For the first time in about 100 years, hybrid and electric-powered vehicles appear to be gaining traction in the new car market. They’re selling so quickly that one research company says they will make up five percent of the U.S. market by 2017.
The data comes from Pike Research, a technology consultation firm. With strong sales figures from cars like the 2012 Nissan Leaf and the Toyota Prius, Pike says hybrids and plug-in vehicles are growing about 20 percent per year. At the rate they’re at, the firm suggests there will be about as many new alternative-fueled vehicles sold annually as Hyundai sells cars altogether.
Currently, Asian markets have 26 plug-in electric and hybrid models available compared to our 23. The U.S. marker will have 40 hybrid models available by the end 2012, compared to just 14 in Asia. But that rift is expected to expand significantly, as automakers in the U.S. are shifting toward producing more electric and hybrid vehicles for our market, as U.S. consumers have traditionally shied away from diesel cars. As of 2011, electric and hybrid models are expected to make up 3.1 percent of car sales worldwide, showing how much quicker the U.S. market is expected to grow compared to other regions.
Based on the products automakers have in their pipelines, Pike believes Ford will own most of the plug-in electric vehicle market with 23.6 percent of the market by 2017. Toyota and General Motors will each have an estimated 21.1 percent of the U.S. market’s electric vehicles. Pike says because of its high-priced niche status upstart Tesla will expand its share from 2.2 percent to just 4.6 percent over the next six years.
Automotive.com’s take: It’s fun to speculate over how the market will go, especially as the U.S. government has mandated automakers to get creative in reaching a 54.5 mpg CAFE standard sooner than later. But just under a decade ago, analysts were certain of 17 million new cars sold annually, and a recession quashed that prediction quite handily. We know where the market is headed with hybrids and electric cars, but any number of externalities could change that path dramatically.
Source: Pike Research via The Wall Street Journal Market Watch
By Jacob Brown