2017 saw the first notable adoption of 48 V electrical systems in Europe. To a significant degree, this was driven by the backlash against diesel as a means of achieving reduced greenhouse gas emissions and fuel consumption. In the US, fuel remains relatively inexpensive, and the prevailing political climate at a federal level has shifted away from endorsing efficiency.
As a result, in 2017, it looked as though several more years would pass before the technology was adopted by Detroit-based automotive brands. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) had been expected to be the first adopter of the technology—but not until 2019 or 2020 and not at high volume. However, at the Los Angeles Auto Show and the North American International Auto Show in December 2017 and January 2018, the company surprised the industry with major new product announcements incorporating 48 V systems in some of its highest volume vehicles. This marks a major shift in the near-term outlook for 48 V system adoption in North America.
This Navigant Research report examines the shift in the adoption of 48 V mild-hybrid technology. It discusses the role FCA is playing in this shift, as well as the impact on the global market for electrified vehicles. The study also examines the requirements for 48 V systems and how the industry is promoting performance and efficiency over green credentials. Recommendations are provided to OEMs and suppliers on what issues they should be monitoring, including consumer acceptance and component costs.