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Lux: 48 V micro-hybrid market will pass 7M vehicles in 2024; promising for LTO Li-ion batteries

According to a new forecast by Lux Research, the likely 48 V micro-hybrid market will exceed 7 million vehicles in 2024, with the first adoption year beginning in 2015 and more focused on premium vehicles, in which cost sensitivity in order to reach regulation targets without sacrificing performance is lower.

Europe will lead global demand with 2.6 million units sold in 2024, followed by the US and China. With 1.6 million units, China will be the third-largest market for 48 V micro-hybrids despite having a more attractive total cost of ownership than 48 V micro-hybrids sold in the US. This is due to stricter long-term regulations in the US as well as a greater need to ramp up fuel efficiency to catch up to regulations, Lux said. Europe will lead all other key markets in terms of adoption percentage, with 48 V micro-hybrids representing 11% of all vehicle sales in 2024, according to the forecast.

Click to enlarge.

While there are no 48 V models in production today, these are the next phase of an incremental multi-generational product plan for cost-effective improvement in vehicle fuel economy. Like all new approaches to automotive fuel efficiency, 48 V micro-hybrids will have to compete on upfront costs and total cost of ownership with technologies that improve internal combustion engine (ICE) efficiency as well as all other forms of hybridization and electrification.

Importantly, Lux suggested, 48 V power systems represent a white space not addressed today between 12 V start-stop micro-hybrids and larger mild hybrid systems, allowing them a seat at the table and revenue to show for it as regulations force automakers to find cost-effective methods to meet fuel economy standards.

There is not a clear winning 48 V power system architecture and associated components. It is nonetheless possible to forecast the adoption of 48 V micro-hybrids, taking into account factors such as changing fuel prices, decreasing battery costs, shifting profit margins, the price premium compared to an internal combustion engine (ICE), and improving ICE efficiency, according to Lux.

A key question for the segment is the nature of the energy storage for the system. Noting a predicted 3.7 GWh energy storage opportunity in 2024, Lux sats that Li-ion battery systems will have the inside track for the segment, with Li-ion batteries with traditional anodes representing more than than 2.7 GWh of the total market. The first models of 48 V micro-hybrids are using this electrode material combination.

Once an automaker commits to a battery chemistry, Lux explains, it is likely that it will continue with that chemistry choice for at least one automotive product cycle—about five years. For example, after more than 15 years of selling the Prius hybrid, Toyota is just beginning to shift some of its models to Li-ion batteries from nickel metal hydride (NiMH).

That said, into the 2020’s other chemistries will emerge to displace Li-ion with conventional carbon anodes, and lithium-titanate (LTO) will be the system to emerge, capturing 22% of the total dollar value market size. LTO is able to charge and discharge faster than other Li-ion batteries, but has a lower energy density. For 48 V batteries, dynamic charge acceptance has a premium to energy density and, as such, with increasing LTO volumes will come in lock-step with growing 48 V micro-hybrid adoption.

Automakers committed to other chemistries will compete for a small sliver of the total 48 V micro-hybrid marketplace. In 2024, just 8% of the market by dollar value will go to lead-carbon and nickel-zinc batteries, according to Lux.

As the number of model production vehicles increase from the first iterations of 48 V systems around 2015 to second-generation systems in the 2020s, an increasing amount of auxiliary loads will be moved onto the 48 V system, only increasing the value of battery performance and durability.

First-generation auxiliary loads will likely include the water pump, engine fan, auxiliary heater, air conditioning compressor, and windshield heating, while second-generation applications will also add to the list the vacuum pump, fuel pump, audio amplifier, power steering, and interior fan.

There is work to be done from OEMs down through their tier suppliers, Lux said, but the regulatory forcing functions that drive the adoption of new technology are in full effect for those willing to invest the time in an inevitably growing market.




The Toshiba SCiB (LTO) battery has impressive specs in terms of cycle life and charging rates so I've been wondering why it is not being used more with EV's and am guessing they must be too expensive. Is this micro hybrid technology best suited for this sort of battery. In Canadian markets it seems that hybrids are close to or exceed cost parity so why bother with an intermediate phase. In 5 or 10 years PHEV could be at the same stage as hybrids are at now and then standard ICEV, SSV and these micro-hybrids will appear very old school it seems.


Yes Calgary....with the cost of regular HEVs going down to match equivalent ICEVs, the justification to go with micro-hybrids may never be there?

However, using 48 volts instead of 12 volts for ancillaries could be worthwhile. Smaller, lower cost cabling, starters, AC, motors etc. could reduce total car weight and cost.

Ultra high efficiency (45+%) solar cells integrated in exposed areas (roof, booth, hood) could help to keep the 48 volts batteries charged and condition the cabin temperature 15 minutes before use and/or during regular daytime use.


You should be able to get 10 - 12 Kw from a 48V battery, so you would have enough power for stop/start - roll, possibly all city driving at <= 40 mph.

Then, as @CG says it comes down to money - if there is a significant cost gap between the 300V(ish) full hybrids and a 48V micro hybrid, they have a future, else, people will go straight to 300V.

In Ireland, there is still a significant cost increase between the petrol and hybrid prices (~e6K on e20K for a Toyota Auris). If this could be reduced to (~e2K) for a micro hybrid, they might sell.

However, can you sell micro hybrid as a feature in itself, or just in fuel economy terms. Hybrid cars have a kind of halo effect in being "kind to the environment" and this encourages people to pay more for them.

The question is whether this halo will follow micro hybrids as well as full hybrids.

Stop-start has been well accepted in Europe, but seems to have added very little to the cost, the question is how much will micro hybrid add to the cost, surely not zero, (more likely e1-2K) and will people pay it.

Nick Lyons

Micro-hybrid would work well for me, if it goes beyond start-stop to include creep mode in stop-and-go traffic. With less weight/space compromise due to smaller battery, electrification of parasitic loads and other efficiency optimizations, a micro-hybrid with advanced ICE could challenge today's full hybrids at a lower price point.


uHybrids could work well with diesel as a way of keeping their engines off in town - but you might end up needing quite a bit of battery to hold enough energy, almost like a micro PHEV (!).

@Harvey, you might be waiting a long time for the 45% efficient batteries to appear on cars - the batteries can be charged by the alternator or by plugging the car in. They are likely to cost a lot and might be used on things like long endurance reconnaissance drones first.

Anyway, we will be waiting a long time for any 45% efficient solar cells for anything outside a lab.


"45% efficient batteries" - should have written "45% efficient solar cells".


mahonj...please have a closer look at the latest solar cells efficiency.


Contrasting report from 4Q13 by Navigant Research forecasts 13.5MM 48V global sales by 2023


Mild/micro hybrid systems are a bridge between traditional ICEVs & full electrification... however the cost efficiency is still debatable. Speaking in the US, holding gas prices down does not overtly compel the consumer to accept any degree of electrification, and they certainly don't want to pay for something they don't "need" either.


I would speculate that way more than 50% of modern western economies are based on consumers buying things they don't need.


Multijunction cells reached 32% in 2000; 37% in 2005; 40.5% in 2010 and 44.5% in 2014 and 45+% in 2015 (est)

By 2020 or so, 50% cells will be available.

Of course, those very high efficiency cells will be costly.


@Harvey, I see the solar cell diagram in wikipedia showing efficiency vs time by technology.

Then, I go onto the sharp website and I see them selling 15% polycrystalline cells - in 2014.

As far as I can see it, the mass market is at 1/3 the lab market and nor moving very fast to improve its efficiency.
(It has dramatically improved its costs, but not efficiency.)


New technologies often cost much more than older obsolete ones.

It is also true of solar cells, smart cell phones, large smart TVs, induction stoves, new front loading washer-dryers, high efficiency LEDs, 20-in tires, up to-date high speed low power consumption PCs, larger 12.2-in and 13.3-in tablets, HEVs, PHEVs, FCEVs, extended range BEVs, e-city buses, etc.


Multi junction cells require concentrators and positioning, so overall system cost is higher. A one CM by one CM 30% efficient cell can cost $20 each in 100 piece quantities but can take 1000 suns with proper cooling.

I seriously doubt that multi junction cells will reach 50% efficiency by 2020. They have pushed the triple junction chip about as far as it will go the last 15 years, I don't see a huge leap in the next 6 years.


How about the next 6 YEARS or so?

Roger Pham

The problem w/ micro hybrid and mild hybrid is that the multi-gear-ratio transmission is still needed and the brakes are still required for most of the decceleration thus will require service and replacement. Thus, when adding the motor-generator and the battery, more cost will be added.

In a full HEV or PHEV, no gear-shift transmission is needed, because the pair of motor-generator will serve as an e-CVT, thus will deduct the purchasing cost, service cost and replacement cost of a gear-shift transmission unit that is expensive, heavy and cost a lot to fix or to repair.
Most of the decceleration will be done by the motor-generator, thus will spare the friction brakes from wear and tear and hence service and repair costs.

Thus, in a full HEV or PHEV, the savings in fuel costs, maintenance and repair cost will be around $10,000 USD at 160,000 miles, in comparison to an ICEV. A mild or micro hybrid cannot claim such a generous cost savings because the fuel economy gain is modest, while the mild or micro hybrid feature will cost 1-2 thousands USD more. A full HEV like the Toyota Camry Hybrid or Ford Fusion hybrid costs about $3000 USD more than the ICEV version, yet will save on operating costs 3-4 x the cost premium vs. a non-hybrid version.

With higher production of electric motors, power electronics and batteries, we will expect the cost differential of full HEV or PHEV vs ICEV to narrow more and more, and may eventually reach cost parity with a comparable ICEV, especially with 2-2-5 batteries and downsizing of the ICE in a PHEV or HEV down to 2-3 cylinders. Thus, mild or micro hybrid may soon be a deadend.



They might get multi junction solar cells up to 45% efficiency by 2020.

I want people on here to know that projections into the future may not be linear based on past advances, there is that fundamental limit of physics.



Any idea if Alta Devices (acquired last winter by Hanergy) is going to bring their 30% efficient flexibly thin-film cells to market? They had the thin film efficiency record, probably closer to 25% as part of a module, but apparently hadn't worked out how to scale the assembly line before running out of money. If they can scale, their cost per watt should be considerably lower, with no need for concentrators.


There is the web page, they say about 24% for a single junction, I doubt that. They have been in business since 2007 but you have not heard of them establishing markets for 7 years? I sense some smoke and mirrors.

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