According to Pike Research, plug-in vehicles (PEV) sales will improve strongly near the second half of this decade, exceeding 1 million vehicles per year by 2018. However, sales in this sector will likely not meet the ambitious goal of the Obama Administration (that is, to hit 1 million units by 2015).
The report also indicates that the U.S. will take the lead in PEV sales, holding a market-leading position until at least 2020. In 2012, of an expected 48,000 sales, Pike believes 27,992 will be PHEV (plug-in hybrid vehicles) and 19,974 will be BEV (battery-electric vehicles). It is projected that U.S. consumers will continue to seek out PHEVs over BEVs over the period of the report’s forecast.
Interestingly, the Asian sector (especially Japan) appears to exhibit a clear preference for BEVs over PHEVs (an exact reversal). This could be because the smaller BEVs fit well with the Asian market’s acknowledged preference for smaller vehicles, which American consumers are less likely to spring for.
The report has high hopes for the Asian market. While in the beginning stages, the PEV market will be evenly split (more or less) between North America, Asia Pacific, and Western Europe, Pike sees China taking the lead in terms of market size, with growth really taking off from 2013 onward through that decade. By 2020, Asia Pacific is expected to become the world’s largest PEV market.