Many major automakers are developing plug-in electric vehicles, but there are a myriad of challenges standing in the way of their widespread take-up: battery prices, performance, charging infrastructure and consumer acceptance, just to name a few.
Below are excerpts from an interview conducted with Oliver Hazimeh, director and head of global management consulting firm PRTM’s global e-mobility practice, which looks at electric vehicles.
Your forecasts for electric vehicle penetration are 10% by 2020, is that right?
I think right now we’re looking at 10 per cent adoption by 2020; there are plug in hybrid vehicles like the GM Volt which are primarily driven by the battery, and the engine is just a generator for the battery. The number rises to 20 per cent if you add full hybrids or HEVs, like the Toyota Prius. Toyota and Honda have found success with traditional HEVs that are powered by an internal combustion engine (ICE), with support from electricity. Now, additional electricity-fueled cars are bering introduced.
For example, GM is introducing PHEVs like the Chevy Volt, which is electric motor driven, with an ICE to charge the battery. Pure EVs like the Nissan Leaf are also coming into the picture. We believe that the worldwide electric vehicle value chain will grow to approximately $300bn by 2020, creating more than 1m related jobs across the value chain — including energy providers, smart grid technology firms, battery and component suppliers, vehicle OEMs and service providers.
What needs to happen in the intervening years?
For this whole market to take off there are a few things that need to come together. We’re at a tipping point; fundamentally it’s not if, but how fast and to what extent electrification will happen. Fundamentals are there: reduced oil dependency is needed, technology is available. We see that with the OEMs [original equipment manufacturers] that are basically formalising their product plans, to incorporate electrification in the coming years.