A report by IDTechEx has cast a very interesting light on the electric vehicle sector, with a forecast that commercial and industrial sales will top $30 billion in 2013 against $28 billion in the consumer market. When you bear in mind that there have been an array of industrial and commercial electric vehicles around for many years now, perhaps this is not a surprise but would you expect consumer demand to overtake industrial/commercial demand in the long term?
It seems as though the consumer electric vehicle market will still move ahead but may not be able to match the pace of the commercial sector for now at least.
Looking to the future
The report by IDTechEx suggest that by 2023 commercial sales will top $154 billion while electric and hybrid sales to consumers will only hit the $119 billion level. It is worth noting that commercial electric vehicle sales take in offerings such as forklift trucks which have never been subsidised by governments around the world. It looks as though the commercial sector has a far stronger base than the consumer sector at this moment in time, with the shifting sands of the consumer sector built around government assistance.
Quote from ElectricForum.com : "Do Electric Operated Motors Last Longer than Gasoline Engines?"
Perhaps the only real negative aspect of this report was the conclusion that government assistance around the world could disappear or be reduced at any time which would leave the EV consumer sector to stand on its own 2 feet. Would this be such a bad thing?
Financial subsidies cannot last forever
Sceptics of the electric vehicle industry have on numerous occasions highlighted the financial support offered to the sector around the world. The truth is that any new technology, and any new industry, has historically been supported financially using taxpayers funds until it was able to stand on its own 2 feet. The reality today is that the electric vehicle sector is pushing ahead strongly, technology is improving, base costs are coming down and, perhaps most encouraging of all, the consumer is finally begin to appreciate what electric vehicles have to offer.
No government around the world has been brave enough to suggest when ongoing financial incentives will end and when the industry will need to start contributing to government coffers. The likelihood is that financial assistance will be maintained in some shape or form for years to come, with the aim of pushing the industry as far as possible until the headline and the long-term cost of EV vehicles compares favourably to its traditional diesel/petrol counterparts.
Innovation is the key
While many of the recent reports into the electric vehicle industry have been more than positive, and indeed on the whole this report has a positive angle, innovation will be the key going forward. This is where companies such as Tesla will come into play with the entrepreneurial Elon Musk seemingly set to stay around for some time to come. There were some concerns that Elon Musk, seen by many as the figurehead of the electric vehicle industry, was starting to get bored and beginning to look elsewhere - thankfully these rumours and concerns have died down of late.