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