Emissions Laws May Push Electric Car Adoption

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Though electric vehicles are slowly becoming more popular in western markets, car manufacturers are still being conservative with the technology. This may change rapidly in the coming years, however, as emissions mandates begin to put pressure on manufacturers.

Market research firm Strategy Analytics this week predicted that emissions and fuel economy laws will force car manufacturers to move more of their efforts towards their electric vehicles. Such laws, said the firm, will soon outpace the efficiency that auto manufacturers are able to squeeze out of traditional combustion engines. The firm also sees laws in individual cities limiting emissions as a factor that could quickly help shift the distribution industry away from diesel engines.

“The problem for electrification strategies is to develop powertrains that remain affordable to consumers - while gasoline prices stabilize and even fall,” said Kevin Mak, senior analyst for Automotive Electronics Service at Strategy Analytics. “Without the battery chemistry breakthrough, we believe that a standard 48 volt mild hybrid system fitted across a model range can bring about the increased electrification necessary for auto makers to meet future mandates, but without the high cost associated in deploying large battery packs as on a niche selection of full hybrid and plug-in vehicles. Meanwhile, developments in dynamic wireless charging may also provide an alternative to large battery packs in the long-term.”

Strategy Analytics points to a variety of fuel-saving technologies that will need to be implemented in the short-term to meet emissions requirements, such as full hybridization of vehicles to improved engine-off systems. Alternative fuels such as hydrogen also get a mention from the firm.

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