The automotive sector strengthens adoption of supercapacitors

Franco Gonzalez
The automotive sector strengthens adoption of supercapacitors
Overall, 2014 is expected to be a great year for the supercapacitor industry. Based on 2013 industry results, IDTechEx confirms its outlook for a 30% CAGR in the next 10 years. The supercapacitor market will reach a value of $6 billion in 2024.
In the larger application segments such as transportation, the supercapacitor market leader Maxwell Technologies increased its supercapacitor sales revenue by 42% in 2013 (vs 2012). The company now has a constant source of revenue in the automotive segment, mostly through the sales of supercapacitors for stop stop-start systems to PSA Peugeot Citroen through the Tier1 supplier Continental, and is aiming to increase its market penetration in the following years. It is worth mentioning that the Peugeot 308 with a supercapacitor based stop-start system was selected as the European Car of the Year 2014.
IDTechEx estimates the value of this market at $2.4 billion in 2024 and Maxwell Technologies is not the only company pursuing this potential. Incumbent players include Cap-XX, Nisshinbo, Hutchinson (Total Group), Ioxus, Yunasko and Armor Group among others. Let's not forget that in 2013 the automotive industry finally recovered from the economic crisis. Many supercapacitor companies have announced the interest of multiple parties from the global automotive industry in their large prismatic supercapacitor.
Standardisation processes are running in parallel, an example of this was the Chrysler/SAE presentation, at IDTechEx's Supercapacitors USA 2013 conference, about their leading work in the standardisation process of supercapacitors for the automotive sector. This was part of IDTechEx's Supercapacitors USA 2013 conference in California in November 2013.
Toyota Motorsport revealed in late January 2014, the details of its participation in the 2014 FIA World Endurance Championship, in which they stated that they will push the limits of hybrid powertrain technology. Back in 2012 the TS030 Hybrid established Toyota Racing as a pioneer in the field of hybrid powertrains for motorsport. The car featured a Kinetic Energy Recovery System to charge a Nisshinbo supercapacitor, the extra power being directed to the rear wheels. Now its successor, the TS040 Hybrid, takes the technology to the next level. Along with its predecessor, the TS040 Hybrid will continue to use a V8 engine and at the core of the system a Nisshinbo supercapacitor mounted on the rear axle, however this year the car will benefit from a four-wheel drive hybrid system using their proven super-capacitor storage solution which will provide a substantial acceleration boost. IDTechEx has heard that this system may include a second supercapacitor, however this is not official news.
Toyota is the global leader in hybrid electric vehicles, making this project quite relevant for the design of hybrid power trains in the future. As Toyota's Yoshiaki Kinoshita stated "We are competing in order to test the latest hybrid technology in the most extreme motorsport environments and this has a direct influence on future road car technology." This four wheel drive hybrid power system was developed by the Motor Sports Unit development division at the Higashifuji technical centre, where the next generation of Toyota road car technology is under development. Such a link between motorsport technology and future road cars is fundamental to Toyota Racing, with the TS040 Hybrid, like its predecessor, acting as a real-life test bench for Toyota's latest hybrid concepts. This has already been reflected in the Toyota Yaris Hybrid-R concept car, a 420 hp four wheel drive that combines a supercapacitor and a motor generator in place of a battery pack. Toyota has sold 6 million hybrid road cars since the launch of the Prius in 1997.
IDTechEx believes that supercapacitors will further penetrate the automotive market in the following years, as in 2014 many automotive companies will be in advanced stages of testing with supercapacitors.
Supercapacitors can extend the lifetime of batteries and fuel cells in cars.
Studies by Imperial College and Maxwell Technologies have revealed that supercapacitors can extend lifetime of both batteries and fuel cells in electric vehicles. These were presented at IDTechEx's supercapacitors conference in 2013 and 2014.
China's impact on the super capacitor industry
China will be a great engine of growth in the hybrid bus sector in the following years. Whilst the Chinese subsidy for new energy buses has reduced, the number of cities in which the subsidy is available has increased, setting the scenario for further growth in plug in hybrid buses in the country. This of course will be in favour of the supercapacitor industry which has already delivered tens of thousands of units in the sector in the last years.
Hybrid supercapacitor devices are finding their way to market in transport applications in Europe, specifically in hybrid buses.
New supercapacitor products launched
New supercapacitor products will be launched this year for the promising energy storage market for electricity grids. Supercapacitors have a great role to play in balancing grid requirements as the content of intermittent renewable energy increases globally. Since supercapacitors can react faster than batteries to supply power for grid balancing they represent a quite interesting value proposition for supporting batteries for grid energy storage.
Finally new supercapacitor products are being launched for the penetration of the consumer electronics market to increase battery lifetime from 15-30%. Some of the players leading this effort are Cap-XX, Murata and Paper Battery Co. IDTechEx's Supercapacitors Europe 2014 event had an update on the progress of Cambridge University in collaboration with the Nokia Research Centre to develop a circuit integrated supercapacitor for smartphones.
Learn more
IDTechEx's Electrochemical Double Layer Capacitors: Supercapacitors 2014-2024 is the only report with the latest updates on the progress of this exciting emerging technology. Also attend IDTechEx's event Supercapacitors USA 2014 in November.
Top image: TOYOTA Racing TS040 HYBRID