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Lux forecasts micro-hybrids to grow to 39M vehicles in 2017, creating a $6.9B battery market

Micro-hybrids will grow nearly eight-fold to 39 million vehicles in 2017 and create a $6.9 billion market for energy storage devices, according to a Lux Research report titled, “Every Last Drop: Micro- And Mild Hybrids Drive a Huge Market for Fuel-Efficient Vehicles.”

Micro-hybrids, which use a small battery to provide varying degrees of efficiency-boosting features, will dominate the automotive market, gaining 42% of the overall light-duty vehicle market, according to the report. Simultaneously, mild hybrids will rise from near-zero to 1.5 million vehicles 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 Li-ion capacity to grow. 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.

—Kevin See, Lux Research Analyst and lead author of the report

To estimate adoption rates for micro-hybrids and mild hybrids, Lux researchers 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. Among their conclusions:

  • 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 US will zoom from minuscule levels today to more than 8 million in 2017.

  • 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 36% CAGR to 22.2 million vehicles in 2017, driven largely by the European market and automakers like Volkswagen.

  • AGM battery technology will grow nine-fold. 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, Li-ion will carve out a niche, growing from near-zero to nearly $570 million in 2017, capturing a 47% market share among plug-in vehicles.



Since micro and mild hybrid technologies can reduce fuel consumption close to 10% and 20% respectively, a nation wide (USA) retrofit program of all existing gas guzzlers could reduce crude oil import by as much as 20% to 25%, at a low acceptable cost per vehicle. A minor extra gas tax (a few pennies/gal) could pay for the program. Government subsidies could be based on effective fuel consumption reduction to prioritize major gas guzzlers.

With a pro-active retrofit program, USA could catch up with China and EU and create many local jobs across the country.


Retrofit of almost any major modification is very expensive, due to the labor and compatibility testing involved. One of the few retrofits that looks good to me (potential fuel savings per dollar of labor) is in-wheel motors replacing rear brakes on front-wheel drive cars.


E-P....good idea. Michelin as developed a light weight in-wheel unit 3 or 4 years ago. What would you do with the electricity generated at every stop? Wheels made of the new Dupont very high resistance plastic would help to keep total wheel weight down.


Store the juice in a capacitor bank or high-current battery. For a dump load once the cap or battery is full, a fat resistor located in a radiator hose would do; the greater heat-dissipating capacity of the radiator compared to a small brake disc or drum might even improve hill-descending capability compared to friction brakes.


Interesting....that type of limited hybrid could reduce liquid fuel consumption in start and stop driving such as city cabs and delivery vehicles. Retrofitting programs would be done within the country and would create many welcomed jobs, more than for imported hybrids.


My reading points toward a NiZn battery as the best candidate for the start/stop hybrid(microhybrid. Pb batteries are too heavy and don't last long under the continuing charge/discharge cycles of city driving:


The whole BAS concept could be retrofitted, whether the numbers make sense is the point. Most drivers may not take a 5 year old car and want to spend $3000-$4000 on a retrofit only to have it take another 10 years to pay back.


You can't retrofit BAS or any other idle-stop system easily; the entire belt-drive system has to be re-engineered to switch the tension and slack sides of the belt, and automatic transmissions need to be able to close clutches much more quickly than ones designed for engines which idle.


This is true, which reinforces the point that retrofits are more of a problem, different makes, models and years. I was thinking more along the lines if someone wanted to retrofit a Malibu as an after market, even that is a problem and the numbers just don't add up anyway, so why bother.


Like any other retrofits, it would have to be done selectively and based on cost versus potential savings over the remaining life of the vehicle.

Most people with relatively recent gas guzzlers (less than half life or less than 5.4 years), doing 25000+ Km/year would be interested, if subsidies cover 50+% of the cost or so, specially when gas price reaches $5/gal or even more.

The positive impact on job creation, gasoline reduced consumption, reduced crude oil import and lower trade deficits would be almost immediate. It could be worth a few million votes in an election year.


You would need to subsidize it to make it happen. The cost payback is just not good enough, even though it would be in the national good and benefit everyone.

The other point is taking off the rear brakes. I do not think that the DOT would like that much. You also have to remove the parking brake, which would be a problem. So the retrofit would have to provide those functions.

PML Flightlink did have a wheel motor with build in brake. But they went broke and the company that is trying to keep the product going is struggling. It looks like an expensive product, so the are trying to sell it to truck fleets for retrofit because the payback looks better.


People will do things which otherwise make no economic sense if they are subsidized; see "Cash for Clunkers". Subsidies are a mistake.

Parking brakes are an issue, but nothing that engineering can't handle. Replacing the friction brake with a self-energizing electric brake and a locking pawl to immobilize the wheel isn't that big of a deal.


It may not be that big of a deal, but I have not seen it approved as safe because it does not exist. They can not approve something that does not exist, no matter how many people say it is easy to do.

As for the start/stop and transmission aspects of your argument, I see no proposed solution to this with your hub motors on the back of a front wheel drive car.

Not all subsidies are a waste. Looking at doing something only because it is massively profitable in the short run is short sighted. If it is in the public good, then it can be considered if only marginally profitable.

What are the health costs of pollution? What is the real cost of going to war for oil? What is the cost of economic uncertainty due to oil embargoes? What is the real cost of rising oil prices and shortages?


In modern vehicles, data such as the transmission PRNDL setting and currently selected gear, engine throttle setting, and brake pressure are all on the CAN bus. A retrofit system can read these data, filter as appropriate (with per-model translation curves, either supplied with the system or picked by the owner), and use them to drive the system operation.

Shift out of park? A motor disengages the parking pawls on the rear wheels.

Press the accelerator? Power is applied to the wheel motors, if there's any available from the battery or capacitor.

Hit the brake? Torque is applied by the motors to slow the wheels, modulated by ABS requirements. Power is stored if storage can accept it, or sent to the dump load.

There's nothing horribly complicated about it, and it has to be kept simple anyway so that it can be put through safety certification.

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