Hybrid commercial vehicle take-up to be boosted by incentives, says new report
According to the firm's report on "Strategic Analysis of North American and European Hybrid Truck, Bus and Van Market" the hybrid truck, bus and van market is expected to grow from 4.1 thousand units in 2009 to 222 thousand units by 2016, helped by a number of factors.
'Amongst alternative powertrain technologies and fuels, hybrid commercial vehicles exert the least pressure on the existing energy and transportation infrastructure and require only minimal modification to the current fuelling infrastructure,' said Frost & Sullivan global programme manager, Sandeep Kar. 'This aspect of hybrid commercial vehicles is acting as one of the strongest market drivers in North America and Europe, attracting governments, commercial vehicle manufacturers, and potential consumers alike towards supporting and accepting hybrid commercial vehicles.'
According to the firm, factors in favour of such vehicles include fuel price volatility, government incentives and low lifecycle costs. But on the flipside, technologies such as energy storage systems, control and power electronics and rotating machines are creating onsiderable cost barriers to potential adopters. Furthermore, storage systems such as batteries must be replaced every four to five years based on the vocational application.
'Currently, the high upfront cost associated with hybrids is countered with federal grants, incentives, and tax rebates,' said Mr Kar. 'Although such incentives offer relief in the short term, for hybrids to be commercially viable in the long term, the upfront cost difference should reduce considerably.'
While private fleets in North America and Europe have emerged as early adopters of hybrid commercial vehicles, Frost & Sullivan is also advising manufacturers that robust volume growth can be achieved through the penetration of for-hire fleets.
'Standardisation of key enabling technologies will not only reduce R&D expenses and complexity but also create a foundation for launching aggressive price reduction strategies that are necessary for stoking market growth,' concluded Mr Kar.