BOXBERG, Germany - About 50 hybrid models will be on sale globally by 2010, and supplier Robert Bosch GmbH wants its technology in at least 10 of them, said Bernd Bohr, head of Bosch's automotive operations.
Bosch was not involved in the first wave of hybrid models because its major customers did not believe the technology would be cost-effective, said Manfred Walter, head of the competence center for hybrid systems that Bosch created last year.
But those attitudes are changing.
"We will be making some major announcements in the near future when the customer is ready to go public," Walter said.
Bosch expects the market share of hybrids to grow to 1 percent of global vehicle sales by 2010, possibly rising to 5 percent by 2025.
Worldwide sales of cars and light commercial vehicles will reach
67.8 million by 2010, predicts consulting company CSM Worldwide Inc. in Farmington Hills, Mich. This would mean hybrid sales of almost 700,000 units. Few forecasters are prepared to predict global sales for 2025.
Bosch expects North America to show the biggest hybrid growth.
The United States "is very emotionally inclined toward hybrid vehicles," said Walter, with hybrid SUVs already having a proven appeal and attracting the greatest interest from automakers.
"There and in Asia, the dominating category will be the strong hybrid with a smaller share for mild hybrids," he said.
Strong hybrids, also called full hybrids, have electric motors that do all of the work at low speeds and provide a boost for gasoline engines under acceleration. In mild hybrids, electric motors are not the sole power source. The electric motor mainly sends power to the wheels to take some load off the gasoline engine.
Bosch sees the real benefit of hybrids in stop-and-go traffic.
In Europe, it foresees an equal share of sales being won by mild hybrids and full hybrids.
The first vehicle with Bosch's stop-start system is due to enter production next year.
Tony Lewin contributed to this report