Forecasting the future of the automotive market ain't no easy task. The complex forces at work, including widely ranging government incentives and automaker's often-rosy outlooks, make predicting the future for emerging technologies all the more difficult. Will hybrids be a boon to the automotive industry? Will electric vehicles bomb? Predictions regarding the automotive industry's future are simply guesses based on some facts, complex tracking of trends, significant speculation and, sometimes, lies. With all this in mind, we now turn our attention to Alan Baum, a Michigan-based auto industry analyst who has predicted the future of the industry for nearly 30 years. Baum's expertise is hard to question and his forecasting model is unorthodox, but remember, even the best laid plans don't always yield accurate results.

Baum predicts a burgeoning market for advanced technology vehicles. Within the next five years, Baum forecasts that we'll see more than 50 conventional hybrid models, over 30 electric vehicle models, almost 20 plug-in hybrid models and even a few fuel cell models in production. The folks over at Hybrid Cars provided a breakdown of the vehicles that Baum believes we'll see in the next five years:
Baum is tracking a whopping 108 electric-drive vehicles by model year 2015. That's up from 22 grid-free hybrids and one electric car, the Tesla Roadster, in production today. There will be 27 new model introductions for the model year 2011 alone-effectively doubling the number of hybrids and plug-ins in a single year. Baum indicates that the 2011 U.S. line-up will add 13 conventional hybrids, 3 plug-in hybrids, and 11 battery electric cars. By the model year 2015, the new car market will have 108 electric-drive models. Nearly half of them will be conventional hybrids, but there will also be 18 plug-in hybrids, 32 EVs, and 6 fuel-cell electric cars.
Baum is quick to point out that many of the vehicles that he tracks, have not been announced by automakers. Again, it's a prediction, which involves educated guesses, statistical analysis and perhaps even some voodoo magic. Baum wrapped up this round of forecasting by predicting that advanced technology vehicles could account for as much as five percent of annual sales in the U.S. by 2015. That amounts to nearly one million hybrids and EVs sold per year. We sure hope he's right.

[Source: Hybrid Cars]

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