Assessing the future competitiveness of alternative powertrains
by Max Ahman
International Journal of Vehicle Design (IJVD), Vol. 33, No. 4, 2003

Abstract: Vehicle technology is currently facing a transition period in which vehicles equipped with alternative powertrains, such as battery powered electric vehicles, hybrid vehicles or fuel cell vehicles, are being developed for future markets. An assessment of the competitiveness of vehicles using alternative powertrains has been made here. Previous studies estimating future costs and the technical performance of crucial powertrain components have been analysed regarding both the results and the methods used. Contradictory results concerning future costs and performance in previous studies stem from the fact that they have used different methods and assumptions that answer different questions and reflect different levels of technical optimism. This assessment indicates that it is possible for all alternatives to attain both technical and economic competitiveness. However, the uncertainty and time scale associated with the alternatives differ substantially. Policy makers need not attempt to ''pick winners'' from the alternative powertrains since demand-pull policy can be designed to benefit all alternatives and to be sensitive to the varying development status of key technologies.

Online publication date: Sun, 21-Sep-2003

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