Electric vehicles: Driving range decides

April 24, 2015 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Though the sales figures of electric vehicles fall short of vendor’s expectations, the number of available models will continue to climb, Predicts market researcher Frost & Sullivan. Plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEV) are rapidly gaining market share over battery electric vehicles – driving range continues to be the decisive factor for customers.

Currently, 70 % of all available electric vehicles are battery-electric vehicles (BEVs); 25% are PHEVs. Frost & Sullivan Automotive and Transportation analyst Prajot Sathe believes that within the next three to four years the share of PHEVs will grow which translates into a faster market growth for this category compared to BEVs. The reason Sathe sees a higher demand for vehicles with high driving range. As an example, the analyst quotes BMW’s i3 which is available as a pure BEV and with an optional range extender. The latter achieves clearly higher sales figures, the release suggests.

Total sales of electric vehicles in 2015 are estimated at 466.407 units, up 53% from 304.683 units in 2014. North America will continue to lead the market with a share of 36%, Europe follows with 27% while China is almost on par with 24%. “Large EV OEMs such as Tesla, BMW and Daimler expect to benefit from incentives and subsidies in China and thus have clearly designed growth strategies to establish themselves at this market”, Sathe says. “However, since China reduces its subsidies by 5% every year, some OEMs will try to enter the markets wit alternative drive technologies such as fuel cells which continue to be eligible for these subsidies.”

Though the market for electric vehicles is growing in all regions, the overall sales so far have failed to meet the expectations. OEMs in North America and Europe did not reach their sales targets, with the main reasons being the buyer’s reluctance to embrace new technologies, the long time necessary to recharge their vehicles and the lack of awareness regarding the advantages of electric vehicles. Though the xEV market in the US has grown by more than 30% from 2103, the number of PHEVs and EVs remains at a very low volume of just 162.000 units – far behind the goal of 1 million units in 2015. One of the conclusions the OEMs