Navigant Research Blog

Simplicity, Lower Prices Keys to EVSE Sales Growth

John Gartner — March 25, 2013

More than 7.5 million plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) will be sold between 2013 and 2020, according to Navigant Research forecasts.  All of those vehicles need to be charged somewhere, which is why the electric vehicle (EV) charging supply equipment market has attracted more than 120 companies, large and small.

These vendors would like each new PEV owner to buy a home charging unit.  Due to a variety of factors, though, the percentage of consumers that choose to do so in future years will shrink.  According to Navigant Research’s 2012 Electric Vehicle Charging Equipment report, the portion of PEV buyers that will purchase a residential charging station will fall from 63% in 2013 to 47% in 2020.  The primary factors influencing this decline include:

  • Increasing sales of plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs) with smaller battery packs that can be fully charged via a standard 110-volt outlet overnight
  • A greater share of PEV owners living in multi-unit dwellings without dedicated parking spots
  • Increased reliance on workplace and other public charging

As the relative sales of residential electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) go down, sales of commercial (non-residential) EVSE will by necessity rise.  The chart below illustrates that annual global sales of commercial EVSE will grow to more than 1.5 million units annually while residential EVSE sales will rise to less than 823,000 units.

Residential and Commercial EVSE Unit Sales, World Markets: 2013-2020

         AV                                                                                                           

                                                                                                 (Source: Navigant Research)

To reach the forecast volume of residential EVSE sales, the cost of purchasing and installing a home charger must go down.  We are starting to see residential EVSE priced in the $600 to $650 range for basic units; the average selling price should fall below $500 by 2016.

Simplify, Please

EVSE maker AeroVironment is reducing the immediate financial impact of buying and installing a residential EVSE by working with dealers to bundle the EVSE cost into the vehicle’s purchase cost.  Through the program, dealers approve potential customers for financing above the price of the vehicle and the EVSE, warranty, and installation costs are added as a capital item.  AeroVironment is launching the program with dealers selling the Nissan LEAF and will expand it to dealers of other brands over time.  The company expects the installation to take 4 days or less, including the time for an inspection.  AeroVironment will also be busy installing residential EVSE in California.  The California Energy Commission recently granted AeroVironment $2 million to install 770 residential EVSEs across the state.

Depending on which state or city an EV owner resides, the permitting process can be a lengthy and onerous process for purchasers and electrical contractors.  According to Navigant Research’s recently published Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment Permitting report, some regions allow a permit to be filed online and offer same-day inspections.  In other places, differences in city and county rules can significantly slow the process.  Currently, very few states have attempted to standardize the process.  Yet, for sales of EVSE to grow as forecast, more states will have to simplify the process.

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