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Forecast: 3.8 Million EVs Sold by 2020


leaf-chargingPike Research estimates that electric vehicle (EV) sales (both pure electric and hybrids) are to reach 3.8 million by 2020 due to increased affordability and increased number and efficiency of charging points. Thus, it is still early days yet for the electric vehicle.

According to Pike research’s Dave Hurst in the report, electric vehicle sales so far have not met expectations by carmakers and politicians alike in terms of growth, but so long as fuel prices continue to be as high, consumers would increasingly look for alternatives to regular fossil fuel-driven vehicles. He also estimates that EV sales growth will be around 40% for the next ten years in comparison total car market expansion rate of just two percent each year.

While hybrid EVs like the Toyota Prius, which are driven by both traditional internal combustion engines and electric motors, have been around for more than ten years, there has been a steady growth of the markets in Europe, North America and Asia with the introduction of the more affordable and common plug-in EVs like the Nissan Leaf and plug-in hybrids (these use an internal combustion engine to charge the battery) such as the Chevrolet Volt.

Plug-in hybrids, with their higher range are projected to lead the way in the EV markets of North and South America due to greater driving distances which takes advantage of the increased range. Pure electric vehicles, however, are expected to lead the markets in smaller regions like Western Europe where infrastructural developments are also easier to implement.

Ben Lance of nextgreencar.com, the green vehicle website, told The Guardian in an interview that the UK electric vehicle market is expected to achieve double its growth in 2013. He explained that there was less interest in EVs because they still could not fully satisfy the automobile needs of the people due to the fact that “the pricing is not yet quite right and the range is still not long enough”, but with development of the technology together with reduced prices, this trend is likely to change.

The UK government subsidizes the price of EVs with a £5,000 grant for consumers who apply to purchase one. However, 2012 saw just 3,000 applications for the grant, meaning that double the 2012 sales would only result in 6,000 new EVs in 2013. This number can be pictured against a total of 28 million cars throughout the country.

The story is similar in the US as numbers by the Electric Drive Transportation Association (EDTA) last month indicated that sales of hybrids and pure electric vehicles (both individual consumers and business fleets) in 2012 were more than double that of the previous year, with sales of nearly 45,000 as against about 18,000. However, the number only takes up about 0.5% of all vehicle sales in the same period, which as indicated by EDTA totals just over 13 million.

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