Pike Research Sees Changes Coming in Global Electric Vehicle Market

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Green­tech indus­try research and con­sult­ing firm Pike Research sees the elec­tric vehi­cle mar­ket shift­ing in 2013. It cer­tain­ly is a tough indus­try to thrive with­in, whether that be start­up com­pa­nies like Tes­la, Coda, and Fisker, or major automak­ers like Nis­san, Gen­er­al Motors, Ford, and BMW. Pike Research sees cap­i­tal invest­ments shift­ing more this year toward bat­tery com­po­nents and away from EVs. Com­po­nents may be more mar­ketable than com­plete bat­tery packs with lim­it­ed EV sales vol­ume. Com­pa­nies like Dow Ener­gy Mate­ri­als and BASF will con­tin­ue to invest in anode, cath­ode, and elec­trolyte mate­r­i­al research and devel­op­ment – though the tech­nol­o­gy will need to meet some changes in cus­tomer expec­ta­tions, accord­ing to the study.

Pike Research pre­dicts more than 210,000 plug-in elec­tric vehi­cles will be sold glob­al­ly this year, and con­sumers will have a wide spec­trum of choic­es as more than three dozen mod­els will debut. As for the growth in oth­er tech­nolo­gies, the study pre­dicts more than 3,400 fuel cell vehi­cles will be shipped in 2013 by Toy­ota, Daim­ler, Hyundai, and Hon­da; elec­tric bike sales will grow by 50% in North Amer­i­ca, reach­ing 158,000 units sold; 48-volt lead-acid and lithi­um ion bat­ter­ies are expect­ed to pro­vide greater reli­a­bil­i­ty and charge accep­tance from regen­er­a­tive brak­ing, com­pared to 12-volt coun­ter­parts; heat­ing and cool­ing sys­tems will also ben­e­fit from the high­er-pow­er bat­ter­ies; Volk­swa­gen, Audi, and BMW are expect­ed to lead Europe’s EV mar­ket growth; and, coast­ing tech­nol­o­gy is expect­ed to be a hot top­ic – ear­ly tests show Audi and BMW reduc­ing fuel con­sump­tion by as much as 10%, but there are tech­ni­cal chal­lenges and lia­bil­i­ty issues that need to be resolved, the study says.

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