|Electric vehicle drive motor revenue by region, world markets: 2013-2020. Source: Navigant. Click to enlarge.|
Unit sales of electric drive motors for light-duty vehicles (LDVs) will reach 3.7 million by 2020, growing from 1.5 million in 2013, according to a new report from Navigant Research (formerly Pike Research). Total global market revenue will grow from just less than $1 billion in 2013 to more than $2.8 billion in 2020, representing a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 16.6%.
The market for electric traction motors is determined by the demand for electric and electrically assisted vehicles, which varies across the three major automotive market regions in the world (North America, Western Europe, and Asia Pacific), Navigant notes. While sales of battery electric vehicles (BEVs) are increasing, the growth is slow and steady rather than exponential. Cost remains the main barrier in the short term, with the battery pack being by far the most expensive component.
The market for electric drive motors is set for steady rather than spectacular growth over the next few years. Only a breakthrough in the cost and performance of battery packs is likely to cause a significant increase in electric vehicle sales—but as volumes increase, there will be plenty of scope for cost reductions in motors and controllers, as well.—David Alexander, senior research analyst with Navigant Research
The motor and controller represent a significant part of the cost picture. While the motor is the easily identified additional component, for most drive systems the controller (which includes power electronics and inverter) has a similar cost, Navigant notes. Some manufacturers interviewed for the report estimated the cost ratio of the motor to controller to be 50:50 and some said 60:40.
There is scope for cost reductions as volumes increase, the report finds. Automated production processes will be one improvement when sales volumes increase from a few hundred to tens of thousands annually, and the component costs of power electronics modules will also decline. Another important factor to consider is the software that goes into the controllers, which has the potential to drop in cost per unit by one or two orders of magnitude.
Of the six major global automotive regions—North America, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America, and the Middle East and Africa—the Eastern European and Latin American markets are expected to remain small in terms of EV drive motor revenue over the forecast period.
Meanwhile, the Middle East & Africa will show steady growth, but will still remain a fraction of the value of any of the big three: North America, Western Europe, and Asia Pacific.
Revenue in North America will not grow as fast as the other two major regions because the vehicle mix will continue to be led by hybrid rather than plug-in or battery electric vehicles, Navigant finds. Hybrid technology offers the North American consumer better fuel economy, but retains the ability to handle frequent long trips. In addition, the technology can be added to the larger type of vehicle that is popular in North America. The larger, more expensive motors required for battery electric vehicles (BEVs) will see greater demand in Western Europe and Asia Pacific.