EYE on the MARKET
EYE on the MARKET
Next-generation vehicles have attracted attention as a way to save energy and reduce the global environmental load. According to the Next-Generation Vehicle Guidebook 2016-2017 (published jointly by the Japanese Ministries of Environment, Economy, Trade and Industry, Land, Infrastructure and Transport), next-generation vehicles are defined as environmentally-friendly vehicles with high fuel performance and low or no emissions of air pollutants, including nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particulate matter (PM). The four major categories of next-generation vehicles are (1) electric, (2) hybrid, (3) plug-in hybrid and (4) fuel cell.
While next-generation vehicles are thought of as the wave of the future, they first appeared back in 1873, way before gasoline-powered vehicles. Automobile production in the United States around 1900 was approximately 4,000 units, 40% of which was EVs. The rapid improvement of gasoline vehicle performance and their lower prices, meant that EVs disappeared from the market around 1920. It wasn’t until the 1970s that interest in EVs reemerged against the background of increasingly serious air pollution and concerns about dwindling oil resources. Japan took the initiative in the research and development of EVs; however, poor battery performance and improved exhaust purification technology for gasoline vehicles dampened enthusiasm.
This started to change in the 1990s when the State of California enacted its Zero-Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Programme. This prompted major automobile manufacturers around the world to initiate full-scale development of EVs. In 1997, Toyota was the first automobile manufacturer in the world to announce production of a hybrid vehicle and other manufacturers are now accelerating the development and spread of EVs, HVs, PHVs/PHEVs, and FCVs.
According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), sales of gasoline and diesel-powered vehicles will peak in 2020, after which HVs and PHVs/PHEVs are expected to take the lead in the automobile market. After 2040, it is predicted that the number of vehicles with internal combustion engines will steadily decrease as the number of EVs and FCVs grows.