Massive improvements make 48V the future hybrid

12th September 2019
Alex Lynn

The 48V mild-hybrid powertrains from 25 car brands will extend factory and platform life. They rise to a flood in 2020. Most use belt-driven alternator replacements for starter, torque-assist for downsized engine, and primitive regenerative braking. The reduction in carbon dioxide emission keeps things legal as emissions laws tighten. It is quieter and uses less fuel. 

By Dr Peter Harrop, Chairman at IDTechEx

Favourite uses for the extra electricity stored in an added lithium-ion battery are an electric supercharger instead of turbocharger for better fuel economy and performance, and active suspension for improved comfort.

IDTechEx predicts 48V hybrid will peak at a huge 13 million cars made in 2027, ten to fifteen 15% of the car market. This is something that those with legacy assets in internal combustion ignore at their peril. There is more, as revealed in the new IDTechEx report ‘48V Mild Hybrid and 48V Full Hybrid Vehicles 2020-2030’.

The 48V hybrids will be easily incrementally improved way beyond past targets. Better economy, performance and comfort are coming from motor integration and abandoning the lead-acid battery with its associated cost of short life and dual-voltage charging. Advanced power electronics means less cooling, less to go wrong.

Raghu Das, CEO of analysts IDTechEx adds, "However, nothing is more important than transitioning to a 48V full-hybrid, a true electric vehicle with Prius-like silent-mode, pure-electric features at a fraction of the cost and 20% emissions reduction on conventional, then more. Consider Geely's leadership with supercapacitors for handling many more electric accessories kicking in together, best regeneration. Add the Hyundai large solar roof just announced on a conventional hybrid. Ultra-simple, tiny range-extender type engines? Huge gains in emissions, economy, comfort and unprecedently low cost and elegant simplicity await."

Lithium-ion battery shortages? Then think about making over 30 Prius replacements for every Tesla costing three times as much. That is still a huge benefit to the planet and city pollution compared to hanging on with gas-guzzling, traditional internal combustion with increasing cost from fitting emissions controllers. Indeed, the total cost of ownership of 48V full-hybrid will be much lower than traditional hybrids.

Twenty-five percent emissions reduction on conventional internal combustion comes later. There is even some place for them in the form of buses and trucks. Watch Eaton. Borg Warner and Continental already have impressive capability in 48V full-hybrid car systems. Others are joining. The ‘48V Mild Hybrid and 48V Full Hybrid Vehicles 2020-2030’ report has the details.

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