Market for Plug-In Electric Vehicles Will Steadily Build

According to a new study from Navigant Research, worldwide sales of light-duty plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) – including plug-in hybrid EVs (PHEVs) and battery EVs (BEVs) – will hit 3 million units annually in 2020.

The report, ‘Electric Vehicle Market Forecasts,’ says this volume will represent approximately 3% of the overall light-duty market.

‘The PEV market continues to grow rapidly – about 150 percent between 2011 and 2012 – but remains a very small part of the overall global automotive market, with 0.2 percent market share in 2012,’ says Dave Hurst, principal research analyst with Navigant Research.

In updating its forecasts for EVs, Navigant Research included a number of key assumptions for the forecast period of 2013 to 2020. Among the most important is an increasing availability of PEVs in coming years. PHEV and BEV models will be ‘less limited’ by the end of next year or mid-2015, in most regions. Moreover, these new models will be available from almost every major OEM.

Governments play a key role in the PHEV/BEV markets by both offering purchase incentives and regulating the fuel economy and emissions of vehicles that use internal combustion engines. Navigant Research anticipates that current incentives offered worldwide will remain in place throughout the forecast period, but are unlikely to be increased. Meanwhile, stronger regulations on fuel economy and emissions will encourage manufacturers to continue to further develop PHEV and BEV products.

Perhaps the most important factor that will influence market growth is the decreasing prices of PEVs. Battery packs, which can account for as much as half of PEV costs, are expected to decrease during the forecast period. HEVs and PHEVs are anticipated to see a 10% and 26% decline in pack costs by 2020, respectively, while BEVs will likely remain flat, but see improvements in vehicle range and performance during that period, the company says.

In terms of the specific PEV sub-markets, Navigant Research forecasts global CAGRs of 11.5% for HEVs, 31.9% for PHEVs and 31.5% for BEVs. Asia Pacific and North America are expected to be the largest markets for HEVs, with Japan and the U.S. being the largest singular markets (1.1 million and 1 million HEV sales in 2020, respectively).

North America is the only market anticipated to have significantly higher sales of PHEVs than BEVs (a 1.5:1 sales ratio); Western Europe, Asia Pacific, and Latin America will be almost evenly split between the drivetrains. Asia Pacific is projected to be the largest market for plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs), with 1.6 million PHEV and BEV sales combined in 2020.

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