Future Potential of Hybrid and Diesel Powertrains in the U.S. Light-Duty Vehicle Market
Diesel and hybrid technologies each have the potential to increase light-duty vehicle fuel economy by a third or more without loss of performance, yet these technologies have typically been excluded from technical assessments of fuel economy potential on the grounds that hybrids are too expensive and diesels cannot meet Tier 2 emissions standards. Recently, hybrid costs have come down and the few hybrid makes available are selling well. Diesels have made great strides in reducing particulate and nitrogen oxide emissions, and are likely though not certain to meet future standards. In light of these developments, this study takes a detailed look at the market potential of these two powertrain technologies and their possible impacts on light-duty vehicle fuel economy. A nested multinomial logit model of vehicle choice was calibrated to 2002 model year sales of 930 makes, models and engine- transmission configurations. Based on an assessment of the status and outlook for the two technologies, market shares were predicted for 2008, 2012 and beyond, assuming no additional increase in fuel economy standards or other new policy initiatives. Current tax incentives for hybrids are assumed to be phased out by 2008. Given announced and likely introductions by 2008, hybrids could capture 4-7% and diesels 2-4% of the light-duty market. Based on our best guesses for further introductions, these shares could increase to 10-15% for hybrids and 4- 7% for diesels by 2012. The resulting impacts on fleet average fuel economy would be about +2% in 2008 and +4% in 2012. If diesels and hybrids were widely available across vehicle classes, makes, and models, they could capture 40% or more of the light-duty vehicle market.
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