Unlike lithium-ion-powered, grid-connected vehicles whose manufacturers would be happy with annual sales of tens of thousands of units, micro-hybrid vehicle sales will top three million units this year and rise to 34 million units by mid-decade. Despite purists’ rejection of micro-hybrids because they only use energy storage for start-stop and/or regenerative braking applications and not propulsion, the technology represents the most cost-effective way of achieving regulatory carbon emission and mileage goals. We developed a model that incorporates emissions and fuel efficiency regulations in various regions – the driving force behind the adoption of micro-hybrids – and the costs of the various technologies employed in order to understand the market for micro-hybrids and the batteries and ultracapacitors that enable them. Using this model, we forecast the markets by region for different categories of micro-hybrid vehicles and energy storage through 2015. What we found adds up to an enormous opportunity, with the energy storage alone ballooning during the next five years to over $2.7 billion annually.
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