed expensive camless valve train (see following links) is NOT strictly required.;do=show/lng=en/alloc=3/id=2481;do=show/lng=en/alloc=3/id=2668

A pneumatic hybrid features two separate energy *stores* but only one energy *converter*. Besides supporting zero idling, the fresh air pressurized during recuperative braking could be used to mask turbocharger lag, especially in spark-ignition engines. Fuel savings due to hybridization and turbocharging would be cumulative.

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