MUNICH, Germany Despite the ongoing hype about HEV and electric drives for passenger cars, the stage for vehicle 'electrification' is somewhere else. Market researcher Darnell Group says heavy-duty trucks are much more prone for alternative powertrain approaches.
According to Darnell analyst Linnea Brush, passenger hybrid-electric vehicles do not necessarily represent the best opportunity for suppliers to get into the vehicle electrification market. While passenger HEVs get al lot of the press and environmental regulation as well as fuel efficiency considerations provide a strong stimulus for these approaches, but "they do not benefit from the technology as much as other vehicle types," she said. Since the automotive market continues to be subject to heavy price pressure and vehicle electrification is still an expensive option, the HEVs and electric cars are confronted with limited market chances.
For parts and technology suppliers, batteries and associated management systems for HEVs as well as for purely electric vehicles are one of the most interesting components, the study concludes, since these elements are critical components. In addition power management ICs and power semiconductors will be in the focus of the industry and hence these semiconductor market segments are expected to be rather resilient.
The most important technology drivers for powertrain vehicle electrification are stop-start systems and varying loads, the study says. The latter one however is more relevant for vehicles outside the passenger car segment such as small task-oriented vehicles, heavy-duty trucks and off-road vehicles. Since many national stimulus packages will promote infrastructure projects, heavy-duty trucks and other non-automotive vehicle market segments will benefit disproportionately, the study says. For this and number of other reasons, the study authors expect increased adoption of electric and hybrid-electric drives in non-passenger vehicles. First commercial hybrid truck production has already started in 2008, they point out. In 2009 and beyond, the growth will accelerate.
Automotive electronics needs to embrace power, expert says