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BMW i3 will go on sale in the United States in the Spring of 2014, one of several new electric cars entering the marketplace.

Drivers and Barriers to Electric Vehicle Adoption - Part III

Conclusion of three-part series on the factors driving the adoption of EVs.

By Matthew I. Slavin, PhD

Sales of electric vehicles of all types (hybrids and plug-in battery and extended range) have been increasing annually. EV sales in 2013 should total about 596,000 vehicles if figures for December are extrapolated from 2013 prior month figures, 22 percent higher than annual sales in 2012.

So what will next year’s EV sales look like and future market penetration prospects? Based on a recent survey of EV professionals conducted by my firm Sustainability Group, here’s what EV insiders expect.*

Matt Slavin Graph 5

As the chart shows, 43.7 percent of EV professionals expect sales of EVs to be about 50 percent higher in 2014 than in 2013, equating to total annual 2014 EV sales of 894,000. About 38 percent of EV insiders expect 2014 sales to be between 60 percent and 75 percent higher than in 2013, which would mean sales of between 954,000 and 1.043 million EVs in 2014. Sixteen percent expect sales in 2014 to be double those of 2013, equivalent to 1.192 million vehicles, more than the 1.083 million combined sales total for 2012 and 2013.

Matt Slavin Graph 6

Taking a longer-term view, as depicted in the next chart, EVs of all types should account for close to 4 percent of all motor vehicles sold in the U.S. in 2013, a share that EV insiders expect to grow significantly through 2020. Over half of those surveyed expect EVs to make up between 12 percent and 15 percent of total U.S. vehicle sales in 2020; 16 percent of the insiders expect EVs to account for one in five vehicles sold in 2020 and 15 percent of EV insiders expect EVs to account for more than 20 percent of total vehicle sales six year from now.

Matt Slavin Graph 7

As the last chart shows, 71 percent of those surveyed think that passenger and other light-duty vehicles will see the highest EV sales growth rate through 2020. However, almost one in four think that the sales growth rate will be highest for medium-duty EVs such as local and regional delivery vans and trucks of the sort UPS operates. Keeping in mind that those surveyed were asked about their expectations for all types of EVs including hybrids, which includes, for example, hybrid-electric buses, almost 5 percent of survey respondents think sales growth rates for heavy-duty vehicles will be highest through 2020 (Of note: Navigant Research projects that North American sales of light-duty hybrid and plug-in EVs combined will grow at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.88 percent between 2012 and 2020. Frost & Sullivan projects sales of hybrid and plug-in buses in North America will grow at a 4.2 percent CAGR through 2020).

In installments one (link) and two (link) here at EV World, I’ve reported on what the survey said are the main drivers of consumer purchase of EVs and barriers to EV adoption, and what types of government policies are most effective in accelerating the pace of electric vehicle deployment. In my next installment, I’ll pull discuss what the survey says about the state of the EV market and strategies for expanding the nation’s EV space.

* The survey was conducted in October with results based on 113 responses from professionals verified as working in the EV space in either executive, management, engineering and technical, or marketing or sales capacities.
Matthew Slavin, Ph.D. is president of Washington D.C.-based Sustainability Group, focused on sustainability, clean energy, and alternative fueled vehicle and advanced technology transportation. Contact him at matt@sustaingrup.com.

Times Article Viewed: 4000
Published: 07-Jan-2014

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