What the PEV market needs: smaller, faster, cheaper

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By: SGN Staff

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Plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) are real alright. Well over 207,000 are expected to be sold this year. But the big bang of a rollout expected for 2012 in this new market hasn't materialized. Instead, sales have been steady but lethargic.

 

Why? IDC Energy Insights has taken the last one-and-a-half years of sales information and come to some interesting conclusions about the direction manufacturers need to take if they're going to snare more buyers.

 

Essentially, car makers need to come up with PEVs that are, as the headline says, faster, smaller and cheaper. As examples, the IDC report describes two very different cars: the tiny Renault Twizy and the Toyota Prius plug-in, not its hybrid brand mate. The report's author admits IDC expected Renault to sell about 3,000 of the very small, very strange-looking two-seaters during the first year. Now it is expected to hit the 12,000 mark by year end. Sticker price: $10,000.

 

Prius sales have gone well beyond expectations despite an almost invisible marketing effort to support it. The three things the two have in common, and that other car makers should be paying attention to, is that the cars are relatively cheap compared to their traditional alternatives, they have a small battery pack (which accounts for much of a PEV's price) and offer a more enjoyable driving experience than one might expect.

 

But the report isn't just about the cars. It's also about their environment and that's where IDC makes some interesting recommendations. For example:

·         Utilities should, as the report says, "get on the small battery pack bandwagon" and encourage their customers to buy those cars – and to go with Level I charging, which has less impact on electric loads and is cheaper for the consumer.

·         Reluctant PUCs should get involved too by supporting utilities that want to offer incentives for nighttime trickle charging.

·         Federal and state level policy makers should expand their concept of subsidies to make them more equitable and consider other incentives like sales tax reductions.

 

There is much more detail and discussion in the report. Click the link below for more information or to order.

 

Order the IDC report on PEVs