A new study finds that automakers will be changing direction when it comes to vehicle electrification – less focus on electric vehicles and more emphasis on hybrids. Industry consultant Dr. Menahem Anderman interviewed automakers and battery makers and is forecasting electric vehicles, plug in hybrid electric vehicles and hybrids will see growth through 2020, with hybrids taking the lion's share.

The report is forecasting that global EV sales will grow from 65,000 units in 2012 to 450,000 in 2020, PHEVs will sell 57,000 units in 2012 and 750,000 in 2020 and regular gas-electric hybrids will reach 1.57 million units in 2012 and about 4.1 million in 2020.

Lithium ion batteries will power the electrification for all three categories. Anderman's xEV Industry Insider Report says that the li-ion automotive battery business will skyrocket from $1.4 billion in 2012 sales to $8.5 billion in 2020.

Heavy subsidies by governments and automakers haven't helped EV sales get to where they were expected to be in 2012, while hybrid sales are more in line with industry estimates. The future doesn't look all that much brighter. The report projects that EVs and PHEVs will only make up 0.6 percent of anticipated 2016 vehicle sales. Anderman expects opportunities to emerge for hybrid batteries and vehicles through various functionalities, voltages, power levels and energy-storage capacities.

The short version of the problem is that, the higher the level of electrification, the more problematic the cost/performance ratio of the vehicles. This explains weak customer demand, the report says. Right now, government policies are having a critical impact on electrification, especially from California's Zero Emission Vehicle regulation, Europe's tailpipe CO2 regulation, and China's "new energy vehicle" rules.

Dr. Anderman's report is based on on-site interviews with senior battery technologists and business development executives at 15 global automakers and 25 of their current and prospective battery suppliers. Anderman consults with automakers, battery companies and related stakeholders regularly in his role as founder and chairman of the Advanced Automotive Battery Conference. The 13th annual conference is scheduled to start February 4, 2013, in Pasadena, CA.

While business looks bright for li-ion battery makers, a shake-out is expected soon with a smaller number of players left standing. Strategy consultancy Roland Berger updated his 2010 report in October on the li-ion business, warning that only six to eight global players in the rechargeable battery business would survive through 2017. The updated version of the report states that the process of consolidation in the li-ion battery market is progressing even faster than initially expected.


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  • 42 Comments
      Marcopolo
      • 2 Years Ago
      Why do all these pundits assume that technology will stand still ? Dr. Menahem Anderman's concept that the current lithium-ion battery, or any rechargeable battery, has reached it ultimate level of development, is absurd. Although, he maybe right ! Lithium technology may already be superseded, but to assume that the future of EV technology is inextricably bound to only ever using li-ion batteries, is even more absurd.
        EZEE
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Marcopolo
        Hey Marco When looking at batteries from a chemical standpoint, one can do math and figure out the 'ultimate efficiencies' of chemicals over the long term, so IF he has done this (big if) then they may have a good idea of how good a lithium battery might be, when factoring in potential improvements. That said.... I keep hoping that ANY of these new batteries, be it the Toyota battery, the IBM battery, etc., that have all potential one day go from potential, to usable technology.
      • 2 Years Ago
      "Leading the lambs to slaughter!" - Same as predicting the demise of battery powered electric cars before everyone (the general population) actually has the opportunity to drive them and evaluate their utility. Shame on all of us. Place humanity before politics. Before denouncing battery-only powered electric vehicles and supporting the uninitiated pundits, we should take a moment to try the technology and reflect on the importance of Electric Powered Vehicles on our nation's history - and our daily lives (i.e.; the forklifts that move our cherished groceries/commodities, the carts that bring us around all 18 holes, and the Security personnel that depend on small EVs to make their rounds.) . EVs will last way into the future. JS.
      SVX pearlie
      • 2 Years Ago
      @Jake: Your example went from 2900 to 3400 in 2 years, for a +17% increase in volumetric efficiency / storage density. Being generous, we might call it a +20% improvement. The 555 project says 2017 battery will be 5x better. In the next 3 years, that 3400 mAh cell needs to go from 14,500 mAh at no additional cost. Do you realistically see that happening?
      JakeY
      • 2 Years Ago
      @SVX pearlie Not possible using standard lithium ion (that goal exceeds the chemistry). It IS possible using lithium air or lithium sulfur. But those chemistries have their own problems (cycle life and power). If they focus their attention on solving those problems and make a commercially viable lithium air or lithium sulfur battery, then it's possible. Although such a battery will likely need ultra-capacitors or high power batteries as a buffer (a "hybrid" battery).
      Roy_H
      • 2 Years Ago
      I'm with everybody else here. Focusing on hybrids and having more hybrids than pure EVs is what is happening now. Auto manufacturers do not have to shift direction to accomplish this. Low cost mild hybrid with stop/start technology will become standard equipment in a few years, so if you want to claim a change in direction, it is from ordinary ICEs to hybrids. EVs will continue to grow, but will not be a major player until they become cost competitive. It doesn't take Einstein to figure this out. Battery breakthroughs are happening, 5 years seems about right.
      Ford Future
      • 2 Years Ago
      At least Thorium in the short term.
      Rotation
      • 2 Years Ago
      All I can say is you rarely exceed your goals, so I guess you gotta aim high.
      lad
      • 2 Years Ago
      The DOE's newly formed battery research project, the "5,5,5, Project," has 5 years to develop a 5 times more dense, 5 times lighter, cheaper battery. As much as I would like to have an improved, upgraded battery in my Leaf, I don't think Nissan will be able to offer one anytime soon. If they could build a sub-thirty thousand dollar car that would do 65 mph for 100 miles, they could have a waiting list.
        Spec
        • 2 Years Ago
        @lad
        They've also been working on nuclear fusion since the 1950's. I hope they make some break-thoughs but just because you do research is not guarantee of a bit break-through.
        SVX pearlie
        • 2 Years Ago
        @lad
        5x the energy storage density due to cutting 80% of the weight out, at no additional cost in 5 years? Sorry, but what is DOE smoking?
      Thereminator
      • 2 Years Ago
      Ware would we be without beard scratching douche bag wizards telling us what to think? After all,their comprehensive understanding is only surpassed by their personal integrity and respect for our intelligence...right?
        gpmp
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Thereminator
        Ware indeed!
        EZEE
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Thereminator
        I am a rocket scientist and I have no idea what you are talking about. Of course, the last rocket blew up, so maybe I am not the brightest rocket scientist out there, but wtf? Ware, indeed....
          EZEE
          • 2 Years Ago
          @EZEE
          Well okay then
          Thereminator
          • 2 Years Ago
          @EZEE
          I was being sarcastic about how people(in general) create and worship authority figures. Anderman is a physical chemist turned financial battery guru.He has the ears of many financial institutions,auto executives,and beyond stating the obvious(ongoing shakedown we've known about for months),he cannot possibly extrapolate future EV demand based on present trends.His emphasis on the present cost/performance ratio without regard to possible battery innovation(or other variables)when making predictions indicates that he serves Wall Street more than any other group. His reports carry allot of weight and his assumptions will hurt potential EV investment.He's the Anti Elon Musk,if you will.I have no idea why a astrophysicist would necessarily know much about behaviorism.
      Spec
      • 2 Years Ago
      So someone looked at sales charges and drew some straight line projections. Thank you Dr. Obvious researcher.
      Grendal
      • 2 Years Ago
      Yes. Batteries are expensive. And they gave you a doctorate to come to that conclusion? I'm glad an expert is telling us these things.
        Ford Future
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Grendal
        And hybrids will sell more, as the Prius does, then plug-in hybrids like the CMax Energy, and the Volt, then the Pure EV's. Unless Nissan drives down the price to match a hybrid, which it looks like it's going to try.
          Ford Future
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Ford Future
          And no government emissions testing or paperwork.
          EZEE
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Ford Future
          Actually, the Prius C is pretty close already. Yes, it is more than a Honda Fit or Ford Fiesta, but not that much more. It is much less daunting to look at $19k for a small car, opposed to $25k for a C class car, or $30k for a mid size. Would LOVE to see hybrid competition in the Prius C class. Having a Ford and Nissan option out there would be most cool, or, cooler yet, shrink the Volt drive and maybe shove that into a sonic and charge $25k? Giddy up.
          Spec
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Ford Future
          "Unless Nissan drives down the price to match a hybrid" It just seems like if they can get battery prices down a bit more, they could at least get closer. If you go pure EV, you can get rid of the gas tank, fuel system, ignition system, big radiator, engine block, exhaust system, and transmission. But I guess all those ICE parts are dirt cheap since they are manufactured in such mass quantities.
      SVX pearlie
      • 2 Years Ago
      Do you believe we'll see a breakthrough in either chemistry within the next 3 years? Looking back, I think it was roughly 2000 when we were at 1700-1850 mAh for hobby applications. Doubling in 10 years isn't that impressive. Had the 555 rule held, we'd be at 9000 mAh by 2006, then 45000mAh today. That is why I express skepticism at the 555 project. It is looking for a step change that hasn't been seen. That said if it is possible, that would be great.
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