German car makers see inputs into existing engines as still offering much bigger payback in CO2 reduction than full hybrids, was the conclusion of four German car makers and leading suppliers speaking at the VDAs 10th annual technology conference in Ludwigsburg on 2nd April, reports SupplierBusiness.
Hybrid technology represents a really expensive possibility to reduce consumption said Dr Jens Hadler, Executive Director of Powertrain Development at Volkswagen. Hadler said that stop-start devices and regenerative brake systems can give clear savings potential compared with current  gasoline and diesel powertrains, but mild and full hybrid concepts carry heavy cost penalties he says.
He estimated that while stop-start systems can save 3-5% of CO2 emissions, a full hybrid can offer a five times higher reduction in fuel consumption, but at at 18 times the cost. Even though this cost disadvantage will be smaller with the transition to the next generation of hybrid drives, hybrids will still be burdened with clearly greater costs in future he said.
Franz Fehrenbach, CEO of Bosch, said that a gasoline strong hybrid typically adds 2,000 [euros] to the cost of a car, but delivers only 1,500 in fuel savings over the first three years of the life of a vehicle, while a diesel strong hybrid adds 3,500 and delivers only 2,500 in savings.
Peter Langen, Senior Vice President Powertrain Development at BMW agrees and says that the hybrid will remain an add-on technology its not the cure-all for more fuel efficiency he said. Technical and economic factors mean that it is suitable only for particular vehicle concept. But the route march for drivetrains is unclear. If hybridisation is only a side-bet for the German industry, it is nevertheless an important one.
The planning for the roadmap of Mercedes-Benz includes only cars and engines that offer hybridisation says Dr Leopold Mikulic, Vice President Program Management and Development for Car Engines and Powertrain, Mercedes-Benz Cars. A modular design of the drivetrain systems allows appropriately cost effective solutions to be offered, said Mikulic. It also allows the company to hedge its bets on market place trends. It allows the customer to decide for a further drive concept beyond fuel-efficient diesel and gasoline engines, according to vehicle concept, application and personal preferences says Mikulic.
Even Porsche is taking hybrids seriously. The company believes that it can retain typical Porsche driving characteristics with a  hybrid, according to Dr Heinz-Jacob Neusser, Director of Powertrain Development at Porsche in the new Porsche Cayenne and Panamera hybrids. However he says that If you are starting with hybrid technology you are starting with a subsidy  for the vehicles put into the market.
Porsche has opted for the demanding and so far not yet in production parallel full hybrid, said Nuesser. He also commented that this concept allows fuel savings of around 30% in NEFZ (new European operating cycle).