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Lux: micro-hybrids will provide the most economical path for automakers to meet 2025 fuel efficiency targets

While battery-electric vehicles, super-light carbon fiber composites, and hydrogen fuel cells will all be available, a new report from Lux Research has concluded that micro-hybrids will provide the most economical route—$1,700 additional average vehicle cost—to meet aggressive fuel efficiency targets in 2025: 54.5 miles per gallon (mpg) in the US and 95 g CO2/km in Europe.

The Lux report—Building the Car of 2025: How to Cost-Effectively Get to 54.5 MPG Using the Right Mix of Advanced Technologies—concluded that nearly half of the improvements required to meet the targets will come from improvements in micro-hybrid technology, notably through improved batteries, while lighter structural materials will contribute 39% and improved fuels will add 13%.

Lux Research analysts built a data-driven model and evaluated the innovations necessary to meet ambitious 2025 fuel efficiency targets, and their impact on automobile prices. Among their findings:

  • Micro-hybrids lead the charge based on energy storage advances. Innovation in micro-hybrid technologies will be the biggest factor in the march towards greater fuel efficiency, contributing 48% of the improvements required to meet 2025 targets. Falling prices of lithium-ion batteries, lighter and better-performing 12V and 48V batteries, and better supercapacitors are among the changes powering energy storage.

  • Lighter materials are key. Lighter structural materials are at the heart of fuel efficiency and would contribute a hefty 39% of the targeted improvements for 2025. Carmakers such as Ford and GM have ongoing partnerships with companies like Alcoa and Nanosteel Company that develop materials to reduce weight.

  • Alternative fuels help. A third, albeit smaller, factor driving fuel efficiency is innovation in alternative fuels. About 13% of the improved 2025 targets will come from increased Research Octane Number (RON) content due to increasing biofuel blending mandates. Brazil has the highest target of 27.5% for ethanol, while the US aims for 20% by 2022 for all renewable fuels. India and Thailand have set 20% targets, while Europe lags at 10%.

The report is part of the Lux Research Advanced Materials, Energy Storage, Autonomous Systems 2.0, and Alternative Fuels Intelligence services.



Micro hybrid can be added to the transmission at lower cost.


This modeling is very basic. Actually consumers are buying more and more big suvs because gas prices are low. Going to e20 can damage old engines and especially old boats and small engines like carburated lawnmowers.
Peoples prefer lower cost simple cars over hybrids. All they said was actually tried since the last 12 years and it didn't catch-up, so why it will catch-up from now to 2025. Goverments are going to bankrupcies with these mad subsidies and stupid régulations.

I said clearly here years ago to stop these subsidies and crooked régulations and thus lower my tax burden. Also i stated clearly to sell 100% lower cost gasoline for my actual car and build and commercialize and sell for pennies a small efficient gasoline car. Stop these inneficient subsidized nightmare ridiculous hybrids, i don't want to overspend.


A microhybrid is simply a car that stops and starts the ICE instead of idling. That's it. Yet another way to keep producing ICE cars and to continue polluting with fossil fuels instead of spending the money to develop batteries and BEVs.

Hurry up Tesla. We gotta change over to BEVs more quickly.


There is no practical way to meet the 54.5 mpg emission standards by 2025. Even under the best scenario conventional cars will reach 45 mpg and even if electrical vehicles will reach 10% of the market, which they will not, they will raise average mpg by only 5 mpg. Realistically the target should be rolled back to 48 mpg. It still represent a very respectable emission cut. A decade later when electric cars will start taking on gasoline cars heads on emission levels should be raised much deeper.

Steve Reynolds

"There is no practical way to meet the 54.5 mpg emission standards by 2025."

But isn't the Prius there right now by that measurement?


Note that the 54.5 mpg standard is a CAFE measurement, not the sticker value which is an attempt at a "real world" number. The 3rd generation Prius has a CAFE of about 67 mpg, so it is well beyond 54.5. Also, the CO2 and fuel economy standards for 2025 are based on the footprint of a vehicle (area of a rectangle defined by the points where the 4 wheels touch the ground). So larger vehicles don't have to get 54.5 mpg. EPA has commissioned a number of studies which suggest that the 54.5 mpg average is attainable. There is a little bit of excessive optimism in the EPA studies, but we still have almost a decade until 2025. So there is a fair chance that auto manufacturers can meet the goal at a reasonable cost. Especially if fuel gets back to $4/gallon in the U.S. by 2025, cars which meet the 54.5 mpg standard might have a higher purchase price but a lower cost of ownership.

There is currently a lot of interest in 48V microhybrids. But these are not too different from the Saturn Vue (36V) and the GM eAssist (120V, 15kW). Both of these were disappointing in the marketplace. Perhaps 48V electric superchargers will be a good way to provide performance and fuel economy in a very small engine.


what they left out is how graphene and 2D materials will drive the greatest factor in attainment half the weight of carbon fiber and conductive. 48volt drive systems will also be bigger then given credence for one price, its safer and to power in wheel motors. The chevy Volt runs primarily electric with a ICE generator, seems logical if batteries can get to below $100 kWh. Thats where graphene super capacitors will blosom. People can already print there own super caps on cd burners.
The 3d print revolution will be in full force by 2020 so ordering your car online and picking up the the chassis at the local maker club the next day will be much more likely in 2025.

Juan Valdez

I also think micro-hybrids add too little value to win.

IMHO, manufacturers will copy drivetrains like the new hybrid Malibu, with 40+ MPG without plug-in, just using the Volt drivetrain and a small battery.

This technology is essentially a gasser with no transmission, where startup, low speed and start/stop are all handled by electric motors and lithium batteries > 48v. From here, the cars will keep getting larger batteries/smaller gassers, eventually dropping the gasser entirely.

An in parallel, they will be playing catchup with fully electric success stories like Telsa, Chevy Volts and (probably) Chevy Bolts.

Oh, and if Apple and Google enter the market, all bets are off !!

Henry Gibson

Some series hydraulic hybrid automotive systems can double the miles per fuel used as has be demonstrated by Artemis Digital Displacement without any new battery developments and no large batteries. Parallel systems can give 10 to 20 percent improvement without much modification of the vehicle or engine. New automobiles should be required to have series hybrid transmissions. required by law as they are cheaper than electric systems and have much less weight. Even more savings are available with smaller engines since much more performance from stops is available from hydraulics. ..HG..

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