Analyst IDTechEx has just completed a major study of 48V mild hybrid vehicles, releasing the brand new report Mild Hybrid 48V Vehicles 2016-2031. It finds that, although they are not yet in series production, 48V mild hybrid vehicles are likely to sell in huge numbers because they can meet even the onerous emissions legislation planned for 2030, while improving performance to close to that of traditional strong hybrids at half the cost. Indeed, much less hassle is involved because these are an incremental improvement to existing powertrains not the new platform, "born electric" approach required to optimally introduce electric vehicles, whether strong hybrid or pure electric.
"We are talking of on-road vehicles here, particularly cars but with good potential for modernising existing trucks and buses too," says leading IDTechEx analyst on the project Dr Peter Harrop. "Our interviews over two years in three continents have been rounded off with many interviews across the world in 2016 and there is a near consensus that 48V systems with torque assist reversible rotating machines can sell at a cumulative 300 million plus vehicles in the window of opportunity from mass launch in 2017 to 2031 or so when we expect dominance of pure electric cars. The exciting thing is that new enhancements are opening up all the time, making 48V systems a more and more compelling prospect. For example, CPT switched reluctance motor generators may eliminate the need for a DC-DC converter and silent pure electric take-off will definitely be available for many 48V vehicles, mimicking this feature in EVs. Some major automotive companies are therefore reviewing the investment they make in strong hybrid given that most of the market may now be grabbed by 48V mild hybrids and pure electric powertrains".
This unique new report from IDTechEx Research, Mild Hybrid 48V Vehicles 2016-2031, gives 15 year forecasts. "A ten year forecast is misleading here," explains Harrop, "because a dramatic peaking then collapse of 48V systems occurs not long after that, in our assessment". IDTechEx does not find it all a bed of roses though. Standards are needed not least for component interoperability and therefore economy of scale. The potential in boats and aircraft is found to be modest and there turns out to be little synergy with the many 48V pure electric vehicles out there from scooters to car-like micro EVs not homologated as cars. Nonetheless a huge potential remains given the big stick of emissions legislation coming in that cannot be met beyond small cars by simply sticking with 12V systems.