While 2014 has been a big year for plug-in vehicle sales – the biggest ever, in fact – the overall numbers are still small. In fact, a new study by The Research Capsule says that sale are "geographically inconsistent" and that only five countries will end the year with more than 10,000 EV sales.

The Research Capsule charges a lot of money for the full report, so we're left guessing the details from its announcement (available below). Based on what we know from other sources, like the excellent EV Sales blog, we can guess that the list of five countries includes the US (over 100,000 through November), China (44,500), Japan (27,000) Norway (18,500) and France (14,000). Of course, EV Sales says that Holland (13,500) and Germany (10,500) have also crossed the five-digit threshold this year. We know that EV Sales includes some estimates, but we're not sure how the calculations ended up so differently.

Still, the thrust of the study makes sense to us. Looking at that geographical inconsistency, The Research Capsule said:

Norway is the world adoption leader; it's neighbor Sweden is one of Europe's laggards. PEV sales have seen a boom in the Netherlands while much larger Germany buys a fraction of Dutch volumes. In England, charging stations sit idle. The French buy about three times the number of electric vehicles as the Spaniards on a per capita basis. In the U.S., Californians buy nearly 50% of the country's total volume of PEVs.

The Research Capsule also tries to predict plug-in vehicle sales to 2017 and then give estimates beyond that. The groups suspects that it will take at least a decade in developed markets for EVs to become mainstream and that, "the current bar for success is set extremely low." How low? The group says that, "only one [country] will break 10 percent of all vehicle sales during the coming five years.
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Plug-in electric vehicles market to 2017

NEW YORK, Dec. 8, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- The Research Capsule report looks at the market for plug-in electric vehicles (both PEVs and PHEVs) in key markets. The report provides forecasts to the year 2017 based on the latest information about government incentives (the most important variable), infrastructure readiness, economic development, oil costs and PEV product pricing.

The market for plug-in vehicles is geographically inconsistent. Norway is the world adoption leader; it's neighbor Sweden is one of Europe's laggards. PEV sales have seen a boom in the Netherlands while much larger Germany buys a fraction of Dutch volumes. In England, charging stations sit idle. The French buy about three times the number of electric vehicles as the Spaniards on a per capita basis. In the U.S., Californians buy nearly 50% of the country's total volume of PEVs.

Though there's a certain inevitability about the long-term success of the market for PEVs, reaching a global mainstream appears to be a decade off in most developed markets and the current bar for success is set extremely low. A PEV fleet of 1% of a country's total is considered a runaway triumph. Only five nations will have sales above 10,000 units in 2014. Only one will break 10% of all vehicle sales during the coming five years.

Research Capsule studied the global market for plug-in electric vehicles and found that sales are promising, and the market is interesting, yet sketchy. Research Capsule interactions with executives of major automobile manufacturers found they take the potential disruption of the PEV market very seriously, but see mass volumes years off.

Our research and forecasts would agree with that assessment. Research Capsule forecasts the market for the U.S., China, Japan, the Netherlands, Germany, France, the U.K., Norway, and Sweden. While there are exceptions, financial incentives are the strongest enabler of sales, thus countries with very high punitive disincentives to purchase and drive heavier internal combustion cars have the greatest leeway in offering financial incentives to offset the higher prices of PEVs. Yet only a few countries have a strategy in place to make electric cars truly price competitive to their petrol-based counterparts. The report looks at following key market players: Ford, General Motors, Mitsubishi, Renault Nissan, Tesla, and Toyota.

Read the full report: http://www.reportlinker.com/p02487199-summary/view-report.html


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