A little over a week ago, J.D. Power released the results of its report called "Drive Green 2020: More Hope than Reality." The outlook for green cars, according to the report, isn't all that bright. J.D. Power forecasts that a scant 100,000 electric vehicles (EVs) will be sold in the next ten years. Well, as we should all know by now, one study is often contradicted by the next.
To get a contrasting view of the market, PluginCars contacted Oliver Hazimeh, director of the global e-Mobility practice at PRTM, a global management consulting firm. PRTM predicts that U.S. sales of plug-in vehicles will capture ten percent of the market, or roughly one million sales per year, by 2020. That's ten times more than J.D. Power forecasts.
Hazimeh, in speaking with PluginCars' Brad Berman, outlined five factors that he believes will jump start sales of EVs.
- Economics of scale on battery production reducing the cost of batteries by 50 percent in just a few years.
- Electric cars benefiting from consumer understanding and adoption of conventional hybrids. "Prius has greased the skids," Hazimeh said. "We're not starting from scratch."
- Automakers marketing EVs more aggressively than hybrids were marketed. Hybrids were barely advertised in the early years. By contrast, as we've already seen, automakers are putting big ad dollars behind their electric cars.
- In addition, the marketing messages will shift to appeal to much wider consumer base. "It goes beyond green," Oliver said. "These are smart cars. They will be connected cars. They have a high-tech flair to it. So I think they will appeal to a broad audience, more than just about green."
- There will be greater consumer choice for grid-connected vehicles than there have been for hybrids. The Prius still outsells all other hybrids combined. Expect a wider and more competitive field for EVs.
On top of the ten percent of the 2020 market PRTM sees for plug-ins, the consulting firm also believes sales of conventional hybrids will grow to 20 percent by then. This means that PRTM ambitiously forecasts that sales of hybrids and plug-ins will make up nearly a third of new car sales by 2020.Trying to avoid being stuck in history, and think about other factors that need to be considered going forward-climate change, variability on oil price, and thinking about how much money is flowing into the space for battery technology, etc.