Every single plug-in vehicle sold today represents about 15 by the end of the decade. That's essentially the calculation that Navigant Research (formerly Pike Research) has made, using all the prediction tools at its disposal. In short, Navigant says global annual plug-in vehicles will reach 3 million units by 2020 and will account for about three percent of all light-duty vehicle sales at that time.

Navigant is basing some of its lofty forecast on the fact that plug-in vehicle sales rose 150 percent last year as more folks got comfortable with the idea of driving on electrons. US plug-in sales, excluding undefined sales for the Tesla Model S and low-volume models like the Fisker Karma extended-range plug-in, reached about 50,000 units last year, or about one out of every 285 new vehicles sold domestically. Year-to-date, plug-in vehicle sales may have more than doubled (Tesla doesn't disclose monthly numbers) to more than 30,000 units.

Whether this forecast is a bump-up from Navigant/Pike's previous one is anyone's guess since there's not recent apples-to-apples comparison. Pike said in 2011 that cumulative plug-in vehicle sales would reach 5.2 million units by 2017, when annual sales would be at about 2 million units. Navigant's press release is available below.
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Plug-In Electric Vehicles Will Reach 3 Million in Annual Sales by 2020, Forecasts Navigant Research

BOULDER, Colo.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--While hybrid electric vehicles have largely been accepted as a part of the general automotive market in many regions, plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) remain a new technology facing the challenges inherent in all new markets. Nevertheless, according to a new report from Navigant Research, the combination of rising fuel prices, falling PEV prices, and increasing availability of PEV models will drive rapid growth in this segment over the next several years. Worldwide sales of light duty PEVs, including both plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) and battery electric vehicles (BEVs), will reach 3 million units annually in 2020, representing 3 percent of the total light duty vehicle market, the study concludes.

"Neither scenario has proven true, as the PEV market continues to grow rapidly - about 150 percent between 2011 and 2012 - but remains a very small part of the overall global automotive market, with 0.2 percent market share in 2012."

"In its earliest days, the market for PEVs experienced both a great deal of hype and intense skepticism," says Dave Hurst, principal research analyst with Navigant Research. "Neither scenario has proven true, as the PEV market continues to grow rapidly - about 150 percent between 2011 and 2012 - but remains a very small part of the overall global automotive market, with 0.2 percent market share in 2012."
The limited availability of PEVs has been an inhibiting factor for growth in a number of large vehicle markets, including the United States, Germany, France, China, and other Asia Pacific countries. However, many of these limitations will be reduced over the next two years, according to the report, as new vehicles from Honda, Volkswagen, Hyundai, and others are launched in a broad range of countries.

The report, "Electric Vehicle Market Forecasts", provides forecasts, market sizing, and market share analysis for hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and battery electric light duty vehicles. The report includes comprehensive data for sales along with underlying forecast assumptions for the consumer and fleet markets. Forecasts for annual vehicle sales by electric vehicle drivetrain, with comparisons to competing drivetrains, extend through 2020, segmented by world region and key countries. An Executive Summary of the report is available for free download on the Navigant Research website.

About Navigant Research
Navigant Research, the dedicated research arm of Navigant, provides market research and benchmarking services for rapidly changing and often highly regulated industries. In the energy sector, Navigant Research focuses on in-depth analysis and reporting about global clean technology markets. The team's research methodology combines supply-side industry analysis, end-user primary research and demand assessment, and deep examination of technology trends to provide a comprehensive view of the Smart Energy, Smart Utilities, Smart Transportation, Smart Industry, and Smart Buildings sectors. Additional information about Navigant Research can be found at www.navigantresearch.com.

About Navigant
Navigant (NYSE: NCI) is a specialized, global expert services firm dedicated to assisting clients in creating and protecting value in the face of critical business risks and opportunities. Through senior level engagement with clients, Navigant professionals combine technical expertise in Disputes and Investigations, Economics, Financial Advisory and Management Consulting, with business pragmatism in the highly regulated Construction, Energy, Financial Services and Healthcare industries to support clients in addressing their most critical business needs. More information about Navigant can be found at www.navigant.com.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 11 Comments
      Grendal
      • 1 Year Ago
      Pikes Research again. I could come up with a better number by rolling some dice. By 2020, Tesla alone will have sold 1 million.
        Letstakeawalk
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Grendal
        That's 3 million sales, annually, by 2020 - not 3 million sales total by 2020. Tesla is shooting for a production rate of 100k-200k per year with the "economy" model, and then maybe another 100k combined Model S/X. No doubt the Roadster should be around by then, but not likely in large numbers....
          Grendal
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Letstakeawalk
          I suppose I should read better. 3 million annually actually sounds like a reasonable number. Thanks for keeping me on my toes, LTAW.
          Letstakeawalk
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Letstakeawalk
          Thinking about it, the second-gen Model S/X should be out by 2020...
          Letstakeawalk
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Letstakeawalk
          Sometimes people forget that I like Tesla (and other BEVs) and that I'm really motivated by a sense of keeping discussions grounded in reality.
      EZEE
      • 1 Year Ago
      ahhhh, Pike Research made a prediction of the future. thereform it must be true...
        Spec
        • 1 Year Ago
        @EZEE
        We can mock them but can we provide a better forecast? It is really hard to know because it is heavily dependent upon gasoline prices and battery prices . . . neither of which is easy to forecast.
          EZEE
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Spec
          I guess mocking them isn't quite right. It would be better to mock ABG for paying for that stuff. Nothing wrong with predicting, but paying for the prediction is another matter. A simple breakthrough on Toyota's or IBM's battery, for example, and this is wrong. Iran and Israel get fussy, and Saudi is dragged in, and this is wrong. Continued expansion of fracking and or something else, anything else's that affects supply and/or demand one way r another, and it is wrong. Personally, I think this could be a low number. Chevy has hinted that the volt could be in the low $30k range, or even $30k. With tax credits, we are looking t $22.5 k? What if Toyota can get a plug in Prius c for $25k? Ford continues expanding their line. Generation 2 leaf goes 110 miles? Tesla comes out with a lower price model? Volkswagen stops talking... I don't care how educated they are. It is a wild assed guess.
          Dave
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Spec
          well said
      Giza Plateau
      • 1 Year Ago
      It should really go a lot faster than that but given the universal gargantuan stupidity of mankind it could well be that slow.
      pmpjunkie01
      • 1 Year Ago
      Sure, and wit Fredricksen Motors releasing the Danmobile it will be 18 million. See how easy that was! I should really go into the pulling numbers out of my a$$ business myself.