Frost & Sullivan Predicts Boom in Extended-Range Electric Vehicles

By · February 06, 2013

Chevy Volt

eREVs will soon become so popular that at least 14 different models from major OEMs will available by 2018, according to Frost & Sullivan.

Frost & Sullivan, the market analyst firm, says there is only one extended-range electric vehicle (eREV) on the market today, but in five years there will be 14 cars that operate like the Chevy Volt. As a result, annual sales of eREVs will exceed 300,000 units globally by 2018.

“Range extender technologies overcome the major challenge of range anxiety and extended times taken to charge, by generating onboard electricity with the help of different technologies such as internal combustion engine, fuel cell stack and micro-gas turbine,” explained Prajyot Sathe, a research associate at Frost & Sullivan. “This is fueling the trend toward plug-in hybrids and eREVs."

Sathe includes plug-in hybrids (which also overcome range anxiety) in this statement, but curiously Frost & Sullivan focused its forecast on eREVs like the Chevy Volt—rather than the field of plug-in hybrids with more of a blended approach, such as the Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid, Ford C-Max Energi and Honda Accord Plug-in Hybrid. The Frost press release states, “An eREV consumes very little fuel, as the primary function of an internal combustion engine or fuel cell or micro-gas turbine is recharging the battery, rather than powering the wheels. Therefore, the extra miles are added at minimal cost.”

Many of the so-called blended plug-in hybrids have driver controls to allow for the use of electricity, gas or both—depending on driver needs. Even conventional hybrids increasingly are allowing for longer periods of all-electric range at higher speeds. This begs the question why Frost believes that eREVs rather than plug-in hybrids with relatively smaller batteries will become the market leader, especially considering that plug-in hybrids appear to be more cost effective (or at least lower priced) than the Chevy Volt.

In recent months, combined sales of the Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid and Ford C-Max Energi have essentially matched those of the Chevy Volt. In the coming months, the Accord PHEV and Ford Fusion Energi will begin sales in earnest, so that sales of plug-in hybrids in the U.S. will surpass the Volt, as the only eREV on the market. General Motors will introduce the Cadillac ELR as a low volume eREV in 2014, but few (if any) eREVs are on the horizon—while companies offering conventional hybrids can more easily add a larger battery and plug to turn hybrid models into plug-in hybrids. This suggests more growth in the PHEV rather than the eREV market.

Nonetheless, Frost & Sullivan says that by 2018, eREVs will include internal combustion engine range extenders, fuel cell range extenders and micro-gas turbine range extenders—with 77 percent of the eREV segment functioning similar to the Volt.


· · 5 years ago

"In recent months, combined sales of the Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid and Ford C-Max Energi have essentially matched those of the Chevy Volt. In the coming months, the Accord PHEV and Ford Fusion Energi will begin sales in earnest, so that sales of plug-in hybrids in the U.S. will surpass the Volt, as the only eREV on the market."

So, it takes about 4 different products at different price points (PHEV) to surpass 1 product with limited features (Volt). Doesn't that speak for itself? People want eRev. The whole point of driving anything plugin is to be electric as much as possible without anxiety...

· · 5 years ago

Here in Cold Weather Climates I bet most of use the Extended Range Function a bit differently. There is no Analogue in Arizona since the car always uses Electric Air Conditioning so it doesn't matter whether you use the battery or engine. But when its cold, a BIG advantage can be used by using the cheaper gasoline (and using the engine when its most efficient - i.e. jacket heat is also recovered for the battery and cabin, alongside shaft power).

With my 2011 volt I have limited options. so put the car in mountain mode when I'm getting cold and want a little free heat, or HAVE to have it to see out the windshield.

Of course when it drops to 25 degrees outside the car decides for me, and turns on the engine regardless, but it still maintains the semblance of efficiency since it cycles off when the water warms up. Just about when the heater gets cold again the engine restarts.

I believe in these climates anyway, poeple are impressed that they are using both very little gas, and not too much electricity, all in cold weather driving. Could explain why the Volt is a very popular EV, at least around here.

· · 5 years ago

'few (if any) eREVs are on the horizon'

Unless of course one looks at the company plans.

Off the top of my head, the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, a small SUV, is due to be launched this year and get to the states in 2014.

And for the VW group:
'Then for 2014, the group will show plug-in hybrid versions of the following vehicles:

Audi: A3, Q7
Porsche: Cayenne
Volkswagen: Golf, Passat

And the Audi A5 and A6 will follow shortly thereafter, plus "numerous other derivatives" to fill out the rest of the decade.

"We will take this pioneering technology out of its niche," Winterkorn concluded, "and make it accessible to as many people as possible."

· · 5 years ago


If you re-read the article, there is clearly a line between EREVs and PHEVs. All the examples you list are the latter. The only other EREV I know if is the BMW i3 with Rex (although I'm still hoping for a Voltec Equinox).

@Bill Howland,

This is an interesting point of increasing the gas engine's efficiency by utilizing the heat rather than it becoming waste. This type of technology has been used for years in buildings where it's known as "cogen".

That said, my Volt-driving friend is often frustrated that his engine turns on at 26 degrees. He would rather have control over it (the heated seats work very well). When the temperature is that low, he insists that we take my Leaf to lunch so that we can avoid gas. He definitely suffers from "gas anxiety". Then again, he is not representative of the larger market, and most people would be thrilled to use so little gas, even if they use some every day during the winter.

· · 5 years ago

@Brian Schwerdt

Yeah, agreed, of course most large Cogen plants are steam turbine (the original Thomas Edison design from the 1800's called for district steam heating off the power plant, almost a necessity back then since the Theoretical Efficiency of a plant running at 200 PSI is like a bit over 8 %. To get any value out of the coal they had to sell the waste steam. But even in the 1800's, the overall efficiency of such plants in the wintertime was over 50%.

Modern Engine-Driven Cogen plants can run around 90% total efficiency, if the waste heat can be utilized. The local big car wash franchise operation around here (Delta-Sonic) used to have NO electric service whatsoever, but then they tired of running the big generator 24 hours per day, and now use the machines just to reduce peak demands/ heat the water during peak periods.

It still frustrates me that Natural Gas is getting so cheap that in some parts of the world they still Flare (totally burn in the air) 'waste' natural gas, since its uneconomic to liquify it, or pipe it.

· · 5 years ago

The Volt is a plugin hybrid - there is no difference at the schematic level between the Prius Plugin and the Volt. This is a distinction without a difference.

Honda, Ford, Mitsubishi and others have plugin hybrids coming soon. They will have all-electric ranges from 10-40 miles generally, and they all can move the car with the ICE only and/or charge the battery at the same time. No one is building a 'pure' serial hybrid yet. The i3 may be the first. I hope that Toyota builds one in the near future - if done right, a serial hybrid can be very efficient.


· · 5 years ago

@ NeilBlanchard - Its not a hybrid, as Hybrids have the electric motor power the drivetrain and still needs gas to run. Its not recommended, but you COULD run the Volt with gas on E and a full battery.... again NOT advised at all. You cannot do this in a PiP or C-Max Energi. Hence the difference between PHEV and eREV. Volts Engine is just to resupply power to the battery which drives the electric motor...not the gas generator.

Not trolling or opening a door for a conflict, just the facts needed to be corrected.

· · 5 years ago

Nice to see a distinction being made between erev's and plug-in hybrids. The Volt leapfrogged way beyond where others were ready to go with dependence upon electricity for powering down the road. It's time we acknowledge that, and this analysis does just that.

· · 5 years ago

@ Justin H, neither i want to open a conflict but you are wrong.

Check (wherever you want, wikipedia p.e.) what a series hybrid vehicle is. Yeah, Fisker Karma is a perfect example of a pure series hybrid. So is Volt, but for the fact that Volt's ICE actually can move the wheels. The Volt is a plug-in hybrid that usually operates as a plug-in series hybrid and sometimes operates as a plug-in parallel hybrid, whether you like it or not.

What happens is that GM marketing department did a good job with the EREV tag, and people got used to it. Was a good and clever way for them not to be mixed with prius and company. But nothing more.

· · 5 years ago

@ NeilBlanchard & Justin H •- This may be an issue worth exploring – not the semantic differences between ‘plug-in hybrid’ and ‘eREV’ but what makes each work best for a specific consumer with specific driving needs. I guess I personally come down for eREVs. If most of the time your range (and environmental requirements) are going to be such that the 10 mile or PIP class range of PHEVs will suffice, why not just buy a ‘pure’ EV? It looks to me like customers should just try to figure out what range for them is ‘enough’.

To the extent money enters into the calculation, first of all the huge subsidies to the oil industry need to be halted. The full cost of oil needs to be paid as best as it can be determined. The cost of oil wars alone would probably be enough to sink ICEs as competitors to EVs. I personally believe there will be costs connected with global warming. But because of the time intervals between the exposure to the (presumed) pathogen and the onset of the ‘disease’ they will be difficult to determine and assess.

But there are other costs that are much easier to determine. The need for oil is going to be with us for a long time. Oil came into its own as the key determinate of the outcome of modern warfare. It will probably remain so for a long time. Dipping into strategic petroleum reserves used to be considered at the very least a crime, if not an action bordering on treason. Now with our oil and growth-addicted civilization it is just another venue for a ‘fix’.

For those of us who do not believe we can always be assured of access to ‘our oil’ beneath the sands of the Middle East and elsewhere around the world, if not for our own national security then for the needs of future generations it is plain we must do everything possible to conserve it. Just assuming some form of technology we have yet to devise will supply our children with the energy they need to survive will not cut it.

I drove my 2006 Prius long enough to observe a gradual decline in gas mileage. On one trip from Tucson to Salt Lake I got 60 mpg. The last time I made the trip it was a mere 57. I also noticed that over time the Prius battery reached a full state of charge much quicker on the 6000 foot descent from Mt. Lemmon. I am assuming that a big part of either a (plug in) hybrid’s or a eREV’s fuel economy comes from its ability to recapture energy via regenerative braking etc.

So, if gradual battery degradation is inevitable, if you have reconciled yourself to the necessity of burning gas once in a while, does it not make sense to buy a little bigger battery than you need initially, especially if you are going to have lots of opportunities to recapture some of the spent energy, so you will always have some place to store it?

· · 5 years ago

You are right - the EREV tag was to separate the Volt from prius and company..... and it should be separated, don't you think?

Unfortunately it seems to have touched a raw nerve among EV purists who insist on grouping the Volt with cars with far less dependence on electricity and far more on gasoline for motive power.

I can understand why you and others purists are not happy using the term EREV, as you probably see it as a reminder of the limited range EVs other than Tesla have.

So what term could you suggest that would separate a 40 mile pure EV range Volt from the 10 mile blended EV/gasoline range PIP? I think its time you purists give GM its due credit for the brilliance of the Volt design. No - it's not a pure EV, never was, never pretended to be. But it is no PIP either.

· · 5 years ago

@Tra2S - Yeah! Short and sweet!!

P.S. meanwhile, let us continue to curse GM for all its off-shoring.

· · 5 years ago

"The Volt is a plugin hybrid - there is no difference at the schematic level between the Prius Plugin and the Volt. This is a distinction without a difference"
"Check (wherever you want, wikipedia p.e.) what a series hybrid vehicle is"

Funny that we are still arguing over this even today.

Let me put it this way, Volt is so different from come idea of plugin hybrid, it almost require you to have a real engineering degree to understand the small difference that will make a large impact.

1. Volt's engine CAN NOT and WILL NOT operate the car alone. Unlike any parallel hybrid. Sure, that would make it a "series-hybrid". But that is ONLY the case after the its battery range is out.

2. Volt's electric motor is far larger than its ICE output. Thus, its main drive is electric motor where PIP is NOT. PIP Is really nothing more than a "supersized" regular Prius.

3. Classifying the EREV under the PHEV category is outdate or "stupid" in this case. Just b/c some SAE or EPA thinks so, it doesn't make it right. This is cutting edge design and people haven't really clearly defined.

4. Do we call Volt an EV? If so, then it is completely different from PIP or PHEV. If NOT, then why NOT? Does Volt use its engine for propulsion inside its Battery range? NO. Does Leaf? NO. Does Volt uses its engine for propoulsion outside its battery range? Yes. Does the Leaf? Yes. (on the back of a tow truck). EV is a larger group that should include BEV such as Leaf and EREV such as Volt. We call electric trains and buses electric even though they are NOT powered by battery but rather some kind of wiring connected to a power grid. Well, Volt just happens to have that power grid on board.

5. If PIP or Energi models would actually perform fully as an "EV" during its battery range, I would have considered it as EREV or "EV" instead of PHEV . But they are mainly a parallel hybrid with a larger battery.

The better term for Volt is EV+.

· · 5 years ago

"Unfortunately it seems to have touched a raw nerve among EV purists who insist on grouping the Volt with cars with far less dependence on electricity and far more on gasoline for motive power"

Well said. I am surprised that those so called electric "purist" have attacked the Volt as much as the extreme conservative right who hates anything "green". It is actually a sad day to see that. Considering the amount of critism, the Volt has proven itself to consumers and it is doing relatively well.

I just wish the "purist" can see that the actual largest road block to the widespread to EVs is actually high mileage cars such as Prius. Most people buy due to economic reasons. It is really hard to justify the premium of "EVs" over something such as Prius at the current gas price level. Cars such as Volt is actually the BEST approach in bringing more people into the EV world without any worry of range with today's infrastructure/technology (or the lack of).

They should have "torched" Toyota for being such a "lame" participant at the EV game. Toyota has NO intention of doing anything electric. In fact, its PIP is just about the "worst" attempt of electrifying anything. Its e-Rav4 is NOT its own design and has no intention of selling any in signficant numbers.

With that said, I do realize that Volt is NOT perfect. There are plenty of improvements to be made. But it is a far bettery shot at "EV" than anything that Prius has done. I totally wish the Volt would have about 60-80miles range and then a smaller extender. But we shall see if that will happen in 2015.

· · 5 years ago

@Brian Scwerdt:

I could have listed the EV mileage of the cars, but wrongly assumed that anyone who doubted the figures would check them.

The Mitsubishi has an EV range of 55km, but only on the JC08 cycle, with a top EV limit of 62mph:

Perhaps 20 miles of real world EV range pushes the boundaries towards an EREV

For the VW's:
'Volkswagen plug-in hybrids will have about 35 or 40 miles of all-electric range'

Note firstly that this is exactly comparable with the Volt, so if that is an EREV, so will be the VWs.

Secondly the link is to this very site on which Eric is writing, so his false claim is the more extraordinary.

It would seem that both you and he could do with finding out what you are talking about before comment.

· · 5 years ago


With all due respect, don't assume ignorance simply because someone disagrees with you.

Your arrogant closing aside, you have put up a perfectly reasonable line as to when a car is an EREV. However, it is completely subjective. One might argue that the Volt is not an EREV but a PHEV, and the only EREV made is the Karma.

However, being a subjective difference without a real consequence, the author puts forth a different distinction. Again, it's a meaningless difference if said car can travel EV-only.

· · 5 years ago

What are you guys talking about - PHEV/EREV ?

That is so 2012. The new one to talk about is BEVx ;-)

· · 5 years ago

It was yourself who chose to claim error on my part clearly without having checked the facts in any way, which in my view is arrogant.
If I claim you are wrong, I will have checked it first, as that is only common respect.

As for the rest of the rigmarole about 'what is an EREV' it is perfectly clear that for the purposes of this discussion the Volt is taken as the prime example, and the VWs are expected to have exactly the same EV range.

You are fandancing.

· · 5 years ago

VW are producing a BEV Golf, which will go on sale throughout the states, not just in target markets.
They put the price of their BEVs and PHEVs at about the same, so which you fancy will be up to you and other customers.
If BEVs sell, then VW will be perfectly happy to supply them.
Personally given similar pricing and that a PHEV with the EV range they are going for will be able to easily cope on pure electric for everyday running around then I can't see why one would not take the extra range for long runs of the PHEV, and that is what VW think.
There is a caveat there. I don't know at what speed VW will program their ICE to kick in, so perhaps for high speed highway cruising it will use petrol.

Unfortunately you are not getting the electric Up car in the States, which in my view is likely to be an excellent city run around and is due for release in Europe this summer.

· · 5 years ago

I understand the differences between parrell and serial plugin hybrids. I own both a volt and a leaf, and love them both. From a consumer standpoint, the differences between serial and parallel hybrids are not terribly meaningful. WhenI talked to consumers, I focus on the size iof s the battery capacity in terms of range. If 90 percent of their Days can be met with the within the range of a car's battery, it's a good fit.I have a friend who bought a Prius plugin. he is perfectly happy with it. It get him to work on electric only where he charges and gets home I'll electric only. He says he rarely uses the gas mode, although he has modified his driving style to avoid to the gas engine.he has to fill up gas onceevery other month. So again to simplify it for a consumer, I think we need to emphasize whether the battery range will fit within their typical day's driving pattern.

· · 5 years ago


I agree with mostly what you said. But I highly disagree in the case of the Prius Plugin. If the Prius Plugin has a "true" 11 miles EV range, I would have been okay with it. The fact is that those miles are severely limited condition. You can NOT drive it hard, higher than 62mph or use any kind of heat... So, I think counting on the 11 miles EV from PIP is almost pointless. Sure, I know plenty of PIP owners who can keep in it EV modes, but they are just "moving road blocks" and only reinforce the "bad" image of hybrid/EV drivers are slow and annoying.

· · 5 years ago

OMG, I see a lot of stressed people around.

I already said that tagging the Volt as an EREV was clever. Do I have anything against the Volt? No, absolutly nothing. Are hybrids evil? No, they are great cras. Plug-in hybrids are even greater, and plug-in hybrids with a very large pure electric range, like Volt, are even better. I love all these cars. Volt included.

That being said what I said about EREVs and PHEVs was just the truth from the technical perspective. Even if you don´t like to hear it. Me being a purist? Not at all. But I do like good definitions because I think they are important. You can use a bazooka to fish in the lake, and call it Remote Fishing Revice, but it will still be a bazooka.

It´s a fact that the Volt has an Internal Combustion Engine, and it´s a fact that the engine can move the wheels, even if you never use it, and is a fact that the engine under some circumstances turns on itself. And it´s a fact that a vehícle that can move with two types of energies it´s a hybrid. And if you can plug it then is a plugin hybrid. And Jesus, there´s nothing wrong about that. It is still a very good car. Why are you so touchy about that? Is there something about the word hybrid that pisses you off?

Draw a line between an PHEV an EREV? Why? Because you say so? So the line is where the author says? Or where you say? Or where I say? Let´s say that if there´s no agreement on where the line is, then there is not such a line, yet.

Do you want to call Volt EREV? Go ahead, For what I care you can call it Peggy Sue. But when someone calls the Volt a PHEV, relax, that person has said nothing wrong. Thats the reason I answered Justin H in the first place. Not because I don´t like the Volt. I do. Sorry I hurt your feelings pals.

Just one more thing that really annoys me, @ModernMarvelFan, so if SAE and EPA classify Volt as PHEV is stupid but if you say it is an EREV is clever and OK, No comment.

And related to the post, I really hope, and wish, a boom of sells for PHEV and EREVs (are you happy folks?).


· · 5 years ago

Here's a question that I don't know the answer to as of yet, but may find out in the future but so far I've been too chicken:

"What happens at the moment the VOLT runs out of gasoline?"

Does the thing crank for a bit then give up, or does it keep cranking the engine until the High voltage battery is dead and then you really can't go anywhere.

The friday before last I finally found out what happens when the Tesla Roadster runs out of juice: the last message at 22 miles, battery range uncertain, is the last official indication you get, period. The bar graph stops decreasing at 1/16 full.

When the car stops its just as if the thing was put in Neutral. All the lights keep working and the electric heater keeps working. It just that you have to push it now (with a friend if you have to get over a driveway apron).

· · 5 years ago

@Davemart ·

BEVx is a BEV with an optional range extender - like the BMW i3.

PHEV/EREV are both obsolete ;-)

· · 5 years ago


Uncle! I agree with dir. Like I said, the line between PHEV and EREV is highly subjective. I was merely pointing to the article to which these comments are attached. I do not necessarily agree with it, either. In the end, the difference is fairly meaningless since the utility of the car depends on the person. Anything with a plug is a win in my book.


I have to respectfully disagree with you disagreeing with guythall ;).

Here's my situation - my commute is 4.5 miles, round trip. Yes, I actively chose to live close to work, which few people care about. Anyway - it's all back roads. The highest posted speed limit I see is 35mph. If I had a PiP, I would neither have to plug in at work nor try very hard to stay in EV only. I believe guythall's point is that for people in similar situations to mine, even the PiP could be a good fit. It may even make more sense for me than a Volt (as a compliment to my Leaf), since I also travel 250 miles each way to visit family.

· · 5 years ago

@Bill Howland,

My friend actually experienced that. His Volt allowed him access to a little more of his battery in order to get him safely to the side of the road. Not much though, probably similar to "turtle" mode in the Leaf.

· · 5 years ago

The problem is that there is no hard line commonly-agreed-to distinct difference between PHEV and EREV. You can make up your own qualification but that doesn't make it an agreed-upon accepted difference.

A continuum of different battery and motor sizes can create a spectrum of plug-ins from a conventional hybrid to a pure electric.

· · 5 years ago

@Brian Schwerdt

Ok, now what precisedly happens when the HV battery is full, but the engine runs out of gas? (engine is on because its under 26 degrees).?

· · 5 years ago

Maybe we change to referencing the Hybrids as MultiFuel/Multi Powered drivetrain (just pulling this out of the rear) and sub categorize that between Traditional Gasoline Hybrids (prius, civic, C-max), Plug in Hybrids (C-Max Energi, Fusion Energi, PiP, Accord Plug-IN) the Infamous EV+ (volt and ELR) and then full electric being its own category (LEAF, TESLA, IMEIV, FIT, SMART)

@dir - Ok, Point taken...I was just making conversation

@ModernMarvelFan - Good Choice as I used above "EV+"

No dictatorship here people, just good conversation

· · 5 years ago


Why not have a base point where a car could be categorized as an EV+, say, 35 EPA miles of EV only operation - below that are the PHEVs.

Or simply dump the PHEV tag, throwing out the 'hybrid' term entirely, and include a car's EPA tested EV only miles as part of the descriptor for an EV+, so as not to elevate the lesser ones beyond their lowly levels of EV committment-

BEV ....... Leaf, Tesla S, SparkEV, Coda
BEVx ..... BMW
EV10+ ... PIP, Accord
EV20+ ... Energi
EV35+ ... ELR
EV38+ ... Volt

· · 5 years ago

EDIT - I'm renaming the category for the BMW - if it is to be included as a BEV, it needs a 'g' reminder in its descriptor for the gasoline it uses for range extension (x). The rest of the cars don't have the BEV designation as their range extension via gasoline exceeds its electric range by more than 200%.

BEV ....... Leaf, Tesla S, SparkEV, Coda
BEVgx ..... BMW
EV38+ ... Volt
EV35+ ... ELR
EV20+ ... Energi
EV10+ ... PIP, Accord

· · 5 years ago

@Bill Howland,

My guess is: the engine stalls, and the electric motor continues to power the car. But the truth is, I just don't know. Want to be the guinea pig? ;)

· · 4 years ago

"My guess is: the engine stalls, and the electric motor continues to power the car. But the truth is, I just don't know. Want to be the guinea pig? ;)"

We have a winner!

On my yearly stale gas elimination drives I decided to see exactly what does happen when the gas runs out. Last year I chickened out when the low fuel warning came on. This year I went all year and used 1 gallon for emergencies/maintenance, then had to use up the 2 gallons remaining. Since this is a forced burn, the battery was fully charged when I started driving on gas, and several days later, it was still charged. So when it did run out of gas it was pretty painless. I could have just kept driving for the full battery range, but I chose to drive straight to my favorite pump shop for my yearly visit.

When out of fuel a few things happen. First the dash starts displaying some messages: Propulsion Power Reduced and Engine Not Available. Also the Nav came on and asked if I wanted to see nearby gas stations.
All the while just driving along, the only real difference is the Go pedal is remapped to make the car seem slower, probably to trick you into saving the battery power if you were really at battery minimum when you ran it out of gas, which would be the case if you actually were driving on gas intentionally. The power was still there, but I had to really press the pedal down a lot to feel it. Once I added my 3 yearly gallons it ran the ICE for a few seconds and then shut it off as I drove away from the pump. Back to normal, no drama.

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