BCG now says that electric vehicles will make up three percent of automotive sales in the United States by 2020. That's down from the five percent the group forecast back in 2009. On the other hand, when it looks at the overall electric vehicle situation, BCG felt that it was important to widen its definition of electric vehicles to include plug-in hybrids and range-extended vehicles. The predictions above exclude those additions.
Why the tweak? The volatile oil market. Well, according to Xavier Mosquet, the global head of BCG's automotive division, surging oil prices in 2008 pushed automakers to develop more fuel-efficient engines. That alone negates some of the advantages of going electric, says Mosquet. However, BCG does predict that if oil prices hit $180 a barrel (currently, oil prices are hovering around $100 a barrel), electric vehicles will be back on track to make up five percent of the U.S. market by 2020.
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