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Plug-In EV Market to Sell 3.2M Units by 2015

Global adoption of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) as well as battery electric vehicles (BEVs) is expected to takeoff over the next five years, with sales totaling 3.2 million vehicles between 2010 and 2015, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 106 percent, according to a new report from Pike Research.

The market researcher says these vehicles deliver improved fuel economy, lower emissions, and a quieter ride than comparable power internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles, which will appeal to consumers in the North American market where fuel costs are rising and range anxiety in the electric vehicle market continues to be a concern.

Dave Hurst, senior analyst at Pike Research expects that China will be the largest market for electric vehicles, with more than 888,000 PHEVs and BEVs sold by 2015, representing 27 percent of worldwide sales. The United States is expected to follow close behind with 841,000 vehicles sold, or 26 percent of the global market.

Hurst also notes that PHEVs and BEVs will complement and not displace the market for conventional hybrid electric vehicles and most likely will be launched in the small car segment for consumer markets initially followed by the small SUV sector.

The report, “Plug-in Electric Vehicles,” which covers opportunities and challenges in the emerging market for PHEVs and BEVs, indicates that as automakers move into the plug-in vehicle market, they will find that U.S. consumers are still wary about high upfront costs for these vehicles despite the fuel savings. As a result, government incentives will continue to play an important role in the consumer marketplace for many years, according to the report.

Another finding indicates that many consumers may ultimately choose a plug-in vehicle that is aligned with a brand they already trust, which means Toyota and Honda are likely to benefit from their established positions in the HEV market. But GM’s early entry into the market is expected to boost its initial PHEV sales. Pike estimates that GM will have a 20-percent global PHEV market share by 2015.

A Pike survey released last year found that about 22 percent of respondents said they were “extremely interested” in plug-in vehicles, with another 26 percent “very interested.”

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