Electric Vehicles: Predictions for 2012

By · December 16, 2011

Ford Focus Electric

New electric cars hitting the market, like the Ford Focus Electric, are priced higher than consumers would like. That trend will continue in 2012.

In 2012, plug-in electric vehicles will take major strides toward becoming a mature if small component of the overall vehicle fleet. The number of battery electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles sold and the variety of options for consumers will rapidly expand. The fruits of the multi-billion dollar investments in recent years in lithium ion battery manufacturing facilities will provide abundance in capacity that could outpace demand, but any oversupply will not impact vehicle pricing. In order to analyze the impacts of these and other key issues facing the EV industry, Pike Research has prepared a white paper that makes 10 predictions about the continuing evolution of the market in 2012 and beyond.

Here are three of those predictions:

Battery production will get ahead of vehicle production.
Manufacturers of lithium ion batteries in the United States spent 2011 readying new and established factories for the expected surge in electric car and plug-in hybrid sales. The 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act provided funding for scaling up production so that the United States can compete with Japan, Korea, and China in EV batteries. Most of the award recipients (including Saft, EnerDel, Johnson Controls, LG Chem, and Dow Kokam) have their facilities fully online and ready to produce. Now, the production and sales of the cars needs to catch up.

EV prices will continue to disappoint many consumers.

Many potential EV buyers were disappointed that Nissan raised the price of the LEAF for 2012. While the Chevrolet Volt will sell for $1,000 less, the car comes without several features that were standard but consumers now must pay for as options. According to data from Pike Research’s annual Electric Vehicle Consumer Survey, the optimal price for a plug-in electric vehicle to engage consumers is $23,750. With the 2012 Toyota Prius PHEV ($32,000), the Honda Fit BEV ($36,625), and the Ford Focus EV ($39,995) all north of $30,000 (before federal incentives), consumers hoping for an affordable EV ride have been left wanting. Unfortunately, Pike Research does not expect this trend to stop in 2012.

EVs will begin to function as home appliances.

In many households, the EV will be the device that consumes the most energy and power. In 2012, manufacturers of the vehicles—as well as charging equipment—will introduce technology that will enable EVs to interact with other home appliances. Automakers want EVs to be good “citizens” in balancing their energy requirement with the rest of the building, which requires establishing communications with smart meters, home energy management devices, and other types of appliances. For example, an EV could coordinate with the clothes dryer or pool pump to make sure that the power consumption doesn’t surpass a certain threshold. Other long term applications could include downloading music or movies to the vehicle. The first vehicles demonstrating this capability will likely be out in 2012, with commercialization soon to follow.

Get details about Pike Research’s white paper, “Electric Vehicles: 10 Predictions for 2012”, which analyzes ten key trends that will influence the development of the electric vehicle market in 2012 and beyond.

New to EVs? Start here

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