The automotive ultra-capacitor market is anticipated to register a CAGR of over 5.5%, during the forecast period (2020 - 2025).
The use of ultra-capacitors has expanded the battery load and enabled the vehicle manufacturers, to achieve fuel efficiency, extended battery life, reduced vehicle weight, and reduced CO2 emissions. To meet the growing stringent emission rules across the world, ultra-capacitor is likely to penetrate at a faster rate in all vehicle types, including conventional, hybrid, and electric vehicles.
Ultra-capacitors, typically connected in tandem with vehicle batteries, support peak load demands for short intervals (which is less than 30 seconds), encountered during start/stop and regeneration braking applications. The capacity for quick recharge and discharge of high energy offered by ultra-capacitors have driven vehicle manufacturers, to deploy them in the start/stop systems and regenerative braking systems. Primary energy sources, like internal combustion engines, fuel cells, and batteries in the vehicles, were identified to be inefficient in handling peak power demand or recapturing energy during the aforementioned applications.
Some of the key players of the global automotive ultra-capacitor market are Maxwell Technologies, NEC Tokin, Ioxus, Panasonic, LS Mtron, CAP-XX, Skeleton Technologies, Nesscap, Yunasko, and Nippon Chemi-Conamong, among others.
Key Market Trends
Growing Stringent Emission Regulations
- The use of ultra-capacitor has expanded the battery capacity and enables vehicle manufacturers to achieve fuel efficiency, extended battery life, reduced vehicle weight, and reduced carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. To adhere to the stringent emission regulations across the world, an ultra-capacitor is likely to penetrate at a faster rate in all vehicle types, including conventional, hybrid, and electric vehicles.
- In 2013, in the United States, carbon dioxide emission averaged 369 grams per mile, which were down by 7 grams per mile from the 2012 figure. As per the US EPA, for 2014, 2015, and 2016, adjusted CO2 emission values went down to 369 g/mile, 361 g/mile, and 359 g/mile, respectively. This standard further reduced the emission standard to 352 g/mile (preliminary) for the vehicles for FY 2017.
- The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) are taking initiatives to support the production of eco-friendly vehicles, (both passenger vehicles and commercial vehicles), to ensure improved fuel economy and reduced carbon emission. Through these initiatives, the government is planning to reduce about 3,100 million metric tons of CO2 emission and save about 6 billion barrels of oil, by 2025.
- Additionally, the European Union (EU) has set emission standards to regulate the CO2 emission levels of passenger cars and commercial vehicles. Transport emissions have increased in recent years and now account for a quarter of the EU’s total GHG emission. The average carbon emission, based on laboratory tests of a new car registered in the EU’s in 2016, was about 118.1 grams per kilometer (g/km), well below the 2015 target of 130g.
- As a result, the European Commission, European Parliament, and EU member states are preparing to extend the light-duty vehicles’ CO2 regulation to 2025-2030. Furthermore, to meet the aforementioned standards, the adoption of the ultra-capacitor is increasing and is expected to witness the same trend, during the forecast period.
Asia-Pacific and Europe to Dominate the Automotive Ultra-capacitor Market
The trend of shifting from the battery-based to ultra-capacitor-based start-stop systems originated in Europe in the 2010 PSA Peugeot Citroen model, which successfully resulted in improved vehicle performance and extended battery life expectancy. With the rapidly growing hybrid and electric vehicle sales in the European region, the demand for ultra-capacitor is anticipated to grow, in order to meet the optimal utilization of electric energy in vehicles. Additionally, the ultra-capacitor-based start-stop system comes as a standard feature in most of the European cars, such as Peugeot 3008, and it is expected to continue so in the coming new models in the market.
The Asia-Pacific market is expected to grow at a faster pace during the forecast period, owing to development in infrastructure and increased vehicle sales. Furthermore, China is leading the market, in terms of revenue, due to its massive use of electronic components in the vehicles followed by Japan, Korea, and India.
- China overtook both the European and US markets in the annual sales of electric vehicles, (China has accounted for almost four times the sales of plug-in electric vehicles compared to the United States) .
- China is already using super capacitors in hybrid buses. These buses are equipped with stop-start engines, in which super capacitors reduce the load on the battery, which increases the lifetime of the batteries.
- Due to continuous innovation, the Chinese manufacturers have been able to expand their super capacitor portfolio. The CRRC, the Chinese state-owned rolling stock manufacturer and the world's largest train builder, developed graphene-based super capacitors that may power electric buses with higher efficiency and for a longer period.
- Maxwell Technologies Inc. announced a technology partnership with Zhejiang Geely Holding Group (Geely), the parent company of leading brands, such as Volvo and Geely Auto. This partnership focuses on the integration of ultra-capacitors and advanced power conversion electronics into Geely's global automotive vehicle lineup, in support of its fleet electrification strategy.
Additionally, North America is expected to follow the footprints of European automakers in the future. In 2015, North America debuted continental ultra-capacitor-based voltage stabilization system (VSS) in General Motors vehicle models of 2016 Cadillac ATS, CTS sedans, and ATS coupes. Thereafter, automakers in the region have geared up to add the start/stop technology, using ultra-capacitor in their coming vehicles, to help meet a 54.5 mpg corporate average fuel economy target, by 2025.
The automotive ultra-capacitor market is moderately consolidated. Some of the major players dominating the market are Maxwell Technologies, Skeleton Technologies, Kemet Corporation, and Panasonic Corporation, among others.
In December 2017, Skeleton Technology, a leading ultra-capacitor manufacturer in Europe, signed a distribution agreement with the Sumitomo Corporation Europe, to provide energy storage solutions for the rapidly growing hybrid and electric vehicle industry in the region.
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