Navigant Research Blog

Report Card: Pike Research’s 2012 EV Predictions

John Gartner — January 9, 2013

Source: WikimediaThe end of the year is not only a good time to look ahead with a new set of electric vehicle predictions; it has also become our tradition to look back at our projections from the previous year.   Here’s a quick summary of how our predictions from a year ago panned out.

The global availability and increasing sales of EVs will put an end to the “are they for real?” speculation.  B.

While plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) sales for 2012 will be less than half of the 257,000 we forecast in 2011, a market of 120,000 PEVs this year verifies that they are here to stay.  Sales in North America weren’t off by that much, but Europe (thanks to austerity measures and the generally crappy economic environment) and Asia Pacific (lack of consumer demand in China) both fell far short.  While some automakers (Toyota, Honda) continue to hedge their bets, Nissan, Ford, Audi, BMW, and GM are all expanding production of PEVs.

Car sharing services will expand the market for EVs and hybrids.  A+

In Paris, the Autolib project has been a great success story using PEVs, Daimler is expanding its Car2Go carshare cities, BMW brought PEV carsharing to San Francisco, and so on.

Battery production will surge ahead of vehicle production.  A

The aforementioned lagging PEV sales resulted in excess inventories, falling prices, and struggling battery makers such as A123 Systems heading for the (bankruptcy) exit.

Road tax legislation in the United States that will require PEV owner contributions will fail. INCOMPLETE. 

Legislators were too busy with other things, such as keeping their state and federal governments from insolvency, to bother with proposing (let alone passing) any mileage tax legislation.  Fiscal crises in many areas will eventually make this a polarizing issue.

The Asia Pacific region will become the early leader in vehicle-to-grid (V2G) systems.  A

Japan continues to be the test bed for many vehicle-to-grid and vehicle-to-home projects, thanks in part to broad automaker support, and Hangzhou China is beginning a test of 20,000 EVs for V2G.   Hurricane Sandy’s impact on distributing gasoline was worse than the impact on the power grid in many towns, which has more companies in the United States  thinking about the benefits of EVs.

PEV prices will continue to turn off many consumers.  A

The $10,000 or more price premium for PEVs continues to frustrate consumers who might otherwise be interested in buying a PEV.  Ford’s entries into the market hasn’t helped, and both Tesla and Nissan are raising prices on their vehicles.

Third-party EV charging companies will dominate public charging sales.  D

After piling up deals (often involving DOE money) in 2011, EV charging service company 350Green  got very quiet in early 2012, and then agreed to be acquired by competitor CarCharging Group.  CarCharging, which recently snagged former presidential hopeful and New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson as Chairman of its Board of Directors, and fellow competitor EV Connect continue to make inroads with hotels and property management companies.  However, this business model requires rapid subscriber growth and is running out of steam faster than anticipated.

Germany, South Korea, and Japan will see the most progress toward the commercialization of FCVs and rollout of hydrogen infrastructure in 2012.  B

Daimler, Hyundai and Toyota, which continue to push for fuel cell vehicle commercialization, recently toured Germany and other European countries to tout the technology’s viability.  Germany’s Clean Energy Partnership continues to gain momentum.  The Japanese government continues to push for hydrogen fueling incentives and is streamlining the process of building stations.  The fuel cell sector is also heating up in the United States, as Air Products had a busy year building out hydrogen infrastructure.

Employers will begin to purchase EV chargers in large numbers.  C

With a few notable exceptions (Facebook, Google, Microsoft) employers are waiting for the penetration of PEVs to increase before committing to large purchases of EV charging stations.  It will happen, but perhaps not until 2014.

EVs will begin to function as home appliances.  D 

The integration of EV charging equipment into the home is happening more slowly than anticipated.  While communication standards, such as ZigBee and HomePlug,  for connecting EVSE to smart meters or home energy management systems are in place, EVSE manufacturers have yet to enable their products to work as smart appliances.

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