It's true that crystal balls that accurately forecast the future of plug-in vehicles don't exist, but for $2,800 you can buy a copy of a report that concludes with this bit of info: worldwide cumulative plug-in vehicle sales will reach 5.2 million units by 2017.

Sure, 5.2 million units represent a massive, massive leap up from the approximately 114,000 plug-ins expected to be sold worldwide by the end of 2011, but Pike Research says the race towards electrification will heat up in no time.

In the worldwide race, Pike says the Asia Pacific region will lead, followed by Europe, then North America. However, Pike predicts the U.S. and Europe will miss government-set targets for plug-in vehicle sales due to the slower than anticipated rollouts of these electrified vehicles. Pike states:
In the United States, President Obama's goal for one million plug-in electric vehicles on the roads by 2015 appears to be well beyond what the actual vehicle market is likely to be. Germany has set a goal of one million plug-in electric vehicles by 2020 – almost twice the 512,701 plug-in electric vehicles forecast to be on the roads in that country by 2017.
Pike says it didn't overlook any details for its report, so the firm's forecast is probably at least as accurate as, well, any other prediction six years into the future.
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Cumulative Plug-in Electric Vehicle Sales to Reach 5.2 Million Worldwide by 2017

August 22, 2011

Production of electrified vehicles is gearing up all over the world, and automakers are planning to launch an increasing variety of new models over the next few years. Hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs), plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), and battery electric vehicles (BEVs) will all share the market stage as electrified vehicles continue to capture a larger portion of the total vehicle market.

According to a new report from Pike Research, cumulative sales of plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs), the category that includes both PHEVs and BEVs, will reach 5.2 million units by 2017, up from just under 114,000 vehicles in 2011. By the same year, cumulative sales of HEVs will represent an additional 8.7 million vehicles, for a combined total of 13.9 million units in all electrified vehicle categories.

"Increasing fuel costs, government purchase incentives, increasing fuel economy standards, and increased vehicle availability will benefit all three types of electric vehicles to varying degrees," says senior analyst Dave Hurst. "In the hybrid electric market, the incentives are playing less of a role as countries either eliminate incentives or offer low incentives, but a number of models in many vehicle segments equates to broader appeal in North America and growth in Europe."

Pike Research projects that, while electrified vehicles will become a growing portion of total vehicle sales, the penetration rates will remain relatively low in the context of the total automotive industry. The firm forecasts that PEV and HEV sales together will represent approximately 3% of total light-duty vehicle sales in 2017. Adoption will be highest in North America, where electrified vehicles will capture 4.9% of the total light-duty vehicle market in that year.

Pike Research's report, "Electric Vehicle Market Forecasts", analyzes the key market forces playing a role in the electric vehicle market and provides comprehensive lists of expected vehicle launches. The report includes detailed forecasts through 2017 for light duty vehicle sales, as well as retail and fleet sales of hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and battery electric vehicles, segmented by world region and key countries. Anticipated market shares for selected manufacturers are also provided for the United States. An Executive Summary of the report is available for free download on the firm's website.

Pike Research is a market research and consulting firm that provides in-depth analysis of global clean technology markets. The company'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 Grid, Smart Transportation, Smart Industry, and Smart Buildings sectors. For more information, visit www.pikeresearch.com or call +1.303.997.7609.

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