Petrol to remain Number 1 ahead of hybrid, EV and diesel in 2030 | study

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TAGS Green Cars Industry news Petrol to remain Number 1 ahead of hybrid, EV and diesel in 2030 | study

29 June 2016 by Danny Kwan · CarsGuide

A study from Queensland University of Technology predicts that petrol will continue to be the most popular fuel source in 2030.

Despite the growing popularity of diesel-powered passenger vehicles a recent study from Queensland University of Technology (QUT) predicts that petrol-powered vehicles will continue to dominate the Australian car market in the year 2030.

The study predicts that petrol will continue to be the most popular fuel source in 2030 with a market share of 34.9 per cent, while hybrid vehicles expected to surge from 3.8 per cent to 24.2 per cent to become Australia's second choice.

The report goes on to state that battery-powered electric vehicles will also see a significant increase in its market share from 0.3 per cent today to 15.9 per cent by 2030, whereas the market share for diesel-powered vehicles would contract to 15.2 per cent.

The QUT study surveyed academics, industry leaders, and government representatives throughout Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand to predict the future of vehicles and mobility in the Asia-Pacific region in 15 years.

According to the study's lead researcher, associate professor Robert Perrons, from QUT's Institute for Future Environments, the consensus gathered across the four countries was that hybrid vehicles would become more cost-effective, either by seeing a reduction in price or not increasing as much as petrol or diesel-powered vehicles.

"By 2030 Australian experts strongly believe that the purchase price of most vehicles will remain relatively stable to today's prices among petrol, diesel, and LPG vehicle options," said Perrons.

"The exceptions are the battery, hybrid, and biofuel vehicles, which are expected to see a price decrease of between 11 and 25 per cent compared to 2016 prices."

The forecast for diesel vehicles isn't so encouraging as hybrid vehicles are expected to make significant gains into the Asia-Pacific market with diesel vehicles only expected to maintain its dominant place in Thailand, where it is lead by the pick-up truck market.

Despite the advantages of diesel engines, the combustion process of diesel produces a lot of pollutants.

Although in recent times there have been a significant number of car manufacturers adopting diesel powered drivetrains, which boasts better torque delivery and lower fuel consumption figures, car manufacturers are steadily stepping off the diesel bandwagon and onto electrification.

Despite the advantages of diesel engines, the combustion process of diesel produces a lot of pollutants, particularly NOx, which is responsible for smog and acid rain. In order to reduce the level of pollutants to meet emission standards in Europe and the United States, car manufacturers had to employ costly particulate filters and exhaust after-treatment systems just to clean up its emissions.

The recently enforced Euro 6 emissions regulations are particularly tight on the permissible level of CO2 and NOx emissions for diesel engines. Many observers believed that these stringent emission requirements coupled to Volkswagen's push to keep the price point of their models low, was part of the reason their engineers took to resorting to ECU trickery, which became the crux of the Dieselgate scandal.

An engineer who was involved in the development of the third-generation Prius once confided with this writer that Toyota's decision to develop hybrids, instead of pursuing diesel drivetrains as it was the case with European car manufacturers, was rooted in meeting future NOx emission requirements. A statement that rings true today.

Whether Dieselgate had discouraged other car manufacturers from pursuing diesel drivetrains is up for debate, but a moot point. Over the past decade petrol-powered engines were steadily gaining in efficiency, whereas improving battery technologies were making hybrid and battery-powered vehicles more realistically affordable.

The cost-efficiencies of developing petrol engines and hybrid drivetrains with better range, both of which are able to satisfy new and tighter emission regulations without costly exhaust after-treatment systems, makes electrified drivetrains an attractive proposition for manufacturers.

With countries around the world steadily tightening their emission regulations, numerous car manufacturers from Audi to Volvo are quickly pushing for the development of a whole raft of new plug-in hybrid and fully-electric models. Likewise the embattled Volkswagen Group recently announced an ambitious plan to introduce 30 new electric vehicle models in the next decade under their 'Together - Strategy 2025' plan. A pre-emptive step to gain prominence, if not dominance in what might be the next phase of transportation, perhaps.

That being said, much of the focus of hybrid and electric drivertrains are largely driven by European car makers as there has been a growing trend in heavily populated cities in Europe to restrict vehicles with high emissions and, as was the recent case with Norway, to outright ban the sale of combustion-engined vehicles by 2025. While the growing proliferation of models and variants with electrified drivertrains is expected to spur growth and enlarge its market share here in Australia, it won't be able to unseat good old petrol power for the foreseeable future if the predictions of QUT's report is anything to go by.

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