The reign of the traditional, internal combustion engine might be rapidly ending, depending on your definition. In its report Automotive Fuel Efficiency Technologies, Navigant Research predicts that by 2017 "conventional gasoline-powered vehicles" are going to be less than half of the market for new autos worldwide. However, this bold statement does not suggest that hybrids, hydrogen fuel cells and electric cars will dominate the globe's road in just two years. Instead, Navigant considers practically any technology beyond old-school, naturally aspirated power to be outside its narrowly defined traditional category.

"There is no single technology that will dominate fuel efficiency improvements over the forecast period through 2025," said David Alexander, senior research analyst with Navigant Research, in the release. Alternatively, a more holistic approach is on the way with efficiency improvements to engines and transmissions, plus lower vehicle weights. Earlier this year, the company also predicted that gasoline consumption would fall globally after 2021.

The biggest fuel economy game-changer in the coming decade is stop/start technology, according to the report. Navigant estimates that 58 percent of all vehicles sold by 2025 could make use of it. The company further predicts stop/start to slowly morph into mild hybrid setups that use regenerative braking to provide a little boost in power, as well. The systems can reportedly save drivers about $180 a year, and Ford plans to offer the tech on 70 percent of its models by 2017.

All of this work to make vehicles cleaner comes because of increasingly strict laws governing automotive emissions around the world. The study predicts global auto sales to grow from around 84 million in 2014 to 109 million in 2025. Over that time, alternative fuels and electric vehicles are expected to gain market share but gasoline to remain the king of fuels. Read below for Navigant's announcement of the study below or read an abstract about it, here.
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Conventional Gasoline Models are Expected to Represent Less Than Half of Vehicles Sold Worldwide by 2017

December 23, 2014

Stop-start capability anticipated to be the most important innovation in improving fuel efficiency, report concludes

A new report from Navigant Research analyzes the emerging global market for technologies that improve fuel economy, including global market forecasts for light-duty vehicle sales, segmented by powertrain, region, and number of cylinders, through 2025.

Multiple factors, including increasingly strict global standards to limit carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases, are driving manufacturers to produce more efficient vehicles. Although the use of alternative fuels and electric power is expected to continue growing, gasoline is anticipated to remain the leading fuel in the coming years, albeit in unconventional vehicles that employ a range of fuel-efficiency technologies, such as smaller engines and turbocharging. Click to tweet: According to a new report from Navigant Research, conventional gasoline-powered vehicles are expected to make up less than half of new vehicles sold worldwide by 2017.

"There is no single technology that will dominate fuel efficiency improvements over the forecast period through 2025," says David Alexander, senior research analyst with Navigant Research. "The focus, instead, will be on incremental improvements in engines and transmissions, along with weight reduction in as many places as possible."

Perhaps the most important innovation, according to the report, is the wide adoption of stop-start vehicles (SSVs), which eliminate idling when the vehicle is stopped and restart the engine when the driver moves from brake to accelerator. Over time, the SSV is likely to add functionality to become more of a mild hybrid, with the ability to capture and reuse kinetic energy without the expense of a large battery. Navigant Research expects sales of gasoline and diesel SSVs to reach 63 million annually by 2025, representing 58 percent of all vehicles sold in that year.

The report, "Automotive Fuel Efficiency Technologies," analyzes the emerging global market for technologies that improve fuel economy. It examines the consumer demand and regulatory background related to engine technology and lightweight materials for increasing fuel efficiency in vehicles. Global market forecasts for LDV sales, segmented by powertrain, region, and number of cylinders, extend through 2025. Additional forecasts by region are provided for the volumes and associated revenue of key fuel efficiency systems and materials. The report also examines the approach of the leading vehicle manufacturers, suppliers, and industry players and evaluates how the market for lighter and more efficient vehicle technologies will evolve. An Executive Summary of the report is available for free download on the Navigant Research website.

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