Hybrids Will Need To Provide Increased Performance to Compete in North America, Finds ABI

The common perception of hybrid electric vehicles is that they get tremendous gas mileage, yet lack higher performance. However, the direction of hybrid product introductions for the North American market will feature added performance and functionality as a priority over best-in-class gas mileage.

Oyster Bay, NY - November 10, 2003


The common perception of hybrid electric vehicles is that they get tremendous gas mileage, yet lack higher performance. However, the direction of hybrid product introductions for the North American market will feature added performance and functionality as a priority over best-in-class gas mileage, finds technology research firm ABI.

Current hybrids such as Toyota's Prius, and Honda's Insight and Civic Hybrid, are the most fuel-efficient gasoline-powered vehicles in North America. They currently utilize electric motors to augment small gasoline engines. The next breed of North American-targeted hybrids, however, will feature electric motors in conjunction with much larger fuel-burning engines. Because of different goals, the marketing of hybrids will need to differ in each global region. In Europe and Japan, fuel is far more expensive, so development will continue to hinge on the use of smaller-displacement gasoline and diesel burning engines.

"Several hybrid vehicles will soon reach the North American market, and will feature much larger conventional engines," states Dan Benjamin, ABI analyst. "North American OEMs will incorporate hybrid technology into larger engines to provide superior performance, and are expected to offer hybrid six cylinder vehicles with the performance of an eight cylinder. Outside of North America it will be the opposite; hybrids will be used to extract reasonable performance from engines smaller than one liter."

According to the findings of the new hybrid vehicle study, the global hybrid vehicle market will remain very small through the end of this decade, with fewer than 500,000 vehicles produced in 2007. Market growth will hinge on cost reductions for key components and hybridization becoming available on a greater number of mainstream models. Annual global hybrid production promises to reach 1 million units by 2010. Although the current generation of hybrids may not sell in large quantities, hybrid technology has arrived and some automakers are taking this more seriously than others. Automakers not currently developing them will fall further behind on the learning curve.

The new ABI report, "Hybrid Electric Vehicles: Global Market Assessment, Key Technologies, and Forecasts" thoroughly examines key components and design choices in hybrid technology. The study profiles major players and provides regional growth prospects and forecasts through 2010. The report examines major components, including engines, electric motors, batteries, power converters, controllers, transmissions, emissions equipment, and overall system approaches. End-use markets are assessed and discussed, and the status of major automakers and suppliers are analyzed.

ABI is a N.Y.-based technology market research firm founded in 1990. ABI publishes market research and technology intelligence on the wireless, automotive, electronics, networking and energy industries. Details can be found on the web at abiresearch.com or by calling 516-624-3113.

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