One-Third of Vehicle Mix to Feature Alternative Powertrains in 2025


Tim Dunne

By 2025, it is likely that more than one-third (36%) of new passenger vehicles in the world market will be equipped with alternative powertrains, according to a forecast from J.D. Power’s strategic partner LMC Automotive. That means that some 30 million of about 110 million passenger vehicles forecast to be sold in 2025 will rely on alternative powertrains and alternative fuels.

A majority of this group of fuel-efficient powertrains (17.5%) are expected to be hybrids—those passenger vehicles incorporating hybrid gasoline/electric powertrains (HEVs) such as the Toyota Prius and plug-in hybrids (PHEVs), which rely on both electric batteries and a gasoline engine, such as the Chevrolet Volt. Plug-in electric hybrids will account for a 5% share and gasoline/electric hybrids will make up 12.5% of the product mix. Only 2.5% of the world’s passenger-vehicle mix will be electric vehicles (EVs), such as the pure electric Nissan LEAF, in 2025. Continue reading ›

Partners in China: A Perspective on EV Joint Venture for GM and SAIC

Tim Dunne

The complicated pas-de-deux carried on between General Motors and Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp. (SAIC)* in China may have gotten just a little more complex.

The two companies, which already operate 10 automotive-related joint ventures together, added an 11th JV company to their stable on Tuesday, September 20. This new JV was entered into specifically to develop electric cars in China. The new electric vehicles (EVs), according to General Motors, will not be based on the proprietary technology developed by GM for its Chevrolet Volt extended-range electric vehicle, or based on its Sonic small-car platform.

The EVs will be designed at GM’s Pan Asian Technical Center (PATAC) in Shanghai, another GM and SAIC joint venture. Who gets the new electric vehicles—and how they will be branded—was not announced. Continue reading ›

Chevrolet Volt, Nissan Leaf Buyer Profiles Differ Slightly

Mike Murray

During the first 6 months of 2011, buyers or lessees of the new Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) tended to be slightly older and more often male than buyers of the Nissan Leaf battery-electric vehicle (BEV), based on Power Information Network® (PIN) retail transaction data from J.D. Power and Associates. Both models launched in the US market in December 2010.

PIN data indicates that in the first half of 2011, nearly one-fourth (24.3%) of Nissan Leaf transactions were by females, while only 17.4% of Volt transactions were by female buyers—a significant difference of 8.9 percentage points. In addition, the average buyer age for the Leaf was slightly younger—the average customer was 51 years old compared with 52 years of age for Volt buyers or lessees. Continue reading ›

CAFE Changes Boost Powertrain Efficiency Improvements

Kevin Riddell

Even though a 56.2-mpg CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) average in 2025 is not yet written in stone, automakers do realize that the national standards will continue to rise well into the next decade. As a result, we expect to continue seeing trends such as: engine displacement reduction; the increased use of direct injection and turbocharging; an increasing number of gears in automatic transmissions; and increasing hybridization from start-stop systems to dedicated electric vehicles (EVs), to name a few.

A few years ago, when the 35-mpg standard for 2016 was announced, it was generally thought that hybrids would begin to make up much more of automakers’ sales than they currently do. Cost continues to hinder the growth potential of this technology. As a result, between 2008 and 2010, the share of new hybrid sales has remained at around 2.5%, despite higher fuel prices during the past few years. The hybrid market is expected to grow, but the price of the technology will temper this increase over the next few years. Continue reading ›

Plug-in Prius and Other Plug-in Models may Outperform BEVs

Mike Omotoso

Toyota Group’s new Prius Plug-in Hybrid (PHEV) will be available at dealerships in 15 US states next spring, and the company recently announced that the plug-in technology will become standard on Prius hybrid electric cars in 2014. Since the first Toyota Prius was launched, sales of the automaker’s popular hybrid have surpassed 2 million units worldwide. Toyota officials say they hope to sell 1 million hybrids annually by 2015, which would be more than a 40% increase from 700,000 hybrid sales globally in 2010.

Plug-in Hybrids may Outpace Battery-Electric Vehicle Sales

In the future, plug-in hybrids are expected to be more successful than battery electric vehicles (BEVs) for a number of reasons. One advantage of plug-ins is that they overcome the ‘range anxiety’ issue that BEVs face. BEVs typically have a 70-100 mile range before they need to be recharged, which is a lot less than people are used to. Typically, plug-ins have a 300-400 mile range, which is closer to what drivers of conventional gasoline-powered cars expect and achieve. Continue reading ›

Higher Gas Prices to Spur Demand for Fuel-Efficient Powertrains

High gas prices definitely will encourage consumers to consider more fuel-efficient powertrains. Unfortunately, the higher prices of hybrids and electric vehicles (EVs) will keep the sales of such vehicles low for several years. Hybrids only accounted for 2.4% of light-vehicle sales in 2010 and the first two months of 2011, and we expect EVs to account for less than 1% of light-vehicle sales until 2020. Continue reading ›

More States Will Join California to Sell EVs and PHEVs

Mike Omotoso

California is most likely to become the largest US market for plug-in hybrid passenger vehicles (PHEVs) and battery electric vehicles (BEVs), according to a study from the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor, MI. The state already leads in the number of hybrid owners, with more than 50 per 10,000 . . . Continue Reading More States Will Join California to Sell EVs and PHEVs

China: Promise for Growth of “Green” Vehicles

More than a year ago, China’s President Hu Jintao said his country would intensify efforts to conserve and improve energy efficiency, noting, “We will endeavor to cut carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP by a notable margin by 2020,” according to a citation in a special report from J.D. Power and Associates, “Drive . . . Continue Reading China: Promise for Growth of “Green” Vehicles