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Demands on Vehicular Electric Systems Drive Move to 42-volt Technology

August 20, 2002

The emerging market for 42-volt automotive electrical systems stands poised for rapid growth, driven by the need for more sophisticated technology than that used in currently prevalent 14-volt systems. A new analysis from Frost & Sullivan (, Impact of 42-Volt Electrical Systems on North American Automobiles, discusses the likely impact of a transition to higher-voltage systems on alternators, starters, batteries, and electronics. Original-equipment demand for batteries, for example, is projected to rise from 15.3 million in 2002 to 18.1 million in 2008, as vehicles start carrying two batteries. Battery revenues should grow even more strongly because most of the extra demand will be for 36-volt batteries, which are more expensive, according to the company. The company says 42-volt electrical systems offer significant benefits such as additional onboard electrical applications, enhanced safety through better vehicle handling, improved fuel economy, reduced emissions, and environmental friendliness. The need to initially retain two electrical systems, 14-volt and 42-volt, will pose a challenge, as this is an expensive proposition. To overcome this and other unresolved technical difficulties, manufacturers must convince automakers of the potential benefits of 42-volt systems and invest substantially in research and development of new technology, which will pave the way for the transition to the 42-volt standard. Frost & Sullivan is involved in strategic market consulting and training. This ongoing research is part of the North American Automotive OEM Market Subscription, which also includes market analyses on the North American Medium and Heavy-Duty Specialty Truck Market and the North American Automotive OE Wire Harness and Connector Market. Frost & Sullivan also offers custom consulting to a variety of national and international companies. Executive summaries and interviews are available to the press.
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