According to the 2012 U.S. Automotive Industry Survey and Confidence Index by Booz & Co., alternative vehicle powertrains may take up as much as 10 percent of the total market by 2020, but only if the federal government continues to support development.

Without a helping hand from Uncle Sam, only 30 percent of the researchers, executives and consumers who participated in the survey believe alternative-fuel machines will be able to carve out that small slice of the market. Specifically, federal tax incentives for potential buyers could help push the technology forward in the future.

According to Wards Auto, further development faces a double hurdle. First, additional urban planning is required to demonstrate plug-in hybrids and EVs will be viable options for buyers, but at the same time, government agencies also need to see fuel cell and battery costs come down before being willing to pony up for chargers or incentives.

Even so, 70 percent of those surveyed said they were more confident about future hybrid demand than they were in 2011. Take a look at the full survey results here.


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  • 72 Comments
      drivein62
      • 3 Years Ago
      I read that only 35% of EV/Hybrid buyers intend to buy an alt vehicle the next time around. Take away taxpayer subsidies and that would only make matters worse. It is pointless to push vehicles out that are unmarketable as currently designed and priced. Electric vehicles are no better an idea than they were 100 years ago.
        Joeviocoe
        • 3 Years Ago
        @drivein62
        Where did you read that? Source please.
          Dave
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Joeviocoe
          It was right here. And you read it too. http://green.autoblog.com/2012/04/09/one-and-done-study-says-most-hybrid-drivers-dont-buy-another/
      • 3 Years Ago
      That is an incorrect / incomplete statement of the problem that we are trying to solve. Our entire petroleum based transportation industry IS UNSUSTAINABLE, and will require both government and private investment in many forms to transition to something that IS SUSTAINABLE.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Confidence dont make my car payment and if I have to subsidize other peoples choices I got even less money.Thanks for nothing green people.
        Joeviocoe
        • 3 Years Ago
        How confident are you that gasoline prices will be affordable this summer? How about next summer? Ignorance dont make my car payments and if I have to subsidize other peoples addiction to oil I got even less money. Thanks for nothing gasoline addicts.
      • 3 Years Ago
      A very surprising trend is emerging now:about the sustainability without government issue i.e. government R&D being replaced by easier to acquire private equity. "As Governments Exit, Private Investors Return to Cleantech" (Forbes) http://www.forbes.com/sites/pikeresearch/2012/05/25/as-governments-exit-private-investors-return-to-cleantech/ Excerpts: • At the start of the year we forecast that one of the big trends in 2012 would be the return of the private equity markets to the fuel cell and hydrogen industry.  In fact, this trend has been far larger and is now having an impact on the entire cleantech sector. • The last week has seen an announcement from Goldman Sachs that it plans to invest a $40 billion fund in clean energy... • The Pangaea Ventures Fund will also be targeted at energy storage, energy efficiency technology and energy generation.  In Europe, the United Kingdom’s $5 billion bet, the Green Investment Bank, became a commercial reality... • Series A funding is likely to remain the largest hurdle for cleantech companies, with more and more emphasis being placed on commercial viability of the product, rather than on a concept.  But once through that gate the pool of available investment is growing and the number of companies investing larger. • So what has changed to bring investors back into the sector?  The clear major shift in the last twelve months has been the exit from the market in many countries of government based intervention.  The second factor is the increased number of technologies that now fit into a standard private equity model of a five-year exit strategy.  Fuel cells, wind, and biopower, as well as a range of energy efficiency technologies, now all are strong enough markets to sustain the traditional investment and exit model. So much about the alt fuel cars unsustainable without government assistance topic.
      Timo
      • 3 Years Ago
      "Europe" is not society. It is collection of societies. Wide variety of cultures here. If some country here goes bankrupt it doesn't mean that entire Europe follows.
      Marco Polo
      • 3 Years Ago
      @ 2 Wheeled Menace "In this country we actually have somewhat of a say as to where the money we pay in taxes goes" ? Yeah, sure, of course you do ! When was the last time the US Secretary of the Treasury asked your opinion ? He's not even an elected official ! Actually, the Westminster system, is far more responsive since the the "Treasurer ' is an elected member of Parliament and can be interrogated every day by opposing MP's as to his conduct, decisions, and policies. In exactly what way does the US system of government deliver a 'freer' way of life than other parliamentary democracies ? In your indignation, you missed the point of my post. In every democratic country, the citizen has an opportunity to vote on how government spends money, but only in the US is there a movement to prevent the government spending money per se, on ideological grounds. "You might not get it because you have less of a choice and have not been used to having one" The ignorance and arrogance of some Americans about other nations is astonishing ! The Swiss for instance, undertake nearly all major decision by referendum ! Freedom ? The US imprisons the highest per capita number of it's citizens in the developed world The US also executes the highest number ! ( next to PRC). Let's not even start on Guantanamo Bay !! In exactly what way does the US provide more freedom of choice for it's citizens than it's most similar neighbours say, Canada or Australia, or any other modern democracy ? Normally, I defend the US against those who attack the US for the wrong reasons, and I admire American achievements. But clinging to a weird 18th century concept of economic ideology is absurd !
      • 3 Years Ago
      " additional urban planning is required to demonstrate plug-in hybrids and EVs will be viable options for buyers" This is reasonable. I foresee in the near future that we will limit our use of these vehicles to a specified 'urban layout' that have recharging stations. Your primary destination may be the children's school. That will be designated as Locale # !,and will require 4 kwh to reach. Next maybe, the corner store,a shorter distance,and will be Locale # 2 ,it may require only 3 kwhs to reach . Perhaps, your work is a somewhat longer distance,Locale # 3 may require 5 kwhs. And so on. With proper urban planning, an environmentally concerned citizen should be able to map out at least 9 Locales with little trouble. A prudent man such as myself, I'm an excellent driver, could conceivably map out 18 Locales. This would be enough to take care of any family's needs . It is doable. All it takes is effort and desire to save the planet, so our children can also enjoy the beauty of an eagle.
      Smurf
      • 3 Years Ago
      That's kind of the idea...... Help the industry get started, so it can stand on its own, thus accelerating plug-in development by a few years. The plug-in tax credit is still in its early stages. Let this tax credit run its course until it expires and it will have the same success as the hybrid tax credit. Hybrids were not profitable in the first couple years of the hybrid tax credit, but they are profitable 10 years later with no tax credit. The exact same claim was made about hybrids not being able to survive without the tax credit, but they were wrong.... The same thing will happen with the plug-in tax credit, "if we let it" run until the maximum number of vehicles is reached. At that time, plug-ins will be profitable without a tax credit, and the plug-in industry will have been accelerated by a couple of years... Let the plug-in tax credit run its course and do what it was designed to do...
      • 3 Years Ago
      A probably even more significant study - as it was presented at the DOE 2012 Hydrogen and Fuel Cells and Vehicle Technologies Programs Annual Merit Review meetings in Washington this week - says the following: Mid-project data from Oak Ridge study suggests hydrogen vehicles could have up to 70% market share by 2050 " ...achieving further technical success with the development of hydrogen vehicle technology resulting in lower costs. H2V technology success—which includes a sharp reduction in the fuel cell cost/kW and on-board storage, as well as a public hydrogen infrastructure—results in the H2V market share of around 70%, compared to around 30% with current baseline technology scenarios." So, even with the current baseline technology the hydrogen vehicle market share can reach 30% by 2050,, but with the appropriate progress it can be a pretty significant 70%. The study projected this using ORNL’s Market Acceptance of Advanced Automotive Technologies (MA3T) discrete choice model, with the baseline calibrated to the US Energy Information Administration’s Annual Energy Outlook (AEO) 2011 reference case. The model estimates sales of 40 vehicle technologies, including conventional and hybrid ICE, plug-in hybrids, natural gas vehicles, battery-electric vehicles, and a range of hydrogen vehicles. It analyzes 1,458 consumer segments, including region, area, driver, early adopter, at home and at work charging. http://www.greencarcongress.com/2012/05/greene-20120516.html#more Another interesting bit from the study: "An initial projection by the MA3T model for 2050, assuming successful development and cost reduction in cell fuel and battery technologies suggests that the fuel cell plug-in hybrid vehicle would have the highest probability of purchase." So, it seems, that fuel cell plug-in hybrid vehicles will have significantly higher market share than any other technology. Resources: AN023: Sensitivity Analysis of H2-Vehicles Market Prospects, Costs and Benefits (Dr. David Greene, DOE 2012 Merit Review). The presentations will be posted in several weeks on www.hydrogen.energy.gov.
        Joeviocoe
        • 3 Years Ago
        I say similarly negative things about BEVs when a "STUDY" makes predictions about the future. Bottom line, Hydrogen has some very powerful advocates in government and industry. And not because it is the future... but because it is the most profitable for parties involved. P.S. I actually love the idea of a PHEV Battery and Fuel Cell range extender. Truly emissions free (provided the sources are too).. and lowest cost without reliance on a single provider. Much less infrastructure needed since the vast majority of miles driven will be on grid electric power. I imagine that for longer trips, it won't be hard to pick up a replaceable tank of H2 at any highway convenient store. Better than battery swaps. :) The problem is just economics, it won't be a good enough investment to build an H2 infrastructure for drivers who only refuel when headed out of town a few times per year. So for a HFC-PHEV... the Oil/Gas companies would hate it and thus not fund/lobby for it. But H2 for HFC-PHEVs would need to be sold in different manner.
        Spec
        • 3 Years Ago
        "assuming successful development and cost reduction" Why not just assume that aliens land on the planet and give us all jetpacks to fly around with? That would be much more fun and just as scientific.
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Spec
          This quote is an excerpt from Green Car Congress' summary - titled: Mid-project data from Oak Ridge study suggests hydrogen vehicles could have up to 70% market share by 2050 - about the actual study (titled: AN023: Sensitivity Analysis of H2-Vehicles Market Prospects, Costs and Benefits (Dr. David Greene, DOE 2012 Merit Review). The actual study and presentations will be posted in several weeks on: www.hydrogen.energy.gov The quote (by Green Car Congress) in context: "The next step for Greene and his colleagues is to test sensitivity to consumers’ preferences, complete the experimental design and analyze the results. An initial projection by the MA3T model for 2050, assuming successful development and cost reduction in cell fuel and battery technologies suggests that the fuel cell plug-in hybrid vehicle would have the highest probability of purchase. The much lower battery cost implicit in that scenario would potentially lower fuel costs, Greene suggested, and save time by reducing trips to the hydrogen fuel station."
        skierpage
        • 3 Years Ago
        "suggests that the fuel cell plug-in hybrid vehicle would have the highest probability of purchase." Once you can plug in, you recharge at home for most trips. Most Volt owners go for long periods without fueling. So why would anyone want an *OCCASIONAL USE* range extender that costs more up front and dramatically less infrastructure? The only reason to is if gasoline becomes hugely expensive. Maybe the study assumes it will. Also, "The subsidies required for hydrogen (fuel+infrastructure) are estimated to be about $30 billion, depending on technology status." Good luck with that in the current economic climate.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @skierpage Yes, naturally the study factored in the oil prices too as key parameters: • H2V market success will vary with the price of oil, but technology advances are more important. • Given technological success, hydrogen vehicles appear to be competitive under a range of hydrogen prices. (In the excerpt from the study presented at the Review, Dr. Greene noted H2 prices ranging from $2.0/gallon of gasoline equivalent to $4.0; in a separate study presented at the Merit Review, Dr. Brian Bush of NREL computed a long-term (out to 2050) levelized delivered cost of hydrogen of $6/kg.) And some technological key parameters: • Fuel cell technology baseline of $60/kW FC system, $10/kWh storage; Fuel cell+ (fuel cell success) of $25/kW, on-board storage $5/kWh by 2050. • Plug-in vehicle baseline of $450/kWh through 2050; Bat+ of $150/kWh by 2050, Bat20yr+ = Bat+ achieved 20 years earlier. Answering your question, who would want an occasional use of range extender...? Simply almost everybody (if it's affordable) as range / recharging time are the primary complaints about BEVs, which seriously holds back the success of EVs. About the estimated cost of infrastructure ($30 billion) That's about 1/3 of the market value of Facebook (approx $106 billion) to spend through 40 years. It simply nothing for achieving a sustainable / clean future.
          • 3 Years Ago
          Sorry about the accidental double post below (it was the technology).
        Spec
        • 3 Years Ago
        Any report that says we will be using a high percentage of any new technology at some date long in the future (2050) is nothing but wild guesswork. Maybe it is good guess. Or maybe battery prices plummeted. Or maybe we are all driving on natural gas.
          EZEE
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Spec
          @spec That was shockingly good.
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Spec
          The study was made by Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) is a multiprogram science and technology national laboratory managed for the United States Department of Energy (DOE) by UT-Battelle. ORNL is the largest science and energy national laboratory in the Department of Energy system. http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oak_Ridge_National_Laboratory Mark Schaffer pointed out ABG should use academic sources, e.g. like Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL)
          Spec
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Spec
          @krisztiant Well . . . if H2 was so great then why can't I easily buy one today? Derp. Even before the arrival of the Volt and Leaf, I could still buy electric conversions, NEVs, the NMG, etc. Oh look, with a few sentences I raised an argument that makes these alleged "accepted scientific models" quite suspect. And as Mark Schaffer points out above, these "studies" are often paid for by interested parties and thus quite suspect.
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Spec
          Actually, this comprehensive study (so not report) is based on widely accepted scientific models (cited above) using reliable data + soon will be publicly available on the government's website. Calling it a "wild guesswork" simply makes no sense. Governments should exclusively use these kind of studies for making decisions about spending taxpayer's money.
        Timo
        • 3 Years Ago
        It will never be 70% because battery electric is far superior in passenger cars and that tech is here now, not in some distant future. It might have major slice of the cake in heavier vehicles though by the 2050.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Timo The study's primary purpose was Sensitivity Analysis of Market Prospects, Costs and Benefits, thus not to decide which technology is superior, but what is the probability of purchase by the almighty consumers. Purchase Probability of Individual Cunsumer Segments in 2050 (see the chart in the source link): "Hydrogen vehicles (H2V, including H2 ICE, fuel cell and fuel cell plug-in hybrid vehicles) could achieve a market share ranging from 30% to 70% in 2050." So, depending on various factors it can sweep from 30% to 70%. It also didn't phase out battery tech, rather considered its progress necessary. Among the other initial findings of the study is: "Low-cost batteries (Bat+) help all vehicles: H2Vs and PEVs as well as BEVs. The light duty vehicle market is big enough for both fuel cell and battery technologies to succeed." So, fuel cell and battery technology simply help each other, that's what should be acknowledged already.
          • 3 Years Ago
          Timo, Read my newer post above, about a surprising Forbes article today. Forbes says: "At the start of the year we forecast that one of the big trends in 2012 would be the return of the private equity markets to the fuel cell and hydrogen industry. In fact, this trend has been far larger and is now having an impact on the entire cleantech sector..."
          Timo
          • 3 Years Ago
          I'm just saying that 70% prediction is plain wrong. BEV is far superior not only for tech but as convenience, practicality and durability of the vehicle (and as it looks like, price). This "study" is just plain wrong in saying that FCV would sell as much as BEV will.
        Joeviocoe
        • 3 Years Ago
        Yes, although these are government labs... they still do get commissioned to make these studies. And researchers know that if they do not produce favorable results, they will stop being asked to do research. And even government bureaucrats know to keep the 'bosses' happy. Lobbying also plays a big part as to which 'technologies' get studied. And the Oil/Gas corporate lobby is VERY strong. ORNL and ANL have 'studied' hydrogen MUCH MUCH more than any other alternative fuel technology. Like Spec mentioned.... when you make predictions.. even if based on full knowledge of current markets... you CANNOT make predictions that far into the future. The world energy market is simply fill with too many assumptions and variations. Politics plays a big part... the further out into the future you try to predict.. the accuracy falls FAST. Chaos theory. The dynamics of the assumptions are too many. Predicting the price of oil alone 4 years from now will produce grossly inaccurate results... and oil prices (battery costs too) are the linchpin for any prediction for alternative fuel technology in 2050. Like it or not... Nostradamus is alive and well in research labs and firms. As long as people get paid to make predictions, they will keep making them. Not saying that Dr. Greene didn't do his homework... just that it was probably more important to just write a report than to be accurate. After all, it's not like Dr. Greene gives back his salary if he turns out to be wrong.
          Mark Schaffer
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Joeviocoe
          I suppose lackeys in private industry think everyone has low standards for ethics. Especially if you haven't worked around researchers with more integrity in their small fingers than Joe has in his entire body. Joe is incompetent to even make such overgeneralized comments that only show massive ignorance on his part.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @skierpage Yes, naturally the study factored in the oil prices too as key parameters: • H2V market success will vary with the price of oil, but technology advances are more important. • Given technological success, hydrogen vehicles appear to be competitive under a range of hydrogen prices. (In the excerpt from the study presented at the Review, Dr. Greene noted H2 prices ranging from $2.0/gallon of gasoline equivalent to $4.0; in a separate study presented at the Merit Review, Dr. Brian Bush of NREL computed a long-term (out to 2050) levelized delivered cost of hydrogen of $6/kg.) And some technological key parameters: • Fuel cell technology baseline of $60/kW FC system, $10/kWh storage; Fuel cell+ (fuel cell success) of $25/kW, on-board storage $5/kWh by 2050. • Plug-in vehicle baseline of $450/kWh through 2050; Bat+ of $150/kWh by 2050, Bat20yr+ = Bat+ achieved 20 years earlier. Answering your question, who would want an occasional use of range extender...? Simply almost everybody (if it's affordable) as range / recharging time are the primary complaints about BEVs, which seriously holds back the success of EVs. About the estimated cost of infrastructure ($30 billion) That's about 1/3 of the market value of Facebook (approx $106 billion) to spend through 40 years. It simply nothing for achieving a sustainable / clean future.
      winc06
      • 3 Years Ago
      GM and Chrysler going out of business would have killed their suppliers who also support Ford. Ford would have followed. All cars in the US at least are unsustainable without government support at least occasionally. All the foreign makers with plants in the US get tax breaks. Their workers are taxed by not being allowed to unionize. As for oil, ever wonder how much per gallon it costs for the Navy to patrol the Persian Gulf and the horn of Africa to protect those oil shipments? We know the cost of the Afghanistan war which could be said to exist only to protect that oil pipeline. Ever wonder about the continuing cost of the lost economic activity as a result of the Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska and the BP well blowout in the Gulf of Mexico? We subsidize it all now. How about reducing the subsidies on the things that hurt us and increasing the subsidies on the things that will make our lives better?
      marcopolo
      • 3 Years Ago
      To people living outside the US this sort of debate is baffling. Most advanced societies accept that Governments possess the right to enter the market both as a consumer, and investor, with tax incentives, subsidies, and grants, to encourage new technology, social behaviour, or anything else it deems beneficial for the public weal. If governments get it wrong, the voters will punish the government at the next election. Governments are 'hired' by citizens to manage the economy, and promote beneficial national development. Only in America does debate rage regarding the 'principle' of whether government can spend taxpayer funds as part of economic policy, ! The Oil industry is a huge US Taxpayer ! It's contribution to the US economy is greater than any other industry. Nearly all sectors of the US economy are dependant on the Oil industry. But, so what ? The Oil industry also creates it's fair share of problems, especially the Oil/Energy sector ! More importantly, the Oil industry is beginning to experience the first symptoms of Oil depletion, and increasing competition from US economic rivals. On economic grounds alone, ( environmental considerations aside) the US government has a duty to invest taxpayer funds to encourage the development of future alternate energy technologies, and prepare the US economy for a future when energy from fossil fuels is no longer economic. What's so hard to understand ? That's not socialism, or interfering in the market place. That's the government entering the market place as a consumer and investor. This has been a duty of government since the dawn of civilisation. As LTW points out, nobody objects to the government investing in roads ! So, where's all the fuss? Debate about what should or shouldn't be subsidised, is another matter. But opposition to the principle of a governments right to take economic measures on behalf of the commonweal, is almost uniquely American !
        2 Wheeled Menace
        • 3 Years Ago
        @marcopolo
        DERP, i meant to say Milford Friedman, not Freeman. No more posting before coffee..
        Clem Zahrobsky
        • 3 Years Ago
        @marcopolo
        the problem is that the taxpayers $$$ is going to political friends of the administration like "solindra" not to people who can get the job done. even after we do not need middle east oil do you think that if the arabs attack the jews our military will not be over there ???
        2 Wheeled Menace
        • 3 Years Ago
        @marcopolo
        In this country we actually have somewhat of a say as to where the money we pay in taxes goes. We escaped Europe ( or as Milford Freeman says, 'voted with our feet' ) because we wanted a more free way to live. You might not get it because you have less of a choice and have not been used to having one. Our government is pretty overgrown now compared to when we founded this country, but for us, we still have enough of a chance to dictate what our government spends their money on.. so yeah, you will hear plenty of debate.
        segesta
        • 3 Years Ago
        @marcopolo
        Which advanced societies would those be: Europe, which is finally going broke? Japan, which is dying because its citizens don't reproduce? China, which is a kleptocracy? I don't see much "advanced" thinking anywhere. And don't willfully confuse the government entering a market--say, to buy 10,000 office chairs or whatever--and its regulation of a market while in it.
        Marco Polo
        • 3 Years Ago
        @marcopolo
        @ segesta Europe is not 'going broke', some countries in the Euro-zone are in financial difficulties, but the majority are doing far better than the debt ridden US. Even the USA' nearest neighbour, Canada is a far more cohesive economy. Looked at the US dollar exchange rate with the Australian dollar recently ? Like all governments, the US federal government exist to 'regulate' the market. That's why the power is granted to the federal government by the US Constitution ! A society without regulation would be chaos ! Would you abolish the EPA, no regulation on pollution ? No health regulations? No road laws ? etc .. As long as the US federal government has responsibility for the US economy, and must accept the blame for economic failure, it must be equipped with the economic tools to implement economic policy and long term planning. You can't have it both way's ! Either the US rebuilds it's industrial base and develops a post-oil economy, or it will sink even further and become totally unable to compete economically with more dynamic economies.
      Letstakeawalk
      • 3 Years Ago
      "The world's first car club trial of hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles has been hailed a resounding success. Hyundai loaned Aberdeen's newly-established Commonwheels car club two of its left-hand-drive fuel cell vehicles ahead of the All-Energy Conference and energy storage clean fuel firm ITM Power provided a mobile hydrogen re-fuelling station HFuel to keep the cars running. More than 40 people drove the two Hyundai SUVs, which only emit water, during the high-profile four day trial in Aberdeen and Commonwheels saw a flurry of activity with the number of business and individuals enquiring about car club membership and signing up to it. The left-hand vehicles were refuelled 18 times in total during the Commonwheels trial, using hydrogen produced by an ITM Power mobile refuelling station at the Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre, using wind power and water, before the cars moved onto the All-Energy event." http://www.aberdeencity.gov.uk/CouncilNews/ci_cns/pr_hydrogen_240512.asp (ABG - please fix the tip button!)
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