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Chevrolet, Renault Strongest in Plug-in EV Market, Study Says

Chevrolet and Renault lead automakers in the plug-in electric vehicle market due to strong strategy and execution, according to a Pike Research report evaluating 16 leading manufacturers.

The “Pike Pulse Report: Plug-In Electric Vehicles” rates companies on 12 criteria for strategy and execution, including vision, go-to market strategy, partners, product strategy and roadmap, geographic reach, market share, sales and marketing, product performance, product quality and reliability, pricing, product portfolio, and staying power.

The report, which finds the 2013 model year looking increasingly competitive, says Japanese automakers Toyota and Nissan are also strong contenders. Despite being the current sales leader in battery electric vehicles, however, these two companies are limited by their narrow product portfolios, Pike says.

Ford Motor Co., which has not yet fully executed its plans, is poised for growth with a broad portfolio of PEVs and flexible manufacturing, the report says.

Vehicle cost remains a huge hurdle for greater adoption, Pike’s senior research analyst Dave Hurst said.

Lower operating costs and the desire for zero-emissions driving were two key drivers for the early adopter market. However, these are not proving to be as effective as expected, according to the report.

Pike Research projects growth in the global PEV market will be robust, increasing from 137,950 vehicles in 2012 to 1.75 million in 2020. However, it will fall short of expectation set by original equipment manufacturers and politicians in 2010 and 2011.

The market is still struggling to attract a mass-market audience. Higher upfront costs, higher-mileage gasoline-powered vehicles and slow battery price decreases have further dampened growth in the mass automobile market, Pike says.

A separate Pike Research report released last month forecast the global electric vehicle supply equipment market will increase from fewer than 200,000 units sold in 2012 to almost 2.4 million in 2020. In 2012, there will be almost 45,000 public charging stations installed globally and more than 135,000 plug-in EVs sold, the report said.

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