Pressures to cut fuel consumption and emissions are forcing carmakers to accelerate the introduction of 42-volt systems.
'Automakers will adopt 42-volt electrical systems faster than previously thought because the switch will produce major fuel and emissions reductions,' said Standard & Poor's DRI in a new study of 42-volt automotive systems.
Renault SA recently announced it intended to roll out a model with a combination of 14- and 42-volt power in 2004.
But Standard & Poor's DRI sees the introduction of 42-volt systems starting in 2002. The more powerful 42-volt systems will 'pay for themselves by enabling fuel consumption savings of 10 percent or more with no capital investment,' said Tom de Vleesschauwer, senior consultant at Standard & Poor's DRI.
Forty-two volt systems save weight as traditional mechanical systems can be replaced by new technology such as electric braking systems and electric power steering.
The new 42-volt systems will bring about numerous innovations from the supplier industry.
A spokesman at US supplier Delphi said: 'The increase in voltage means rethinking and possibly redesigning everything from light bulbs to major components.'