At present, the developed countries are keen on promoting HEVs, while the developing countries are unable to enforce the usage of them. Increasing demand of gas, price rise and environmental concerns are driving a market that is in need of alternative solutions.
According to new analysis from Frost & Sullivan World Hybrid and Electric Vehicle Battery Market, the growth in the hybrid market significantly exceeded all the hybrid sales forecasts. This market has been witnessing a steady growth pattern from 2000, without even a slight decrease in growth rate. In 2006 HEV sales grew approximately 23 percent in developed countries such as U.S, U.K and Japan.
HEVs combine the benefits of gasoline engines and electric motors and can be configured to achieve improved fuel economy, increased power, and above all better performance as a result of very low green house gas emissions. The concept of hybrids is used in a wide range of vehicles ranging from bicycles, passenger cars to heavy vehicles such as railway locomotives, buses, heavy good vehicles, and others. Among this wide range of vehicles, passenger cars, that are segmented as light weight HEVs, are more popular in this market.
“The advantage that a HEV offers with regard to construction and design aspects is that the engine designed in a HEV is small, which makes these vehicles more efficient,” says Suba Swaminathan, Frost & Sullivan’s Team Leader Power Systems Group.
The advantages of small engines in HEVs are:
• Smaller the engine, lesser the weight. This makes HEVs lightweight compared with conventional vehicles, which makes the former consume less energy than the latter during uphill drives.
• The internal components and pistons are small for a small engine, and therefore, less energy is consumed for its operation.
• The displacement of engine cylinders are small for a small engine, and hence fuel usage is reduced.
• HEVs use regenerative braking mechanism by means of which energy is stored in the battery when the brake pedal is applied. This stored energy is utilized for the vehicle’s operation, thereby minimizing the strain on engines.
• When a HEV is stopped at red lights, the engine can be turned off and operated on electric motor and battery, thereby minimizing the fuel usage to a significant extent.
Electric cars such as G-Wiz, Sakura and NICE Mega City along with hybrid cars including Toyota Prius, Honda Civic, Lexus RX, and GS Hybrids are exempted from the London Congestion Charges. This exemption would enable London commuters to potentially save over £1600 when they drive in and out of the city center. Such promotional features are likely to boost EVs and HEVs market in the UK.
“Although hybrids are available in the automobile market for the past 10 years and are not as popular as conventional vehicles, the advantages of using hybrids are more with regard to economical and environmental aspects,” explains Frost & Sullivan analyst Suba Swaminathan. “One of the advantages of using HEVs is: improved fuel economy. Hybrids require much lesser fuel than conventional vehicles, offering greater savings on fuel costs. Another advantage is improved efficiency. In fact, they offer more mileage compared with conventional vehicles, which makes HEVs require minimal gas. They are environment friendly; hybrids have much lesser greenhouse gas emissions, and are therefore capable of reducing the smog-forming pollutants in the atmosphere; tax credits and incentives. Finally, many governments across different countries promote HEVs by offering tax credits and incentives that make HEVs affordable.”
These advantages and technical aspects ensure that HEVs are the most compatible next-gen vehicles, which are user-friendly as well as environment friendly. With the Asia Pacific countries joining the race, the growth of HEVs is expected to accelerate to a significant extent in the next five years.
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