“All vehicles in 2020 will have some level of hybridization.” The statement is blunt and to the point. It might be dismissed as idle speculation until you see the source. To come to this conclusion, the IBM Institute for Business Value interviewed 125 executives in 15 countries, from automotive OEMs, suppliers, and other thought leaders. Eight-five percent of the top auto companies worldwide—including all of the top 10—participated in the study, “Automotive 2020: Clarity Beyond the Chaos.”

The statement that all cars will be hybrids in a little more than a decade is no guarantee—but it clearly reflects the priorities of the automotive industry and is therefore a better prediction of what to expect. The report also found that “sustainability” concerns would drive investments, product categories, and performance well into the next decades.

The report characterized the vehicle of 2020 as one moving toward electrification with micro, mild, and full hybrids leading the way. Micro-hybrids with stop-start capability and regenerative breaking hold the potential to make sizable contributions to carbon emission reduction and lower fossil fuel consumption, according to the study. The report estimated that micro-hybrids could reduce carbon emissions by 10 percent, and produce up to 13 percent better fuel economy.

The number of vehicles with mild hybrid systems—designed to assist a vehicle rather than propel it forward by electric power alone—is expected to grow, according to the study’s interview subjects. Full hybrids are also expected to continue to increase in popularity, with alternative financing models leading to more affordability and wider acceptance of the technology.

“Rarely has an industry confronted the multi-dimensional change the auto industry faces today,” said Sanjay Rishi, the primary author of the study. “As it races toward 2020, the industry must learn to effectively manage the global resources it has put in place, respond to increasing demands for environmental accountability and use the technology at its disposal to transform the way it develops products and goes to market.”