Published November 1, 2012
By Philippe Crowe
Assembly lines in Japan and the United States produced during 2011 more than 20,000 plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) – which include battery-electric vehicles (BEV) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) – an all-time record these modes of transportation.
But optimism about the electrified market has gradually been replaced with a better understanding of, shall we say, the practical challenges of launching new models and expanding PEV sales to mainstream consumers unfamiliar with the technology.
Nonetheless, according to a recent report from Pike Research, a part of Navigant’s Energy Practice, sales of PEVs in the United States will – as others have also said – climb steadily over the remainder of this decade.
The 80-page study predicts Ford and Toyota will lead the PEV market in terms of total vehicles sold in the U.S. from 2012 to 2020.
“Despite the early introduction of the Leaf, from Nissan, and the significant marketing push behind it, we expect Nissan to trail Toyota, Ford, and General Motors by a significant margin through the end of the decade,” says research director John Gartner. “Although Ford has been relatively slower than some competitors to enter the passenger PEV market, its future plans are ambitious, and it will be the only automaker to surpass 400,000 PEVs sold in the United States through 2020.”
As per the report, PEV sales in the United States should reach nearly 48,000 units in 2012, making the United States the country with the highest number of PEV sales.
The report expects the U.S. will maintain this leading position at least through 2020 – and beyond. Worldwide sales of PEVs are expected to surpass 1 million units in 2017, after 7 years in the market – about half the time it took hybrid electric vehicles to reach that level.
As battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) are purchased in greater numbers over the next few years, Pike Research’s analysis indicates that significant regional differences in adoption patterns will emerge. For example, while PHEVs will outsell BEVs in North America, the converse is true in Europe and Asia.
Meanwhile, auto manufacturer strategies continue to evolve. The lion’s share of OEMs making PEVs are doing so at a very measured pace, carefully vetting new technologies and consumer preferences with a sharp focus on regional differences in demand. All are optimistic about the long-term prospects for the PEV sector, but the industry remains cautiously focused on growing at the pace of market demand.
The report, “ Plug-in Electric Vehicles”, examines the global market landscape for PHEVs and BEVs, including a detailed analysis of market drivers and barriers, technology issues, policy and regulatory factors, and the competitive landscape of original equipment manufacturers and key suppliers. Detailed market forecasts are provided through 2020, segmented by world region and vehicle category.