Study finds competitive pricing, new models driving electric vehicle market

(August 28, 2013) LONDON — One of the key drivers of the global electric vehicle market is the reduction in the upfront ownership cost of vehicles this year. In fact, the prices of key electric vehicles have gone down by as much as 18 per cent of their 2012 price, as manufacturers look to boost sales and stay competitive. The question is, how much this will impact the development of the market?

New analysis from Frost & Sullivan finds that electric vehicle sales stood at 120,000 units in 2012, and predicts this to reach 2.7 million units in 2018. The global markets are indicating an upward trend in adoption as Frost & Sullivan estimates 2013 sales to boost up to 170-190,000 global sales which is more than 50 per cent increase from the previous year sales.

"The scheduled introduction of about 15 new electric vehicle models in the next one year, such as the BMW i8, the Tesla Model S, the Audi R8 and Q7, the Porsche 918 Spyder, and the Mercedes SLS AMG ECell, will intensify competition in the global electric vehicle market and bring down prices," said Frost & Sullivan Automotive and Transportation Team Leader Anjan Hemanth Kumar.

"Several new electric cars including Tesla Model S, Renault Zoe, and Ford Fusion Energi are already best-sellers in their respective markets."

"By and large electric vehicles have been concentric to fleets since the launch. The vision for 2013 and beyond for the vehicle manufacturers is to reach out to private consumers and create demand," suggests Kumar.

Moreover, the cost of lithium-ion batteries has decreased by 20 to 40 per cent in the last five years, enabling vehicle manufacturers to lower the price of electric vehicles and fuel adoption.

Range anxiety due to the lack of a robust charging infrastructure network with standardized business models has been another major market challenge. Earlier this year, the Society of Automotive Engineers International (SAE) standardized combo-type connectors for direct current (DC) charging. In the near future, both CHAdeMO and combo type DC charging are expected to coexist.

Ten automakers have launched trials for inductive charging, and standardization for the same is likely to be announced in 2014. SAE has already set up a task force working towards the standardization of inductive charging.

In addition, governments in various countries have extended incentives and benefits for electric vehicle consumers to 2015 and beyond. Scandinavia has led the way, with Norway gradually increasing its penetration rate of electric vehicles beyond three per cent in 2013.

"Europe has invested close to 2 billion euro in various R&D projects ranging from electric vehicle powertrain to grid," said Kumar. "Added developments in battery technology in the United States, China and Europe will improve energy density and further reduce cost."