Could U.S. EV Sales Really hit 1.8 Million Per Year in 2020?

Could US EV sales really hit 1.8 million per year in 2020?
Could US EV sales really hit 1.8 million per year in 2020?

Pike Research recently whent out on a limb, suggesting that sales of EVs in the U.S. could top 1.8 million per annum in 2020. This is a phenomenal increase from the current level of around 41,000 in the first half of 2013, although it has to be said that the rate of growth in sales is quickening. There is very strong momentum gathering around the electric vehicle market due to a number of factors and while there is still some way to go, with current U.S. sales representing just one percent of total auto sales, there is scope for optimism.

Whether you compare the increasing rate of EV sales to that of their hybrid counterparts in their early years or even the Toyota Prius, the EV market currently wins hands down. This has taken some experts by surprise because only 12 months ago there was extreme criticism of the industry amid concerns that journey capacity would be a problem.

Short-term fix to journey capacity concerns

This week's big news has been the launch of the BMW i3 which has certainly gone down very well amongst electric car enthusiast. So-called "range anxiety" still seems to be a factor with some people and therefore BMW is offering a $4000 gasoline powered backup motor to alleviate this concern. The company has also gone on record in confirming that it is targeting a 30% output of plug-in hybrids and pure electric vehicles by 2025 which is a significant move in the marketplace.

Quote from ElectricForum.com : "The BMW i3 was officially launched yesterday and it did not disappoint! This is a very interesting move by BMW and while the BMW i8 will be a hybrid there are noises coming out of BMW that EVs will be a big market for them in the future."

Despite the fact that some experts are forecasting significant losses for some EV manufacturers in the short term, although these claims have been denied, it seems that those at the luxury end of the EV market are willing to take some short-term pain for long-term gain. Speculation also continues to mount about Daimler and Cadillac branded electric vehicles set to the hit the luxury car sector in the short to medium term – an area currently dominated by Tesla but set to become a little more crowded.

How is Tesla performing?

The Tesla Model S, available at just under $70,000 after various financial incentives, is dominating the luxury end of the electric vehicle market. The company is currently rolling out around 400 vehicles a week, although this number is expected double by 2014. It is also well known that Tesla has substantially more capacity available in its manufacturing plant in the longer term amid signs that a number of companies are readying themselves for the mass market.

In many ways the EV industry has Tesla to thank for a lot of the current and recent positive press, which is all the more remarkable bearing in mind the start of the year when the company was subjected to some very negative comment in the US media. It will be interesting to see if Tesla is able to dominate as much in the future as it has of late or whether indeed the luxury end of the electric vehicle market will become as crowded as some experts predict.