Frost & Sullivan reports use of hybrid powertrains in off-highway market will continue to grow

A new Frost & Sullivan analysis indicates use of hybrid powertrains will continue to grown in the off-highway market over the next several years.

Stricter regulations, the increasing importance of fuel economy, and a greater focus on corporate social responsibility by original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) is lending momentum to the global hybrid powertrain market for off-highway commercial vehicles. In fact, hybridization is emerging as a key optimal-cost solution for emission compliance, as well as noise reduction.

A new analysis from Frost & Sullivan, Strategic Outlook of Global Hybridization Trends in Select Off-highway Commercial Vehicle Market, finds that hybrid powertrains are expected to account for 3% – or 90,258 units – of the total global off-highway powertrain production in 2018. Asia will emerge as the largest regional manufacturer and consumer, accounting for nearly half the total market. The forklift segment will be the primary beneficiary of hybrid powertrains, accounting for 47.7% of the market’s share.

Tighter emission regulations across the globe have created a need to use hybrid powertrains in the off-highway commercial vehicle sector. Advances in complimentary technologies, such as power electronics and insulated gate bipolar transistors (IGBTs), will bring down the cost of hybridization in the long term and boost sale volumes. The emergence of suitable duty cycles – including frequent start/stop and power reversal features – is another key factor supporting the hybridization trend in off-highway vehicles.

“Hybridization in the off-highway segment is at its initial phase, but will strengthen in the long term,” says Frost & Sullivan Automotive and Transportation Off-highway Commercial Vehicle Research Team Leader Ananth Srinivasan. “Stricter legislations expected post 2020 will help present a stronger case for hybridization to achieve fuel efficiency, downsizing and emission reduction goals.”

For now, multiple challenges exist for the market, ranging from high initial acquisition costs; applicability issues with battery technology such as weight and charge rate, and weak customer perception of durability. Nevertheless, manufacturers are making an effort to address each challenge. Apart from advancements in IGBT, developments in regenerative technologies will address concerns regarding weight of the battery system, while educating end users regarding the benefits of hybridization will shift customer perception.

Frost & Sullivan recommends the identification of ideal segments within the off-highway market for hybridization as a key measure towards fueling adoption. Further, it is important to explore new opportunities both in terms of region and application to drive economies of scale and set a growth pattern beneficial to all stakeholders in the industry.

“As the market matures, OEMs will offer more hybrid-compatible products, a trend that will result in greater synergies between OEMs, tier-I, and tier-II suppliers,” observes Srinivasan. “Key OEMs will also look to work with regional governments and lawmakers to broaden market scope.”

Strategic Outlook of Global Hybridization Trends in Select Off-highway Commercial Vehicle Market is part of the Automotive & Transportation Growth Partnership Service program. Frost & Sullivan’s related research services include: Electric Vehicle Market in Turkey - An Update, Global Commercial Vehicle Telematics Market in 2013, and Global Medium-heavy Commercial Truck Market in 2013.