The Research Capsule report looks at the market for plug-in electric vehicles (both PEVs and PHEVs) in key markets. The report provides forecasts to the year 2017 based on the latest information about government incentives (the most important variable), infrastructure readiness, economic development, and oil costs and PEV product pricing.
We find that the market for plug-in vehicles is fantastically geographically inconsistent. For example, Norway is the world adoption leader; its neighboring country Sweden is one of Europe’s laggards. PEV sales have seen a boom in the Netherlands while much larger Germany buys a fraction of Dutch volumes. In England, charging stations sit idle. The French buy about three times the number of electrics as the Spaniards on a per capita basis. In the U.S., Californians buy nearly 50% of the country’s total volume of PEVs.
Though there’s a certain inevitability about the long-term success of the market for PEVs, reaching a global mainstream appears to be a decade off in most developed markets and the current bar for success is set extremely low. A PEV fleet of 1% of a country’s total is considered a runaway triumph. Only five nations will have sales above 10,000 units in 2014. Only one will break 10% of all vehicle sales during the coming five years.
Research Capsule studied the global market for plug-in electric vehicles and found that sales are promising, and the market is interesting, yet sketchy. Research Capsule spoke with a number of executives with major automobile manufacturers who said that they take the potential disruption of the PEV market very seriously but see mass volumes years off. Our research and forecasts would agree with that assessment. In this report, Research Capsule forecasts the market for the U.S., China, Japan, the Netherlands, Germany, France, the U.K., Norway, and Sweden. While there are exceptions, financial incentives are the strongest enabler of sales, thus countries with very high punitive disincentives to purchase and drive heavier internal combustion cars have the greatest leeway in offering financial incentives to offset the higher prices of PEVs. Yet only several countries have a strategy in place to make electric cars truly price competitive to their petrol-based counterparts.