Updated IEA EV/PHEV roadmap finds announced production plans for electric vehicles far below sales targets set by countries
Announcements from major manufacturers in terms of future production plans for electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (EVs and PHEVs) are far below sales targets set by countries, according to a newly updated Electric Vehicle Roadmap report from the International Energy Agency.
Announced EV and/or PHEV production plans from the majors add up to 0.9 million units by 2015 and about 1.4 million units per year by 2020, according to the report. However, that figure is well below the existing national sales goals of about 1.5 million in 2015 and 7 million in 2020.
This is not necessarily a problem yet, said Lew Fulton, Senior Transport Analyst at the IEA, but the situation requires close tracking over the next one to two years. The situation could change for the better over the next few years if manufacturers make further announcements, the IEA noted. One such way this could be encouraged is through the introduction of incentive schemes by governments.
The IEA’s June 2011 Technology Roadmap – Electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles is an update of the original report from 2009. The vision of the EV/PHEV roadmap is to achieve by 2050 the widespread adoption and use of EVs and PHEVs, which together represent more than 50% of annual LDV (light duty vehicle) sales worldwide. In addition to establishing a vision, this roadmap sets strategic goals to achieve it, and identifies the steps that need to be taken to accomplish these goals.
One of those goals is the setting of targets for electric-drive vehicle sales. To achieve the roadmap’s vision, industry and government must work together to attain a combined EV/PHEV sales share of at least 50% of LDV sales worldwide by 2050, according to the report. By 2020, global sales should achieve at least 5 million EVs and PHEVs (combined) per year. The more aggressive BLUE Map scenario suggests 7 million in 2020.
Other technology-specific goals in the roadmap include:
Develop coordinated strategies to support the market introduction of electric-drive vehicles. Electric-drive vehicles are unlikely to succeed in the next five to ten years without strong policy support, especially in two areas, the roadmap says: making vehicles cost competitive with today’s internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles, and ensuring adequate recharging infrastructure is in place. Governments need to coordinate the expansion of EV and PHEV sales, help provide recharging infrastructure, and, along with electric utilities, ensure adequate electricity supply.
Improve industry understanding of consumer needs and behaviors. Wider use of EVs and PHEVs will require an improved understanding of consumer needs and desires, as well as consumer willingness to change vehicle purchase and travel behaviour. Currently, the profile of car buyers in most countries is not well known; the industry needs to gain a better understanding of “early adopters” and mainstream consumers in order to determine sales potential for vehicles with different characteristics (such as driving range) and at different price levels. This information will also inform the development of appropriate policies to overcome market barriers and increase the demand for electric-drive vehicles. Auto manufacturers regularly collect such information and a willingness to share this can assist policy makers.
Develop performance metrics for characterizing vehicles. Industry should develop consistent performance metrics to ensure that EVs and PHEVs are achieving their potential. These include metrics related to vehicle performance (e.g., driving range) and technical characteristics (e.g., battery requirements). EVs and PHEVs are different in important respects; thus, the set of performance metrics for each must be tailored to each technology separately. Additionally, governments should set appropriate metrics for energy use, emissions and safety standards, to address specific issues related to EVs, PHEVs and recharging infrastructure.
Foster energy storage RD&D initiatives to reduce costs and address resource-related issues. Research, development and demonstration (RD&D) to reduce battery costs is critical for market entry and acceptance of EVs. In order to achieve a break-even cost with internal combustion engines (ICEs), battery costs must be reduced from the current estimated range of US$500 to US$800 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) of storage at high volume down to US$300 to US$400 per kWh by 2020, or sooner. RD&D to improve battery durability and life spans that approach vehicle life spans is also imperative.
Over the medium-term, strong RD&D programs for advanced energy storage concepts should continue, to help bring the next generation of energy storage to market, beyond today’s various lithium-ion concepts. Additionally, industry needs to focus RD&D efforts on addressing resource requirement issues and establishing secure supply chains.
In particular, lithium and rare earth metals supply and cost are areas of concern that should be monitored over the near-to mid-term to ensure that supply bottlenecks are avoided. Governments should help offset initial costs for battery manufacturing plant start-up efforts to help establish and grow this important part of the supply chain.
Develop and implement recharging infrastructure. Reliable electricity supply must be available for EV/PHEV recharging and recharging stations must be convenient to access. While it will be necessary to standardize the vehicle-to-grid interface, the roadmap notes, it is important to avoid over-regulating in order to allow for innovation. Policies should foster low-cost infrastructure to facilitate PHEV and EV introduction. Other valuable areas to explore include innovative electricity recharging systems (e.g., battery swapping centers), grid powering from batteries, smart metering, and implications for drivers and utilities. To make these efforts most effective, the role of utilities and governments (including policymaking and regulatory agencies) in developing the recharging infrastructure should be clearly established.