Alan Baum, a Michigan based auto industry analyst, forecasts that there will be a large jump in the number of types of hybrids and electric vehicles sold in the US by 2015 – over 100 different models. This is up from about the 22 hybrids and one electric car (the Tesla Roadster) that are currently in production. Specifically, he’s predicting 18 different plug-in electric hybrids (PHEV’s), 32 electric cars (EV’s), and 6 fuel cell electrics. The remaining models will be conventional hybrids.
Some of this ramp up is currently underway. For the model year 2011, 27 new model introductions are planned, which just about doubles the current number of hybrids and plug-ins. In 2011, the car companies are adding 13 regular hybrids, 3 plug-in hybrids, and 11 battery electric models to their current lineup.
Baum is forecasting, that while the hybrid market has been relatively flat over the last couple of years at about 2.5 percent of new car sales, that’s about to change. “We got ourselves an inflection point,” he said. “Getting out of the 2 percent market range, and into the 4s or 5s is a big deal. The planets are aligned for this.” His inflection point is based on government incentives, rising fuel economy standards, and automakers eager to sell hybrids and EVs to consumers “salivating for the product.” He expects the hybrid/PHEV/EV market to grow to about 4 or 5 percent of new car sales by 2015, and further jumps between 2015 and 2020 as even more stringent fuel economy standards kick in.
Hopefully, one of the ways we get to 5% (or higher) in hybrid/phev/ev sales is by reducing the amount of “forced features” that right now push up the “hybrid premium” on many models.