Micro-hybrids to drive away with share in green vehicle battle

New research predicts that number of cars making use of batteries for better stop-start fuel efficiency will grow eight times by 2017.

A new report from Lux Research is predicting huge market gains for micro-hybrid vehicles, cars and other automobiles that burn fuel more efficiently in stop-go situations.

It's another indication that consumers are interested in fuel efficiency, but many of them can't quite convince themselves to invest in truly disruptive technologies such as electric vehicles.

The report, "Every Last Drop: Micro- and Mild Hybrids Drive a Huge Market for Fuel-Efficient Vehicles," predicts that micro-hybrids will drive $6.9 billion in sales by 2017, accounting for 39 million vehicles. That is eight times the number currently on the road.

Micro-hybrids will probably account for 42 percent of the light-duty vehicle market, according to the Lux Research forecast.

Micro-hybrids use energy storage technologies to run when stopped or idling, which helps conserve fuel consumption. "Micro-hybrids and, to a lesser extent, mild hybrids, provide a cost-effective solution to fuel savings to bridge the gap to more disruptive technologies like alternative fuels, plug-in vehicles and fuel cell vehicles," writes Kevin See, analyst and lead author of the Lux Research report.

Here are some other highlights of the research:

  • Europe will be the most important market for micro-hybrids, followed by China and the United States
  • Medium sized micro-hybrids will be the most important category, led by European automakers including Volkswagen
  • The most popular batteries in micro-hybrids will focus on absorbed glass mat (AGM) technologies

So, how about it? When you have to buy your next car, will you splurge on an electric vehicle or will you take some sort of intermediate step and invest in a micro-hybrid?
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