Five Million Plug-In Cars Sold By 2017 Pike SaysBy Danny King August 24, 2011
More than 5 million battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) and plug-in hybrid-electric vehicles (PHEVs) will be sold globally during the next six years as a combination of rising fuel prices, more stringent greenhouse-gas standards and government incentives will offset the effect of new alternative-fuel vehicles taking longer to get to the market than previously expected, Pike Research said in a report released this week. The U.S. is expected to surpass Japan as the largest producer of plug-in electric vehicles (BEVs and PHEVs) in 2013, while China is slated to become the largest consumer market of plug-in EVs by 2016.
Cumulative sales of plug-in electrics will reach 5.2 million vehicles in 2017, up from 114,000 vehicles this year, Pike Research said in the report. By 2017, Asia Pacific will account for almost half the consumer purchases of electric-drive vehicles, while North America and Western Europe will each account for about 25 percent, according to Pike Research. Additionally, cumulative sales of hybrid-electric vehicles will total 8.7 million units in 2017. Since 2002, about 2 million hybrids -- most of them Toyota Prius sedans -- have been sold in the U.S., according to Pike Research.
The cumulative sales totals are actually about 6 percent less than Pike Research's forecast last year, which indicated that annual global plug-in electric vehicle sales would surpass the 1 million mark in 2015. Most of that decline is from vehicle delays and cancellations between 2010 and 2013, Pike Research Senior Analyst Dave Hurst told AutoObserver. So far in the U.S., the only full-fledged plug-in electric vehicles mass-produced for the public are General Motors' Chevrolet Volt PHEV and the Nissan Leaf BEV. Ford's Focus Electric BEV and the Mitsubishi i (formerly the i-MiEV) BEV will debut in the U.S. later this year.
Meanwhile, the U.S. will leapfrog Japan as the world's biggest producer of plug-in electric vehicles in 2013, according to Pike Research. In addition to the Focus Electric, Ford will introduce at least four other electrified vehicles in North America and Europe by 2013. Additionally, General Motors said last week that it would bring its Cadillac Converj PHEV luxury coupe to market as the Cadillac ELR, though offered few details. Through the first seven months of the year, Nissan sold about 4,800 Leafs in the U.S. while GM sold about 2,900 Volts.