Ultracapacitors’ cost/benefit equation improving for vehicle sector

September 20, 2011 – BUSINESS WIRE — New fuel-efficiency standards in the US will become mandatory in 2016, and consumers seek vehicles that consume less gas and generate lower carbon emissions. Ultracapacitors can reduce fuel use by harvesting energy from the vehicle braking system and releasing it to power the vehicle. Pike Research senior analyst John Gartner forecasts that ultracapacitors will play a bigger role in the stop/start vehicle sector in the future, though battery-heavy vehicles like hybrids will be a tougher sell on the technology.

According Pike Research’s latest report, worldwide sales revenue for ultracapacitors in transportation and grid services will grow more than tenfold, to $284.1 million, between 2011 and 2016.

Also read: 2012 sees automotive sensor market back to healthy growth track

In August, President Obama announced new fuel economy and emissions rules for medium and heavy-duty trucks. Proposed last fall by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the new fuel-efficiency standards are voluntary from 2013 through 2015, mandatory for model year 2016 and beyond. They aim to reduce oil consumption by 530 million barrels and carbon emissions by approximately 270 million metric tons for models produced between 2014 and 2018.

To date, ultracapacitors have been viewed as too expensive for most energy storage applications and the technology insufficiently mature for transportation applications. However, Pike Research’s analysis indicates that they are rapidly gaining acceptance in hybrid trucks and stop/start vehicles, which can temporarily shut off the engine when stopped or idling and then automatically restart it to resume locomotion. In Europe, where emissions standards are more stringent than in the United States, stop/start technology has been incorporated into more than two dozen models. The new fuel efficiency standards could drive similar uptake in the United States, and manufacturers will likely turn to ultracapacitors in growing numbers. Pike Research forecasts that worldwide sales of stop/start vehicles will exceed 14 million by 2015, and ultracapacitor revenues in this segment will reach $356 million worldwide by 2020. Ultracapacitors show particular promise in diesel-powered stop/start vehicles.

"Ultracapacitors" from Pike Research provides a comprehensive assessment of ultracapacitors in key application areas including stop/start vehicles, hybrid and fuel cell vehicles, and utility grid applications including ancillary services for energy storage. The study includes an examination of technology and market issues, profiles of key industry players in the emerging ultracapacitor market, and market forecasts through 2020. For more information, visit www.pikeresearch.com.

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