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Pike forecasts cumulative plug-in vehicle sales to reach 5.2M units worldwide by 2017

Annual light-duty electric vehicle sales, world markets: 2011-2017. Source: Pike Research. Click to enlarge.

Pike Research forecasts that cumulative sales of plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs), the category that includes both plug-in hybrid and battery-electric vehicles (PHEVs and BEVs), will reach 5.2 million units worldwide by 2017, up from just under 114,000 vehicles in 2011. By the same year, cumulative sales of hybrid-electric vehicles (HEVs) will represent an additional 8.7 million vehicles, for a combined total of 13.9 million units in all electrified vehicle categories.

Overall, the market for electrified vehicles will grow at a CAGR of 19.5% between 2011 and 2017 (this compares to a CAGR of 3.7% for the vehicle market overall during the same period), according to Pike. The plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) will see substantial growth (48.4% CAGR) because it is currently still in its infancy.

Pike anticipates that the market for PEVs is expected to grow to 1,342,067 vehicles annually by 2017—about 1.4% of the global light-duty vehicle market. The Asia Pacific region will be the leading market due to the strength of the Japanese market and growth in China in the coming years. Pike says that the annual market for hybrid electric and plug-in electric vehicles will grow to 2.9 million vehicles by 2017.

The PEV market is anticipated to miss many of the targets set by various government bodies because vehicle programs have not been launching as rapidly as expected even a year ago. In the United States, President Obama’s goal for 1 million PEVs on the roads by 2015 appears to be well beyond what the actual vehicle market is likely to be. Germany has set a goal of 1,000,000 PEVs by 2020—almost twice the 512,701 PEVs forecast to be on the roads in that country by 2017.

—“Electric Vehicle Market Forecasts”

While electrified vehicles will become a growing portion of total vehicle sales, the penetration rates will remain relatively low in the context of the total automotive industry. Pike forecasts that PEV and HEV sales together will represent approximately 3% of total light-duty vehicle sales in 2017. Adoption rates will be highest in North America, Pike projects, where electrified vehicles will capture 4.9% of the total light-duty vehicle market in that year.

Pike Research’s report, “Electric Vehicle Market Forecasts”, analyzes the key market forces playing a role in the electric vehicle market and provides lists of expected vehicle launches. The report includes detailed forecasts through 2017 for light duty vehicle sales, as well as retail and fleet sales of hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and battery electric vehicles, segmented by world region and key countries. Anticipated market shares for selected manufacturers are also provided for the United States.



maybe, but I have my doubts, when you see the market share of HEV today 14 years after their introduction, unless the price of gas goes to 8$/Gallons, sounds overly optimistic especially when you consider where the PHEV are right now in term of pricing. Asides it is a mistake to believe that people will buy PHEV or EV just because they exist, the public desire to buy this kind of vehicle is pretty low right now regardless of the price.
But future will tell


This type of linear growth of HEVs, PHEVs and BEVs may not materialize if we do not fix the current economy down slide soon.


Non linear, maybe exponential.

People will buy them when they make economic sense.

They are not brainwashed, nor slaves of Big oil.

They do not make economic sense. Yet.

The public desire to buy this kind of vehicle is pretty high right but not at any price (except for gov purchases).

Who wants to buy a hybrid Yucon?
Step right up


Apologies for repeating myself but a disruption in the oil supply would cause a dramatic increase in demand for plug-ins. And a disruption is easily possible.
What if the "arab spring" goes sour?
But even without a disruption the price of plug-ins will become more affordable, and when that happens they will sell. It's not just eco-freaks that are fed up with gas prices and our foolish dependency upon something outside our control.


I think it'll take some disruptive development to make plug-ins break out of this slow-growth curve.

Mere high oil prices won't do it. The problem is that high oil prices send major economies (like the US) into economic contraction, which reduces oil demand and thus prices. Sustained high prices are needed to make plug-ins economically attractive. Taxes would do the job, but the USA is allergic to taxes even to discourage behavior that's against the national interest.

Some development like the Japanese buried-cable power transmission system might do it. Getting rid of the need for a big, heavy, expensive battery changes the economics and allows a much lower price and faster growth rate. If the system remains competitive with gasoline even at recession-stage prices, there is no downside to buying a vehicle equipped with it and the replacement of liquid fuel with electricity can go at maximum speed.


Collapse the game... It's lost its fun-factor.


@Tree - we have $8 / US Gallon fuel in europe (after taxes) and there are very few electric vehicles.

There are loads of diesels (70% of new cars diesel in many countries) and smaller cars (most cars < 1.4 L are petrol) and a few hybrids (Prii mainly).

I can't see "mostly battery" PHEVs or BEVs taking off until the batteries get a lot cheaper.

You see incremental improvement in ICEs and in automotive systems (BMW's Efficient Dynamics) and a lot of stop/start systems.

You might start to see "small battery" PHEVs like the upcoming Prius PHEV, but not large battery ones - until the battery price comes down.


What I expect we are looking at over the next 5 years is a severe economic implosion worldwide. That will liekly mean fancy cars like these wont sell and instead simple low power cars will sell and or used cars with good enough milage.

I realy think we have to look beyond 2020 for when all these car techs will finaly change things.


In 2012, we will have 1 M fuel cell cars. That is what GM forecasted about a decade ago. GM should know... since they actually produce cars.

So, if the GM forecast was totally wrong, why should I believe this one? Maybe Pike is just saying what people want to hear. Although we are close to Peal Oil soon, it will be more like a plateau than a peak. Oil prices cannot increase that much in this timeframe that it would offset the price tag of PHEVs. The price on batteries will not drop drastically either and we actually need much larger batteries than for conventional HEVs. Thus, I cannot see the rationale behind the forecast from Pike. The only thing I can agree with is that the market for (conventional) HEVs will grow!


There is a difference bewtween we COULD and we will. Gm and other fuel cell car makers always had that little .. but... only if we NEED them that fast.

That has in fact always been the case with fuel cell car tech.. it could be fast tracked even back in the 60s but that would have COST.. so we didnt do it because IT WASNT NEEDED.

It still isnt needed so its going at its own pace.. 2015 or so is the start... 2020-2025 is a likely solid flow rate point..

These reports always assume they are NEEDED not just wanted or liked.. or just eyed by a general public wondering.. when will it be useful for ME...

Thats why they are always wrong.


I mostly agree. These forecasts are not based on any sound science. Mostly, it seems easier to forecast technology development than market acceptance. There are so many aspects that must be taken into account if you want to make a reliable forecast about market penetration. In most of these studies, the market starts at zero the year the study was published and then it (the market) increases in a linear or exponential way to the sky. The nice thing is that, within less than one year, we will know if forecast was right or wrong. I would put my money on “wrong”. However, by then, Pike has probably moved on to make another study that tells people what they want to hear at that particular moment in time. Since the present study is not on a long term horizon and we know the lead times in the industry, I presume that it would be fairly easy to just interview a couple of car manufacturers about their production planning for the next couple of years and find out if Pike is totally out in the blue or not. I would bet that this result is completely different than Pike’s. Not even Toyota, who, for the moment, totally dominates the HEV market (including their involvement in battery manufacturing), would agree with Pike regarding BEV/PHEV. Who else than Toyota would be in a position to produce so many cars in such a short timeframe?

BTW: Does anyone remember that 2004 was the year when series production of fuel cell cars started? Well, that was what Daimler told us just a few years before 2004. How many vehicles did they produce? If I recall correctly, it was around 50. Not really something for the mass market…


actualy car makers have produced several thousand fuel cell cars already.. all for testing.


to make myself clear I would be the first customer for a PHEV when the price comes in reasonable territories and when there will be plugs around to recharge it, and I already drive a HEV right now (but not for economical reasons because the maths are very deceptive...). Even if the price of oil goes up the EV and PHEV won't sell that much, because it will be easier faster and cheaper to put on the market small cars with improved engine that can get 50MPG than to massively develop PHEV or EV in the short medium term. EV are the holly grail of the cars industry but it is a long term transition.


Sure… and many more satellites have been produced for space exploration. However, the introduction of private space craft is not expected in the near future… BTW, one of the early applications of (a certain type of) fuel cells was in manned space crafts.

In Sweden, we have quite a lot of places where we could plug in; they are intended for electric block heaters. However, this does not help when the cars cost too much. On the timeframe of the Pike study, this will not change significantly.

I also question the results in the Pike study that the relative growth of BEVs would be so much greater than for HEVs. What is the reason for that? It is possible to create a small market with subsidiaries and it is also possible to find a niche market where customers (e.g. company cars as part of marketing) are willing to pay a large premium (for various reasons). However, this will not create a 5 M market.


Our city recently added 50 Leafs e-cars to their 1100+ car sharing fleet. Those e-cars rent at the same price rate as their ICE counterpart. The main difference is that the e-cars are used almost twice as many hours/day than the ICE units making them an overall economic solution. If the experience continue with this early success, many more e-cars will be added even at $41K/CAN each. The local Hydro electricity supplier helped with 125 low cost charge points. Our very low power rates help too. Charge points will be doubled by year end and could be further multiplied next year.

This may be one smart way to introduce e-cars to the general public.

The Hydro Co. charge points will be available to the general public by 2012.


Peter XX - FYI Virgin Galactic has a contract to lift two SRI scientists on the suborbital space plane Spaceship II - supposedly 2012.

NASA has contracts with private Boeing, Space X, Sierra Nevada and Blue Origin to ferry astronauts to the Intl. Space Station and other missions in the absence of a shuttle.

We'll see. But the private space industry is moving faster than one might have thought.


The 2012 Tesla Model S will have a significant impact on the lux bracket. With 3 AER battery pack options (160, 230, 300,) a buyer can select their AER value level. With a 300 AER pack and 45 minute QuickCharge - driving an EV will require one stress reducing behavior:

Eating a meal or 1 hour activity between long distance charges. Not a very big deal. In exchange, never pump gasoline again.


Virgin Galactic’s space ship is not in any way similar to a private car. However, it of course shares some of the cost issues with BEVs, so if that was your point, I could agree.

I have difficulties to imagine 5 M Teslas on the road.


Peter, I guess you meant "personal" space craft. I assumed you were using the corporate reference and posted on the current state of non-governmental private space craft. And no, as I pointed out, the Model S is a luxury product fitting that narrow market.

However, given the proof of concept Tesla gains, I would not be surprised to see a Tesla/Toyata econobox EV downstream.


Whatever… all these comparisons are totally irrelevant anyway.

A recent Swedish study concluded that BEVs (exemplified with a i-Miev vs. Colt comparison) will be competitive at a gasoline price of USD 37/gallon. With that, I conclude my comments on his topic.

Roger Pham

From 2011 to 2017 is 6 years into the future. At the rate of price reduction of battery of 8% yearly, by 2017, car battery will cost ~%60 of today's prices. Petrol prices have been going up as a trend, even though subject to great deal of price fluctuation. At the forecasted petrol demand increase and limited supply, it is reasonable to assume that petrol will rise in price on average of 7% yearly, so, by 2017, petrol prices will be~150% of today. Doing the math by dividing 1.5 to 0.6, we will get 2.5 folds relative price change of battery vs. petrol.

For example, a typical Li-ion car battery pack today might cost $800/kWh, so the Volt's 16 kWh pack now costing $12,800 will only cost $7,680 by 2017, while petrol now cost $3.5 in the USA will cost $5.25 by 2017.

Furthermore, the trend also shows that Li batteries has been gaining in durability, capable of higher and higher charge/discharge cycles before deterioration. This means that the cost per kWh of battery electricity over the life of the pack will drop even faster than the drop in purchasing price of battery capacity. So, the price of battery electricity may drop to ~40% of today's level. Dividing 1.5 by 0.4 will get you 3.75 folds reduction in the relative battery electricity cost vs petrol cost per unit of energy consumed by 2017.

In consideration of the above data, it is not difficult to accept Pike's forecast of market penetration of PEV's. See reference below:


Roger Pham

I must hasten to add to the above that the effect of 7% increase in CAFE yearly was not considered in the above. This increase in CAFE will partially neutralize the effect of the same annual % of rise in petrol cost.

If the increase in CAFE is due to downsizing, weight reduction and improving in aerodynamics, then this will have no effect on the relative price reduction of battery electricity vs petrol of 3.75 folds! However, it is likely that higher thermal efficiency of ICE will be achieved, and this will dampen the magnitude of reduction in cost of battery electricity vs of petrol.

Also, the rise in CAFE will also be the result of higher number of HEV and other ICE-hybrids, and this is a little bit more complicated. Higher number of HEV's will significantly reduce the cost differential of PEV's vs. non PEV's, since PEV vs non-PEV will be only the difference in price of a larger battery pack vs. a much smaller one, making PHEV really an attractive and cost-effective option.

In reality, no one can really predict the future, but it is always fun to try to do so. Weather.com has been really accurate lately, down the number of degrees!


Do you really believe in your own statements? I would like to come back to this forecast in about 5 years for the final results but I think we will see already in a few months that the projection is completely wrong.

Roger Pham

No one can really predict the future. I was only analyzing current trends in the relative costs of battery electricity vs. petrol and project them into the future. How quickly electrification will take place will also depend on how the governments will make laws with respect to the future prices of petrol, and how rapidly will ICE increase in efficiency.

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