Global H/EV sales to reach 25 million units in 2018
Hybrid and electric vehicle (H/EV) sales will more than double to 25 million units in 2018. Market advances will be led by micro and mild hybrids. Micro hybrids are conventional vehicles equipped with start-stop systems. Mild hybrids also have regenerative braking, and some of these come equipped with a small electric motor that helps start the vehicle but can not propel it without the aid of an internal combustion engine. These systems offer significant fuel savings considering their relatively low cost, and can lower overall vehicle emissions. In 2018, micro and mild hybrids will account for 80 percent of all H/EV demand, followed by full and plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles.
Western Europe to remain largest regional market
Western Europe was the first region to adopt micro/mild hybrid vehicles on a mass scale. As a result, it will remain the largest regional market for micro and mild hybrids and for H/EVs overall, representing 44 percent of total demand in 2018. However, micro/mild hybrid sales are projected to grow faster in other parts of the world, particularly in North America and the Asia/Pacific region. Electric vehicle demand in these regions will exhibit the fastest gains of any type through 2018, albeit from a very small current market base.
Expansion in China, Japan to spur Asia/Pacific growth
The Asia/Pacific region, led by China, will represent the fastest growing market for H/EVs through 2018. Sales gains will be fueled by an increasing number of micro/mild hybrids offered for sale in the country and further narrowing of the price premium over conventional vehicles. In addition, European, Japanese, and US automakers will continue to open and expand existing plants in China and partner with domestic firms to take advantage of government subsidies for vehicles purchased from locally based suppliers. The Asia/Pacific region is also home to Japan, which will remain the world’s largest market for full and plug-in hybrids, representing two-fifths of all demand for those vehicle types in 2018. The US will continue to have the world’s highest electric vehicle sales, accounting for over one-fifth of the global total.
Higher fuel prices, lower cost parts key to H/EV affordability
Increases in overall H/EV demand will be stimulated by high global fuel prices and supported by reductions in component (especially battery) prices as output levels climb and greater economies of scale are achieved. This will help make H/EVs more affordable to the average vehicle purchaser, a particularly major factor in industrializing countries where privately owned vehicles remain a relative luxury. Heightened concerns about air pollution worldwide will also lead to the enactment of additional regulations and subsidy programs supporting sales and use of H/EVs, as these vehicles have the potential to significantly reduce tailpipe emissions.Light vehicles will account for over 99 percent of all H/EV sales in 2018. Nevertheless, demand for fuel-efficient H/EV medium and heavy duty trucks will more than triple as their price premium over conventional models shrinks.
The technology required to manufacture H/EVs is more sophisticated than that for conventional motor vehicles. As a result, H/EV production is concentrated among a relatively few large automakers with considerable research and development resources. However, a number of smaller startup companies have entered the electric vehicle industry, with Tesla Motors being the most successful to date. While merger and acquisition activity among vehicle producers is rare, most OEMs have at least one H/EV-related cooperative agreement with another automaker.