Like resolutions and watered down drinks, the coming of the New Year is the time for industry predictions, and tech-research firm Pike Research didn't disappoint when it comes to what it says is in store for the electric-drive vehicle market for 2013.

With more than 200,000 plug-ins estimated to be sold globally next year, Pike made 10 predictions for 2013. Top of the list? That investment funds will flow from makers of battery packs to makers of battery components, that North American electric-bike sales will jump more than 50 percent and that automakers will start using 48-volt batteries for their cars' start-stop systems.

There are more predictions, some safer than others. Pike says global hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle sales will more than double to more than 3,400 units in 2013, while the strategy of leasing out electric-vehicle batteries instead of selling them outright to the customer (used by Renault and Smart in some markets) will spread to other automakers. Germany will play catch-up in terms of electric-drive sales, more companies will invest in coasting technology, the debate between proponents of fast vs. standard vehicle-charging stations will continue, European countries will collaborate on communicating where charging stations are throughout the continent and the glut in natural gas will hurt demand for plug-in trucks.

We're pretty sure sales figures will continue to climb in 2013, just as they did in 2012 compared to 2011. Through November of this year, automakers sold more than 43,000 plug-in vehicles in the US, almost three times as many as 2011. Where do you think we're headed?


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 50 Comments
      DaveMart
      • 2 Years Ago
      Anyone know how they are going to engineer enough safety into 48volt systems?
        SVX pearlie
        • 2 Years Ago
        @DaveMart
        48V is same as POTS telephone wiring. Not a big deal.
        Peter
        • 2 Years Ago
        @DaveMart
        There is 360 V in a volt, 220 V in your house (or 110), and 48 V in an e bike, and you wonder if we can find the technology to make stop start at that voltage safe?
          DaveMart
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Peter
          Yeah. You don't think people should ask for information on things that they are unclear about? You must be very clever and knowledgeable - or very, very dim. Back to adult discussion, and the high voltage system in the Volt uses and entirely different circuit to the 12v starter battery, partly so that the far more dangerous high voltage system is only touched under garage conditions by qualified people. How things are done on an e-bike is precisely the sort of information I do not have, and hence was asking for sensible input on.
          SVX pearlie
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Peter
          If I can run 0.5A across someone's heart, I can kill them. Whether that's from a 48V pack, a 120V line, or 480V mains, it's just a question of running enough current across someone's heart, given the relatively high amount of resistance dry skin provides. As always, it's not the voltage per se, it's the current.
          Peter
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Peter
          Hi Dave Your ad hominem attack was uncalled for. I am merely saying the obvious that dielectric tape will protect you from 48V. After all even mains current is uncomfortable (have you never experienced it?), but is unlikely to kill you unless you are in a bathtub of water. I personally don't see an issue at all at 48 Volts although I grant that "safety" is a relative concept and not an absolute one
          SVX pearlie
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Peter
          @raktm: "since it is twice as many volts as a 12 volt system, that it must be twice as dangerous" Actually, that's true. The thing is, 12V is basically not dangerous at all, and being twice as dangerous as "not dangerous at all" is still "not dangerous".
          DaveMart
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Peter
          I responded to a snotty and rather ridiculous post, which seemed to suggest that anyone seeking help to be better informed should already know everything, on all subjects. As far as I can tell you are saying that in bikes they wrap it in tape. Unlike perhaps in bikes, where safety regulations may have a lighter footprint, I would have imagined that in cars specific measures would have to be taken to ensure safety and compensate for the presumably greater risk of severe injury in a 48volt system compared to 12 volt.
          raktmn
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Peter
          I think you are missing the bigger point. Which is that you are highly over-estimating the dangers of 48V vs 12V when you imply that there would be any real issues with "engineering enough safety". 24V systems are very common in military, OTR trucking, industrial, construction, etc. People who have never worked with it might think that since it is twice as many volts as a 12 volt system, that it must be twice as dangerous. It isn't. There are no scary safety procedures you have to follow, no special safety gear. Much of everything is exactly the same. Cars started with 6Volt batteries, making 24Volt systems 4 times the Voltage. Yet no real additional safety measures are required going between working on an old 6V car and a 24V truck. The real question should be, what is the source of your irrational fear of the safety of 48V batteries compared to the 24V batteries that have been used in heavy trucks for decades?
          raktmn
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Peter
          PS -- You can go down to Home Depot and buy yourself a 40V battery powered lawn mower, a 40V battery chain-saw, a 40V battery edge trimmer, etc. Nobody is freaking out and wondering where they can buy a set of rubber linesman gloves in order to safely operate these perfectly safe consumer tools. To charge your 40V tool, you grab the battery, pull it out, and put it into a charger. You don't have to do anything different at all.
      SVX pearlie
      • 2 Years Ago
      ELR sales are hard to project, but the fact that it's leveraging proven Volt mechanicals and components means that it won't lose money. I'd guess a $48k MSRP (before State/Fed credits/rebates) for 5k-10k sales volume.
      EVdriver
      • 2 Years Ago
      "Pike says global hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle sales will more than double to more than 3,400 units in 2013" BS. As far as I know 2 * ZERO is still 0 not 3400. Smoke and mirrors concepts and leasing like tricks are not sales.
        Dave
        • 2 Years Ago
        @EVdriver
        From the source article: "In 2011, this cadre of FCV believers was committed to commercializing the technology by 2014 or 2015 and 2013 will see the first low-volume series production rollouts from Hyundai, Daimler, and Toyota. However, the majority of these vehicles will not reach consumers’ hands. They will be deployed through agreements with fleets and made available to qualified participants in public trials."
        SVX pearlie
        • 2 Years Ago
        @EVdriver
        Leases are sold to the leasing company.
          raktmn
          • 2 Years Ago
          @SVX pearlie
          Not when the manufacturer is the leasing company, and the lease does not have a purchase option at the end of the lease. The manufacturer never sells the car to a third party, and always maintains ownership. I believe that is the kind of leases he's talking about, since these are the only leases you can get for fuel cell vehicles. Just like the "lease" on MiniE's. BMW never sold those vehicles to a leasing company, and never reported these as sales in their overall sales numbers.
          SVX pearlie
          • 2 Years Ago
          @SVX pearlie
          Oh. I thought he was referring to things like the current Leaf / Volt leases.
        JakeY
        • 2 Years Ago
        @EVdriver
        They should have said fuel-cell vehicle "production," then there's less issue with the numbers (although I question if 1700 fuel-cell vehicles have been produced this year, even counting all fleets).
          Dave
          • 2 Years Ago
          @JakeY
          Pike predicted: "More than 3,400 Fuel Cell Vehicles Hit the Road" ABG / Danny King wrote "Pike says global hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle sales will more than double to more than 3,400 units in 2013...." I am curious about the 1700 number as well. Its worth noting that, judging from the graph, about 1200 of those fuel cell vehicles "hit the road" in Asia, ~200 in Europe, and ~300 in North America. So its no surprise that people on this board are not seeing it happen.
          JakeY
          • 2 Years Ago
          @JakeY
          @Dave Even the ~300 in North America is off by a lot. The Clarity is leased at only a couple a year (they leased only 5 this year) and the only major FCV releases this year was: 1) the ix35, which hasn't even officially launched in the US. 2) the F-cell, which was announced for leasing in 2010, but only started deliveries this year (with 35 signed up out of the 70 vehicles allocated to the US). http://www.emercedesbenz.com/autos/mercedes-benz/b-class/mercedes-benz-b-class-f-cell-popular-with-celebrities/ And speaking of the ix35, Hyundai only plans to deliver 1000 between now and 2015. The F-cell has 500 units planned for worldwide production. So I don't know where the 1700 worldwide number is coming from for this year (unless they are counting cars that haven't even been produced yet, like maybe counting unfulfilled fleet orders).
          Dave
          • 2 Years Ago
          @JakeY
          Don't forget about buses and class 8 trucks Vision and Balquon for instance.
          Dave
          • 2 Years Ago
          @JakeY
          300 still seems high, but we really don't know how many conversions are being perfomed at various universities and technology companies around north america. Packaged fuel cell stacks are readily available from Ballard and Hydrogenics, among others.
      Dave
      • 1 Year Ago
      "Hawaii Volcanoes National Park expects to begin using two hybrid battery/hydrogen-fueled visitor shuttles this spring. The hope is that the new system will help to relieve congestion along the park’s narrow, winding roads, while showing that such a task can be completed using climate-friendly technologies, said Cindy Orlando, the park superintendent." The vehicles are 35 feet long and 8 feet wide, capable of carrying 20-25 passengers apiece. http://hawaiitribune-herald.com/sections/news/local-news/hydrogen-buses-debut.html
      Dave
      • 2 Years Ago
      I don't think public trials are sales either. I only posted the information because I think that EVDriver should actually read the source article before he starts calling BS on it.
      raktmn
      • 2 Years Ago
      I don't consider public trials to be sales anymore than I consider the MiniE trials in the US to have been sales. That is just extended product testing.
      Giza Plateau
      • 2 Years Ago
      An EV could still be much more than they are now and the prices are still too high but there seems to be enough plugin models on the market now and awareness that numbers will probably keep climbing in formulaic fashion. I'd guess the Leaf will drop to 29799$ Fisker, Tesla, Coda and Better Place will declare bankruptcy Charge standards will remain messy HFC sales will remain at approximately 0 Hopefully a wildcard will come along
        Ziv
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Giza Plateau
        I don't know about most of your predictions odds. Sure, Fisker, Coda and Better Place are dead men walking, but Tesla looks to be gaining momentum and their rabid supporters won't hurt their chances. It really comes down to where the Volt (not a BEV like Giza was talking about, but well worth including) and the Leaf are priced this fall. If the price of both of them comes down another $2,000 they will continue to see relatively strong sales in the US and Canada. If Ford hadn't overstated the Fusion/C-Max Hybrid mpg, I would have said the the Energi's would add a good bit of heat to the fire, but now the Energi's will sell a bit slower at first. I doubt the ELR will sell or lease more than 10,000 its first year, but it will give GM a nice halo vehicle. HFC vehicles will probably sell in the dozens in 2014 and possibly in the hundreds by 2016, but I doubt there will ever be a year in which more than a thousand are actually sold. There may be a year in which that many are leased ala the EV1, at an artificially low price, but by 2020 when the HFC vehicles will finally, probably, be reasonably affordable, BEV's will be so much better than they are now that there will be no reason to fool with building a hydrogen infrastructure. Interesting days.
        SVX pearlie
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Giza Plateau
        If you go to Autotrader or any other national aggregator, basically all of the Nissan Leaf are $38k models. You really think Nissan is going to cut $8k from the current price?
        Ziv
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Giza Plateau
        After saying I didn't know the odds of most of Giza's predictions coming to fruition, it struck me that I agreed with most of them. I doubt that the Leaf will see an msrp below $30k too soon, but Giza is right about plug-in numbers climbing, Fisker, Coda, Better Place being on the road to bankruptcy and on HFC vehicle sales approaching zero and charging standards staying a mess, I would bet. But, way to pay attention to the post you 'disagree' with, self...
      EZEE
      • 2 Years Ago
      'hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle sales will more than double to more than 3,400 units in 2013' In other news, 4 billion ICE and gasoline electric hybrids will be sold in 2013...
        Dave
        • 2 Years Ago
        @EZEE
        Yup. By serious automaker standards, 3,400 units is still just a test fleet. FCVs and BEVs have a long way to go. Even without the battery, a litlle crapbox like the Nissan Leaf would cost at least ~$22,000 ($35,000 - 24 x $550). So, batteries and fuel cells need to be practically free to compete with hybrids like the Prius.
          Dave
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Dave
          "The 2012 Fuel Cell Patent Review is the second in Fuel Cell Today's series of reports on fuel cell patent activity. It analyses both granted patents and patent applications published in 2011, by comparison with publications in 2010. The number of granted fuel cell patents increased by 51% between 2010 and 2011, a significantly higher increase than that for overall granted patents worldwide. Fuel cell patent applications also continue to grow, with a 58% increase in 2011 versus 2010. This was also considerably more growth than was seen for total worldwide applications" http://www.fuelcelltoday.com/analysis/patents/2012/2012-fuel-cell-patent-review
          Turbo Froggy
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Dave
          Here is the 10 year TCO of Leaf vs Prius V: http://www.pluginamerica.org/drivers-seat/why-plug-vehicles-are-so-inexpensive Summary after 10 years: Leaf $38,430, Prius V $51,359.
          raktmn
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Dave
          More patents is not a positive for any industry. Software patents and Intellectual Property is killing the software industry. It makes it nearly impossible for a small company to build anything at all without getting snagged up in IP traps. The only way to build software now is to own a huge enough book of patents that if anyone threatens you with a patent violation, you can threaten them back. All these patents by company after company that aren't actually selling anything will just make it harder for anyone to start sales without getting tied up in lawsuits trying to hold each other back. If you are 18 months behind your competition on going to market, sue them over IP and get a restraining order and hold them out of the market until you are ready. Dirty, but legal, and it is happening all the time now. It's like Apple's patent on a rectangular device with rounded corners. All the IP legal tricks are ruining competition and stifling innovation. This is really bad news for fuel cells.
          Turbo Froggy
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Dave
          I do not agree that the Leaf does not compete with the Prius. It is already possible to buy a Leaf for less than a Prius here in Washington State. (Due to no sales tax on BEVs + $7500 fed rebate). Plus the cost per mile for a Leaf is 1/2 the cost per mile of a Prius.
          Dave
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Dave
          They are making progress, though: "A research group at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has developed a relatively simple, fast and effective method of depositing uniform, ultrathin layers of platinum atoms on a surface." http://www.nist.gov/mml/msed/platinum-121212.cfm
          JakeY
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Dave
          @raktmn I'm hoping the auto world would be less sue-happy than the software world. At the very least they have not been suing for similar designs (there's lots of cars copying design cues from each other nowadays). And I think hardware patents tend to be more specific/valid than software patents (many of which tend to be overly board, have plenty of prior art, or never should have been granted in the first place).
        DaveMart
        • 2 Years Ago
        @EZEE
        Unless they have opened up a new export market on Mars, then sales of ICE will be more like 80 million in 2013
          EZEE
          • 2 Years Ago
          @DaveMart
          It was a humorous exaggeration. Looking at the total number of vehicles sold, the 'great news' of doubling, when that means 3,400 units...doesn't exactly have my pants on fire.
          EZEE
          • 2 Years Ago
          @DaveMart
          :D
          DaveMart
          • 2 Years Ago
          @DaveMart
          So, EZEE, you started life at 6 foot tall, did you? :-)
      SVX pearlie
      • 2 Years Ago
      The ELR is smaller than the CTS, slightly under ATS in size. So you should use ATS as your reference vehicle for ELR comparisons.
      Rob Mahrt
      • 2 Years Ago
      A Cadillac CTS Coup starts at $39k, while a premium AWD has an average price of $49k. Obviously we don't know any of the options that will be available, or even what the performance numbers will be, but I would be very surprised is you will be able to pick up a PEV Cadillac for $48k MSRP. I hope I am happily surprised to find I am dead wrong. The lowest Volt MSRP is $15k over the price of the next highest Chevy car. That would put the lowest possible price of the ELR at $54k, I would assume the opening MSPR will be $59,900.
      SVX pearlie
      • 2 Years Ago
      These predictions aren't such big news. I'm somewhat surprised it's news at all. What I don't get is the lack of words on the pending explosion in USDM Plug-ins for 2013. We're going to see easily 30-40k Volt, plus 15+k Ford, plus 15+k PIP, plus ELR, plus 10k Leaf, Spark EV, etc. etc. USDM Market volume should be well in excess of 75k, and 100k plug-ins are very possible. That should be far bigger news than the discussion of FCVs or E-bikes.
        Spec
        • 2 Years Ago
        @SVX pearlie
        I think you are a big over-optimistic on Volt unless they can slash the price. But the rest sound doable. The Leaf could surprise us all if they cut the price.
          SVX pearlie
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Spec
          @Ziv, GM has demonstrated production volume of 1,000+ Volt per week, so they can easily built 50k cars at Hamtramck: - 35k Volt - 10k Ampera - 5k ELR The catch is that global demand this time next year probably looks more like this: - 40k Volt - 20k Ampera - 10k ELR If GM want to move to a 70k annual rate, Hamtramck is going to need OT or second shift sooner rather than later. It's going to be a nice problem for GM to sort out. Now why GM isn't pushing Volt production harder, I just don't know. I am suspecting an issue somewhere in supply chain.
          SVX pearlie
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Spec
          The Volt sold 2800-2900 for 3 straight months (Aug-Oct) for a solid 35k annual rate. If we look at annuallized rates based on the last 3-6 months: = 29.3k annually from last 3 months = 29.3k annually from last 4 months = 27.5k annually from last 6 months Based on car sales to date, 30k is a pretty safe lower bound given that last month was clearly supply constrained. If we look at likely year-over-year growth, 2012 should see no fewer than 22.5k cars sold, for a 15k growth over 2011. Linear growth projects to 37.5k cars for 2013. If we look at the exponential 3x growth from 2011 to 2012, then that would be suggest 65k cars for 2013. I think that's a far upper bound, and I'm not Ghosn, so I'm not comfortable throwing numbers like that on the board. Throwing out the 65k high and the 30k low gives 32.5k & 37.5k Volt for 2013, so 30k to 40k gives me a little wiggle room and a floor that is unthinkable to go below based on sales growth and strong word of mouth.
          Ziv
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Spec
          And yet GM refuses to build enough Volts to allow most of the the dealers to have a couple demos. Total Volt inventory in the US including the Volts in transit to the dealer is just 4089. There are 2200 Chevy dealers. And 25,000 Camaros in inventory. I think GM will sell/lease 30-40,000 Volts next year but they will only hit the higher end of the production curve if they reduce the MSRP to $37,000, or so.
      BipDBo
      • 2 Years Ago
      This is my alt fuel vehicle. It can go up to 60 mph without any gas or electricity. http://www.windsport.com/videos_display/video:7040/Luderitz-Speed-Challenge-2012---Part-2 Granted, I have not personally quite reached that speed.
        raktmn
        • 2 Years Ago
        @BipDBo
        It also rarely works for commuting. Except for every once in a while in New Orleans, New Jersey, and lower New York City... =) (still too early?)
          BipDBo
          • 2 Years Ago
          @raktmn
          I'm from Forida, so I've had to get to school / work by boat before.
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