Hybrid Powertrains Predicted to Dominate Near Landscape

Hybrid powertrains are predicted to dominate global vehicle sales at least for the short- to medium-term.

That’s the suggestion made by Frost & Sullivan’s analysis, Global Powertrain Outlook, 2020, also predicting global automotive sales are expected to decline by more than 14.2% owing to COVID-19 by the end of 2020. Yet it says the downturn will not affect ongoing vehicle trends and these will be dominated by the consumer’s choice of powertrains.

The report claims demand in Europe for diesel engines is expected to decline by 30% by the end of 2020 suggesting this is linked to the affect of Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicles Test Procedure (WLPT) ‘real world’ testing. However, the more likely culprits lay among the clean-air lobbyists and regulators threatening urban bans on diesel powered vehicles.

It also says that the continuing electrification of powertrains by automakers to meet ever tightening emission standards will see a growth in most global markets of self-charging, plug-in and mild hybrid systems linked to smaller internal combustion engines. In the US the market is expected to register about 1.13 million electric and hybrid vehicle sales in 2020, an increase of about 4.7%, with a majority of the growth coming from BEVs and mild and full hybrids.

In Latin America, sales have been driven by hybrid models, thus EVs and hybrids are expected to hold a 1.2% market share in 2020. Unsurprisingly considering the economic strangle hold it has on battery technology, China is expected to see BEV’s market share increase from 4.9% of the sales in 2019 to 5.6% in 2020.

India is a special case where hybrid vehicle sales increased by 75% from 2018, which poses opportunities for automakers to explore the market. Diesel vehicles will witness an increase in prices compared to gasoline owing to the stringent norms of Bharath Stage – 6 (BS-VI).

Overall, the report suggests global electrified powertrain sales are forecast to increase by about 3.4%, spurring demand for gasoline-hybrid and fully-electric powertrains. Naga Karthik Voruganti, research analyst, automotive and transportation at Frost & Sullivan, said: “OEMs will focus on hybridizing existing internal combustion engine vehicles as full hybrids have proven to help comply with stricter regulations and have also enjoyed consumer success in recent times. Engine downsizing will continue, while the highly efficient gasoline direct injection engines will continue seeing an increase in adoption. The integration of gasoline particulate filters and three-way catalytic converters is expected to increase substantially in 2020 with more OEMs seeking to get their gasoline-powered vehicles certified under the new WLTP regulations.”

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in London. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_

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