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Published on August 18th, 2008 | by Andrew Williams

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Report Claims Every New Car Will Be a Hybrid By 2020

honda civic piccie

A major new report has claimed that by 2020 all new cars sold will be hybrids of one form or another, and that battery technology will be commonplace in most cars.

The report, ‘Automotive 2020: Clarity Beyond the Chaos,’ (.pdf), written by IBM’s Institute for Business Value, is based on interviews with 125 anonymous car industry executives across 15 different countries.

The findings make it clear that the car industry is currently undergoing a period of radical and fundamental change. According to one respondent, an executive with a European car company, “In the next ten years, we will experience more change than in the 50 years before.”

Other key conclusions are that:

  • Battery technology will be ubiquitous in just over a decade, with automakers and their suppliers focusing much of their R&D efforts on the electronics and software required to integrate them into vehicles.
  • Investment in biofuels will continue, although the technology “must undergo rapid evolution for global application and proliferation.”
  • Ethanol from corn and other food crops is a dead end, but cellulosic ethanol “has the potential to see widespread acceptance.”
  • Traditional fossil fuels will make up only around two thirds of the market by 2020, while average vehicle CO2 emissions will fall to 97 g/km, seven grams less than the current generation Toyota Prius.
  • Although hydrogen fuel-cells “remain a viable alternative,” even the optimists don’t expect them to comprise more than a small fraction of vehicles in 2020.

With hybrid and electric vehicles currently making up only around 3 per cent of the market, the report’s predictions regarding the growth of electric and hybrid vehicles may seem to some to be ambitious or overly optimistic. However, there are clear signs that interest in alteratively powered cars is exploding. Moreover, recent months have seen a series of announcements by major car companies including GM, Ford, Honda, BMW-Mini, VW and Daimler, highlighting their intention to sell hybrid, plug-in hybrid or all-electric cars in the near future.

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Image Credit – Honda



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About the Author

is a writer and freelance journalist specialising in sustainability and green issues. He lives in Cardiff, Wales.



  • http://gas2.org Ronald Schaefer

    Its about time someone recognizes fuel made from corn will be dead. It should be dead as soon as possible. Between high fuel costs and corn demand for fuel, the cost of corn increases which affects the cost of food that uses corn in its product or for feeding.

  • http://gas2.org Ronald Schaefer

    Its about time someone recognizes fuel made from corn will be dead. It should be dead as soon as possible. Between high fuel costs and corn demand for fuel, the cost of corn increases which affects the cost of food that uses corn in its product or for feeding.

  • http://www.hybrid-car-show.com/ David

    the report goes well with Toyota’s recent announcement that their entire lineup will have hybrid engines as an option by 2020.

    David @

    http://www.hybrid-car-show.com/

  • http://www.hybrid-car-show.com/ David

    the report goes well with Toyota’s recent announcement that their entire lineup will have hybrid engines as an option by 2020.

    David @

    http://www.hybrid-car-show.com/

  • http://www.hybrid-car-show.com/ David

    the report goes well with Toyota’s recent announcement that their entire lineup will have hybrid engines as an option by 2020.

    David @

    http://www.hybrid-car-show.com/

  • Plainsman

    Gasoline has been obsolete since the Clean Air Act of the mid 1960’s. Ethanol has superior burn characteristics to gas and will replace it within the next 5-10 years (for a short video on ethanol see this:http://www.jaylenosgarage.com/video/video_player.shtml?vid=190247).

    Ethanol from corn only uses the sugar and the carbohydrates. It doesn’t use the nutrients. For every bushel of corn they get approx. 3 gallons of ethanol and 20 lbs. of distillers grains which is a better feed than corn. Corn is difficult for cattle to digest and is loaded with carbs and sugars. Expect corn farmers to increase yield in corn exponentially in the next decade.

  • Plainsman

    Gasoline has been obsolete since the Clean Air Act of the mid 1960’s. Ethanol has superior burn characteristics to gas and will replace it within the next 5-10 years (for a short video on ethanol see this:http://www.jaylenosgarage.com/video/video_player.shtml?vid=190247).

    Ethanol from corn only uses the sugar and the carbohydrates. It doesn’t use the nutrients. For every bushel of corn they get approx. 3 gallons of ethanol and 20 lbs. of distillers grains which is a better feed than corn. Corn is difficult for cattle to digest and is loaded with carbs and sugars. Expect corn farmers to increase yield in corn exponentially in the next decade.

  • Plainsman

    Gasoline has been obsolete since the Clean Air Act of the mid 1960’s. Ethanol has superior burn characteristics to gas and will replace it within the next 5-10 years (for a short video on ethanol see this:http://www.jaylenosgarage.com/video/video_player.shtml?vid=190247).

    Ethanol from corn only uses the sugar and the carbohydrates. It doesn’t use the nutrients. For every bushel of corn they get approx. 3 gallons of ethanol and 20 lbs. of distillers grains which is a better feed than corn. Corn is difficult for cattle to digest and is loaded with carbs and sugars. Expect corn farmers to increase yield in corn exponentially in the next decade.

  • TD

    There has been a rash of original-model (2001-2003) Prius batteries dying this summer in the South. The same phenomena is expected in the North this winter.

    Considering that replacement battery packs are $3000, you really don’t want a hybrid vehicle if you live in an extreme climate unless you have a climate-controlled garage. Everyone *should* get at least 6 years out of each battery pack, but a $3000 repair is too much for a car that you have probably just paid off or are about to pay off.

    Sure, we hear a lot about how battery technology is getting better and better. But tall batteries still wear out. I bet you can imagine what happens in a completely drive-by-wire car like the Prius when the computer starts malfunctioning because of battery problems.

  • TD

    There has been a rash of original-model (2001-2003) Prius batteries dying this summer in the South. The same phenomena is expected in the North this winter.

    Considering that replacement battery packs are $3000, you really don’t want a hybrid vehicle if you live in an extreme climate unless you have a climate-controlled garage. Everyone *should* get at least 6 years out of each battery pack, but a $3000 repair is too much for a car that you have probably just paid off or are about to pay off.

    Sure, we hear a lot about how battery technology is getting better and better. But tall batteries still wear out. I bet you can imagine what happens in a completely drive-by-wire car like the Prius when the computer starts malfunctioning because of battery problems.

  • Pingback: U.S. Could Cut Fuel Use 50% by 2035 : Gas 2.0()

  • Tim

    We’ll have significantly less oil to support the auto industry by 2020. Perhaps there will still be hybrids and EVs made for the rich, but it’s reasonable to expect a massive contraction in the market as manufacturing and delivery costs blow out, the middle class goes out of work and has more pressing needs than what status symbol they’ll blow their pay cheques on, fuel becomes prohibitively expensive or unavailable, resale values plummet, and spare parts become scarce. Just consider America’s inability to maintain its road infrastructure! How are you going to provide smooth surfaces for these vehicles when bitumen is unaffordable?

    Auto manufacturers are already on the rocks. It’s rather optimistic to expect them to have the capital to turn out new expensive vehicles at historic rates and remain solvent in a declining economy.

    Reports like this seem to assume the future can look like the recent past with a few tweaks. It underestimates the calamity that declining net energy will cause. The changes will be sweeping, and there are much more interesting responses than technical adaptation of the most inefficient form of transport invented.

  • Tim

    We’ll have significantly less oil to support the auto industry by 2020. Perhaps there will still be hybrids and EVs made for the rich, but it’s reasonable to expect a massive contraction in the market as manufacturing and delivery costs blow out, the middle class goes out of work and has more pressing needs than what status symbol they’ll blow their pay cheques on, fuel becomes prohibitively expensive or unavailable, resale values plummet, and spare parts become scarce. Just consider America’s inability to maintain its road infrastructure! How are you going to provide smooth surfaces for these vehicles when bitumen is unaffordable?

    Auto manufacturers are already on the rocks. It’s rather optimistic to expect them to have the capital to turn out new expensive vehicles at historic rates and remain solvent in a declining economy.

    Reports like this seem to assume the future can look like the recent past with a few tweaks. It underestimates the calamity that declining net energy will cause. The changes will be sweeping, and there are much more interesting responses than technical adaptation of the most inefficient form of transport invented.

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