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PwC industry survey provides “check-up” on determining factors for EV success

Global hybrid + EV assembly forecast. Source: PwC. Click to enlarge.

PwC has released the first edition of the “Charging Forward: Electric Vehicle Survey”, which it developed to provide a check-up on some of the major determining factors for the success of EVs in the near-, mid- and long-term. More than 200 participants from the automotive, utilities, energy, technology, government, finance, education and other sectors provided their feedback for the effort.

The survey addresses a range of topics relevant to the success of plug-in electric drive vehicles, including product design (i.e., hybrids and plug-in hybrids vs. battery EVs); pricing; power generation investment and capacity; funding and developing an infrastructure; and energy sources for electricity.

As new opportunities and challenges continue to emerge, it remains important to continue to closely monitor the progress being made in each of the key areas discussed in the survey. Collaboration remains a key element of addressing those challenges, as multiple sectors (automotive, energy, utilities and cleantech) unite to forge a new and exciting path with the opportunity to fundamentally change the world in which we live.

—Charging Forward

Among the findings of the survey:

  • Approximately one-third (33.8%) of respondents felt the lack of investment to modernize the grid is a primary roadblock preventing the widespread support of EVs. In addition, the lack of capacity during peak energy consumption hours also is a concern, as indicated by 31.1% of those surveyed.

  • While there is little doubt that collaboration between relevant parties such as the government, utilities, local municipalities, and private interests is needed to develop a sustainable EV infrastructure (35.3% of respondents felt each should share the financial burden), government agencies in particular will be creating ample financial incentive to other participants. This is already a reality as governments around the world have offered billions of dollars in the form of loans, grants, and rebates through various stimulus programs.

    19% of those surveyed indicated the government should bear the primary burden of developing and funding an EV infrastructure or smart grid.

  • Companies continue to work on achieving a balance between investing in development of new technologies and passing the costs on to the consumer. In addition, bringing the cost of EVs in line with internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles remains a key challenge to achieve widespread adoption. Almost half of the respondents (41.6%) indicated that long-term cost savings is the primary reason consumers would be willing to pay a premium for an EV.

  • Nearly 68.8% of respondents believe hybrids and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) are the most appealing to consumers overall.

  • Respondents predict that coal will remain the primary energy source for EVs in 2020 (28.9%), followed by Fossil fuel/oil (21.4%). Solar comes in third at 19.4%, followed by Other (18.9%) and nuclear (11.4%).

As automakers continually improve the fuel efficiency of traditional ICE vehicles to meet emissions standards in the coming years, consumers are rethinking the additional premium required for an EV. However, as fuel prices escalate, the demand for an EV or hybrid vehicle will likely increase in the near-term.

—Brandon Mason, Autofacts senior analyst

In terms of the assembly outlook for hybrids and EVs, Autofacts (PwC’s automotive forecasting service) projects that annual production will reach approximately nine million units by 2020, representing roughly 9% of global market share. Of that, nearly one third, or three million units, will be plug-in and pure electric vehicles. Significant volume increases are expected in the 2017-2020 timeframe as second and third generation EV systems and supporting technologies are rolled out.




With gas approaching $5/gal in USA and $6/gal in Canada, renting batteries could be the faster way to reduce electrified vehicles selling price much closer to ICE units. An e-car without batteries could soon cost less than equivalent ICE unit. No subsidies would be required.

Paying $60/week to rent batteries or the same amount for fuel doesn't make much difference for most owners.


I think once people get over the range issue, the sales of EVs will increase. It is a kind of "you first" effect. Once the neighbor buys an EV and cuts their transportation energy bill, then others may consider it at an increasing rate.


Yes SJC...this will eventually become a reality, specially after 2015/2017 when batteries' performance have increased (2x ?) and their price per Kwh has come down by (50+%). Not too many can afford $60+K for a family size BEV. It is a question of time an battery evolution.


We could see an increase when Focus EV and Cruze EV come out, but the schedules for those is one and two years away. By that time Leaf sales will be an indication, then Ford and GM can plan accordingly. Sometimes it pays to be first to be second.

I would like to see all three sell well soon, that way chargers at employers can go in, commuters can stop using so much imported oil and the air will be cleaner. Couple that with induction charging at home and no filling stations and it could take right off.

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