In December 2015, 195 UN member-states agreed on limiting global warming to 2-degree Celsius. The member-states committed to operating “climate neutral” from 2050 onwards—which means that while CO2 and other GHG emissions will still...
In December 2015, 195 UN member-states agreed on limiting global warming to 2-degree Celsius. The member-states committed to operating “climate neutral” from 2050 onwards—which means that while CO2 and other GHG emissions will still be permitted at a level of 40% less than that of 2015, they will have to be offset through forestation, capturing or by other means. This target applies to all emitters in operation, not just the newest ones sold in that year—so, by 2050, the entire automotive parc (vehicles-in-operation) would have to be replaced by GHG-neutral vehicles. Given the current average scrapping ages and parc build-up, that process could take 20 years—making 2030 a logical year for fully GHG-neutral new car sales. In light of this, PwC Autofacts has created a scenario analysis on the future development of powertrain mix in the EU.
In 2015, 98% of all the new registered light vehicles in the EU have been exclusively driven by conventional combustion engines. PwC calculations expect that, by 2020, their share will decrease to 87%; by 2025, they will make up less than 50%; and by 2030, combustion engines will only account for a relatively low 16%. On the other hand, electric vehicles, currently 0.4%, could potentially surpass the market share of conventional combustion engines by 2028 for the first time and are expected to increase to 37% by 2030. Mild, full and plug-in hybrids are regarded as a transitory technology and play an important role for the auto industry to achieve emission targets. By 2030, they are likely to account for 47%.
Mild-hybrids drive e-evolution
The breakthrough of alternative drive technologies will take place in two stages. Initially, smaller technological advancements can be expected, such as increasing adoption of the 48-voltage electric system, allowing the use of cost-efficient hybrid technologies. This technology enables the efficient usage of electric motors up to 15 kW performance as mild hybrid. The electric motor serves as a starter providing additional torque. It can also serve as a generator to recuperate energy while braking. In both cases, the electric motor helps reduce fuel consumption. Currently, one out of every 100 new cars sold in the EU is a mild hybrid. By 2020, this is expected to increase to 8%. Another five years later, its share could peak at 25%, before declining, as full electric vehicles are assumed to grow.
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Governments push e-mobility
Politics plays a major role in the growth of e-mobility. Besides the introduction of a new test cycle—Worldwide harmonised Light vehicles Test Procedures—that is likely to replace the New European Driving Cycle in the EU after 2017, governments have a great influence on the development of e-mobility. Measures range from federal subsidies to locally bounded prohibition of combustion engines.
Automakers are expanding their product portfolios, especially with electrified vehicles including mild, full and plug-in hybrid models. Consequently, Autofacts forecasts alternative drivetrains to grow in the EU by over 556%, equivalent to 2.61 million units, summing up to more than 3.09 million units by 2022. Plug-in hybrids and battery electric engines may contribute the most (55.8%) to that. Gasoline-hybrids are expected to hold the majority (81.3%) of the hybrid market by 2022. By 2028, more electrical vehicles than conventional combustion engine could be delivered to customers within the EU.
The author is partner, Price Waterhouse, and an auto expert