A hybrid vehicle is a vehicle that uses two or more distinct power sources to move the vehicle. For example, distinct power sources can be a combination of diesel and electricity, fuel cell and diesel, or gasoline and electricity. Due to their ingenious technology, hybrid vehicles provide various advantages to the end user.
Hybrids are not zero emission vehicles. The technology uses less fuel and emits less carbon into the atmosphere than most conventional, non-hybrid vehicles. Hybrid vehicles offer advantages such as reduced emissions, and improved fuel utilisation. The hybrid vehicle technology gives double the fuel efficiency of conventional vehicles, thus reducing dependency on fossils fuels to some extent.
Hybrid vehicles can be categorised based on their types such as series hybrid, parallel hybrid, two-mode or dual-mode hybrid cars, plug-in hybrid cars and series-parallel hybrid. In series hybrid vehicles,the propulsion source is an electric motor. Parallel hybrid vehicles use multiple propulsion energy sources. Series-parallel vehicles can operate either using an electric motor, or using aninternal combustion engine (ICE).
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Hybrid technology is used in passenger cars and commercial cars.According to the onboard energy sources, these vehicles could be segmented as ICE hybrids, diesel hybrids, fuel cell hybrids, solar hybrids (for example, racecars), natural gas hybrids, hybrid locomotive, and heavy hybrids (truck and bus).
The global automotive market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 6.3% from 2014 to 2020, but the global hybrid vehicle market is expected to grow at a much higher rate.Currently, the global hybrid vehicle penetration in the overall automotive productionis 3-5%, which has increased from 1-2% in 2012.
Industry experts believe that one in five vehicles sold around the world are expected to be powered by a hybrid powertrain in 2020. The volume of the global hybrid vehicles market is expected to double from 2014 to 2020. This will be due to research and development efforts by automakers towards efficient utilisation of fuel, and government initiatives to create awareness and acceptance of hybrid cars. However, the high cost of hybrid cars acts as an inhibitor to the market growth.
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Currently, Japan dominates the global hybrid vehicles market, followed by US and Europe. In future, APAC is projected to register the highest growth due to increase in automotive production, growing need for fuel efficient vehicles, and rising fuel costs.Developing markets like Brazil, India and China are expected to be markets with promising growth due to substantial automotive production and rise in per capita income of individuals in these countries.
The major players in thehybrid cars industry are Ford, General Motors, Honda, Lexus, Mercedes, Nissan and Toyota among the others.
Currently, Toyota and Honda are the industry leaders in hybrids, followed by Nissan. By 2015, Toyota plans to introduce 17 new or revised hybrid models. Top performing models of Toyota includes Prius C and Aquain Japan.The growing preference of sporty hybrids, such as the Lexus GS, Infiniti Q50 and Porsche Panamera is also expected to further drive growth in the hybrid passenger car sector.
The global market for hybrid electric vehicles from 2014 to 2020 is expected to grow. This is because consumers across the globe seek to lower their fuel expenditure and manufacturers are compelled by regulations to decrease vehicleCO2emissions. Promotional activities by automakers are likely to raise awareness regarding hybrid vehicles across the globe. The low emission internal combustion engine (ICE) is expected to be the dominant power source for hybrid vehicles.
Future demand for hybrid cars is expected to grow, particularly in the US and Japan, as prices of hybrid and other types of electric vehicles are expected to decline. Asia Pacific is expected to experience the highest growth, as it is still a underpenetrated region when compared to Japan and US.
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