Demand for hybrids will rise again.
Sean Welch - CleanMPG
- Mar. 11, 2009
The public perception and importance of fuel efficiency is finally beginning to change.
Consumers have come to understand the simple benefits of hybrid vehicles over the last decade or so: they use less fuel and emit less pollution than standard cars. Just as the market should start taking off, however, the global economic meltdown has stunted the its growth for at least the next year.
The economic crisis has hurt automotive markets; car sales have slowed, auto dealers can’t obtain financing for new showroom vehicles, and major manufacturers have had to beg for government bailouts to keep from going out of business. Once the economy begins to recover, fuel prices will start to rise as well, which will push consumers to seek more fuel-efficient means of transportation; the result will be growing demand for hybrid and other alternative-fuel vehicles. Luckily, automakers and automotive component suppliers are working on advancements in hybrid powertrain and battery technologies that will make hybrid light vehicles for consumers increasingly fuel-efficient, clean and quiet.
NextGen Research, in its report “Consumer Hybrid Vehicles: Series, Parallel, Mild, Full Parallel and Assist Hybrid Cars” (http://www.nextgenresearch.com/resea...ybrid_Vehicles
), forecasts the market for consumer hybrid vehicles will grow slightly from the 550,000 units sold worldwide in 2008 to just over 600,000 units in 2009. However, the report observes that once the economy starts to rebound in 2010, so will the consumer hybrid vehicle market, which will grow to nearly 2 million vehicles in 2013. The US will continue to account for more than half of global consumer hybrid vehicle sales, in unit terms, over the forecast period, as it has every year since 2007 (when sales were a dismal 352,000); by 2013, the US market will see a million hybrids sold.
Says Larry Fisher, Research Director of NextGen Research, “At its simplest, hybrid technology just means you have more than one method of propulsion in the same car, often an internal combustion engine and a battery-powered electric motor. At low speeds, the electric motor drives the vehicle, using no fuel and emitting no harmful pollutants at all. If you’re only driving in the city, it’s possible the only time your car uses any fuel is when it has to recharge the battery.”