Global Automotive Motor Market: Key Research Findings 2020
Yano Research Institute (the President, Takashi Mizukoshi) carried out a survey on the global automotive motor market, and found out the trends by motor system, trends of market players, and future outlook.
While development of environmentally-friendly vehicles called next-generation vehicles (i.e. xEVs including HEVs (hybrid EVs), PHEVs (plug-in hybrid EVs), EVs, and FCVs (Fuel Cell EVs)) is in progress, electrification of power trains, chassis, and bodies for ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) vehicles has also been underway to achieve comfortability, usability, safety and security. In association with progressive electrification of auto parts, those that rapidly increased in numbers embedded in vehicles are motors. The global automotive motor market is estimated to have risen in 2018 by 2.7% from the preceding year to have reached 3,237 million units, based on the number of new car sold. The volume of motors in demand has been increasing steadily from 3,153 million units in 2017, indicating how significant the influence of globally stricter environmental restrictions is.
On the other hand, negative growth was seen for global number of automobiles sold* both in 2018 and 2019, because of deterioration in trading environment such as China–United States trade war and Brexit, depressing the consumer sentiment. Further decline in the automobile sales is anticipated in 2020 due to global pandemic of new coronavirus which can seriously damage the sales of automotive motors. With electrification of vehicles has been the global trend, the number of motors used in a single vehicle is sure to increase, but the growth is expected to be slower in the post-corona world.
* The number is the estimate calculated by Yano Research Institute, based on the data at each of manufacturer associations.
Trend of “E-Axle”
E-axle is an integrated system that combines main motor, inverter, and gears, substituting a conventional engine. By integrating such functions, the size as well as the assembly processes is reduced, which is likely to curtail the cost and improve efficiency.
E-axles are categorized into two types; one is those with parallel arrangement of a motor and an inverter (meaning that a motor and an inverter are placed side by side) and those with coaxial arrangement. The former is lower in cost and more compact. The latter has successfully secured space for double shaft and has a little more complicated structure, making it higher cost, but can make the unit width shorter and the height lower, available to be accommodated even in a FR layout (front-engine, rear-wheel-drive layout). The majority of e-axles currently adopted are those with parallel arrangement, probably because of the cost, as being the dawning era e-axles are currently expected to have price competitiveness before anything else, and also because most of OEMs assemble EVs with FF-layout (front-engine, front-wheel-drive layout) which seem to have little problem with parallel arrangement. On the other hand, there also is increasing number of requests by OEMs for e-axles with shorter in unit width, which makes it possible for e-axles with coaxial arrangement to increase in the market.
Another trend is that there are popular power output ranges: Many of the current, first-generation products have the power output of about 150kW, highly demanded by OEMs, with about the same as 200 horse powers or 3.0- or 2.0-liter turbo in gasoline engines available for C- or D-segment vehicles, the best-selling vehicles in advanced countries. Other than 150kW power output, demand for e-axles is said to concentrate in 50kW for light- or for A-segment vehicles as well as in 200kW for luxury E-segment vehicles, hereafter.
In 2018, 95% of global number of automobiles sold was occupied by ICE vehicles which are expected to gradually scale down the market share as the sales of xEVs increase in time. On the other hand, the actual expansion of the xEVs market is said to only be attained after 2025. It is because OEMs are facing various difficulties in xEVs, in terms of securing profits, procuring batteries and other parts, enhancing power-charging infrastructure, and acquiring manpower for EV development and production, though they have worked on their EV strategies by climbing a bandwagon of CASE (Connected, Autonomous, Shared & Service, and Electric) that overwhelmed the market since around 2016. Another reason for the EVs market to expand after 2025 is because of full appearance of mass-manufactured EVs can be expected within the first half of 2020s at major OEMs.
Meanwhile, ICE vehicles are still in demand as low-price conventional automobiles in India, African countries, etc. where demand for automobiles is anticipated to expand through their remarkable economic development. In addition, there is room for combustion engines to improve in the technologies like lean combustion and deactivating cylinders, which also is the reason for ICE demand not to vanish immediately.
Furthermore, the influence of new coronavirus has depressed the consumer sentiment, which is likely to globally reduce automobile sales for 2020. This makes the forecast of the period for automobile sales to recover, ICE vehicles to peak out, and xEVs to be fully accepted are projected to be around 2025 to 2030. Supposing that the number of automotive motors used per vehicle to increase, if the global number of xEVs sold attains 17,870 thousand by 2030, the global number of automotive motors sold for 2030 can reach 56,000 million units (based on the new car sales).
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