Boston, Massachusetts – “Micro-hybrids,” which use small batteries to provide varying degrees of efficiency-boosting features, will grow nearly eightfold to 39 million vehicles in 2017 and create a US$6.9 billion market for energy storage devices, according to a new report by Lux Research.

The fuel-saving alternative technology will find ready adoption due to stricter emission standards, the report said.

Micro-hybrids will dominate the market, gaining 42 per cent of the overall light-duty vehicle market. Simultaneously, mild hybrids, which are superior to micro-hybrids but not as efficient as pure hybrids, will rise from near zero to 1.5 million vehicles in 2017, accounting for 1.6 per cent of the auto market.

“Micro-hybrids will take over the automotive market, while mild hybrids will leverage the excessive build-out of (lithium-ion) capacity to grow,” said Kevin See, lead author of the report. “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.”

The report said that Europe will continue its leadership in the micro-hybrid market, growing over threefold to 12.6 million units in the next five years. China will see 81 per cent annual growth to reach 8.9 million units in 2017, and the U.S. will zoom from minuscule levels today to over eight million in 2017.

A low price premium, fuel savings of up to 10 per cent and a relatively easier manufacturing process will propel micro-hybrids to the top of the alternative auto market in the next five years.

Absorbed glass mat (AGM) lead-acid batteries will dominate the market for micro-hybrids, growing at 46 per cent annual to nearly $4 billion in 2017. Lithium-ion will carve out a niche in mild hybrids, growing from near zero to nearly $570 million in 2017 and capturing a 47 per cent share among plug-in vehicles.

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