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Report: Global electric vehicle sales to top 3.8m a year by 2020

January 05, 2013

DETROIT, Jan 5 — Sales of plug-in electric vehicles and of hybrid electric vehicles (which use a petrol or diesel engine to charge an electric motor to increase driving range) are expected to grow exponentially throughout the decade as the number of affordable vehicles increases and the charging infrastructure to support them continues to improve, says a new report that claims that the market for electric vehicles is still in its early stages.

According to the report from Pike Research, this will lead to sales of more than 3.8 million a year by 2020.

“Sales of electric vehicles have not lived up to automakers’ expectations and politicians’ proclamations, but the market is expanding steadily as fuel prices remain high and consumers increasingly seek alternatives to internal combustion engines,” says senior research analyst Dave Hurst. “Indeed, sales of plug-in electric vehicles will grow at a compound annual growth rate of nearly 40 per cent over the remainder of the decade, while the overall auto market will expand by only two per cent a year.”

Hybrid electric vehicles, such as the Toyota Prius, which use a traditional petrol or diesel engine alongside an electric motor, have been on general sale throughout the world for over a decade, and as cheaper mass-produced plug-in electric vehicles such as the Nissan Leaf, plus plug-in hybrids electric like the Chevrolet Volt (that use a petrol or diesel engine to charge the electric battery) have started to come to the global market since 2010, interest in North America, the Asia Pacific region and western Europe is slowly growing.

Plug-in hybrid vehicles, which have a greater range than their pure-electric counterparts, are expected to drive the electric vehicle market in North and Latin America, where average driving distances are longer and therefore greater range is needed, while in smaller geographical regions, such as Western Europe, where it is easier to make widespread infrastructure changes, plug-in electric vehicles are expected to be more popular.

In an interview with The Guardian today, Ben Lance, the managing editor of green motoring website nextgreencar.com, claimed that the market for electric vehicles in the UK alone is expected to grow by 100 per cent over 2013 as the charging infrastructure around London and the southeast increases and as the prices of electric vehicles continues to come down.

“The pricing is not yet quite right and the range is still not long enough,” he is reported as saying, yet he remains confident that sales will double over 2013. “Very few people in 2012 were willing to pay a significant sum more for a car that still cannot do everything,” he said, but as the technology improves and becomes less expensive, he’s confident that will change.

UK consumers interested in buying an electric vehicle are entitled to a £5,000 (RM25,000) government grant to help cover the cost of ownership. However, according to the latest government figures, only 3,000 people applied for the grant in 2012, meaning that a 100 per cent increase in sales would only amount to 6,000 new electric vehicles on the road in 2013 in a country where over 28 million cars are currently registered and in regular use.

Likewise, in the US, the latest figures from the Electric Drive Transportation Association (EDTA), published last month, projected that sales of plug-in electric and plug-in hybrid vehicle sales more than doubled in 2012, hitting 44,888 compared with 17,735 in 2011 (this includes business fleet as well as individual consumer sales). However, the figure represents less than 0.5 per cent of all types of cars sold in the country over the same period, estimated by EDTA in December to total 13.08 million, and this week projected to reach 14.5 million, according to Ward’s Auto and Autodata. — AFP/Relaxnews 

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