At the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show, Volvo’s announcement that it would electrify its entire portfolio by 2019 was followed by similar statements from Jaguar Land Rover, Mercedes-Benz, and some others. They declared that their future cars would come with some form of electrification.
When automakers make these electrified promises, 48-volt hybrids are often at the forefront because they offer a cost-effective manner to boost efficiency by cutting fuel consumption at idle.
Mild-hybrid systems feature a larger starter motor that can recover braking energy to recharge the battery and send some additional power to the driveline.
The approach is implemented without redesigning essential components, since a car’s standard 12-volt system pairs with the larger starter motor to handle the extra power.
Mild hybrids also offer an added bonus: they are USD600 to USD1,000 less expensive to build than an equivalent diesel-powered car. Evercore ISI, a brokerage, believes by 2020 that 48-volt hybrid sales will outpace plug-in hybrids and battery-electric cars as mild-hybrid vehicles officially begin to replace diesel-powered cars as a de facto transportation choice.
Furthermore, by 2025, 55% of all new cars sold will feature a 48-volt mild-hybrid system.
The hybrid systems arrive at an opportune time as well; the European Union will roll out its next round of emission cuts in 2021. The EU will also introduce new “real driving emission” measurements to replace the current New European Driving Cycle tests, which do not reflect real-world driving behaviors accurately.
Next decade, individual countries will begin an aggressive offensive on fossil-fuel powered cars, too; Norway and the Netherlands plan to ban the sale of new cars powered solely by gasoline or diesel in 2025.