The plug-in electric vehicles (PEV) market was launched in 2011 with more than 20,000 PEVs produced globally. Now auto makers are looking to move beyond expensive early adopter vehicles. While the market for PEVs is still evolving, a Pike Research analysis indicates that there will be regional difference in PEV adoption with plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) outselling battery electric vehicles (BEVs) in North America, while the inverse will be true in Europe and Asia.
Here is some data that was shared at the EV Road Map 5 conference held last week in Portland.
Oregon numbers - From 2009 to 2012 Oregon went from 400 registered PEVs to 1200. In the same period, publicly available charging infrastructure increased from 40 to 500 charging stations. Pike Research predicts 35,000 EVs in Oregon through 2017.
Impact of PEVs on state’s electric grid - According to Jim Piro, CEO of Portland General Electric, PEVs are expected to have no more impact on the state’s electric grid than air conditioners or flat screen TVs. He also pointed out that electricity prices are very stable when compared to volatile oil prices. When Senator Merkley addressed the group, he said that the U.S. spends roughly a $1 billion a day on oil. Oregonians spend $7 billion a year on petroleum.
U.S. consumer preferences – Recent survey results indicate the following preferences:
- 60% of respondents expressed an interest in buying a PEV as their next car purchase, but 2/3 of this group needs more info before buying.
- 79% would consider buying a PHEV. 21% would consider buying a BEV.
- Charging at home is the preferred option. Utilities (as opposed to oil companies/gas stations) are the preferred provider for public charging.
Current focus is on fleet sales – PEV makers are targeting public and private fleets:
- Fleets have purchasing power. For example, top 300 US companies own more than 1.5 million vehicles. Enterprise Holdings has a fleet of more than 1 million vehicles for rent/lease. US government has a fleet of over 700,000 vehicles.
- Fleet vehicles drive many more miles in a year than a privately owned vehicle which translates to higher fuel consumption and maintenance needs. PEVs have low fuel and maintenance costs.
- Battery swapping (i.e. Better Place) as opposed to charging works well for high-use vehicles such as taxis. NYC has a pilot for electrifying taxi service.
- Route predictability allows fleets to ‘right-size’ the batteries. Batteries account for a significant part of the cost of a PEV. Right-sizing batteries can cut down the cost of a vehicle because you only pay for the size battery you need.
Bugs that still need to be worked out
- Electric Vehicle Charging Equipment (EVSE) needs to be standardized.
- Visual cues (signage, info on GPS systems, etc.) for locating public charging stations needs to improve.