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EV & plug-in hybrids sales to quadruple in US, says LMC Automotive

Speaking at the CAR Management Briefing Seminars held this week in Michigan, Mike Omotoso, senior manager of powertrain forecasting at LMC Automotive, highlighted that despite all the hype and billions of dollars of investment, battery electric vehicles' (BEVs) share of US total light vehicle sales is expected to remain below 1% through 2020. Even if plug-in hybrids (PHEVs), such as the Chevrolet Volt and the Ford Fusion Energi are included, the share will only increase to 3% by 2020.

‘There is clearly a disconnect between what the federal government and the state of California are looking to achieve and what the majority of consumers actually want,’ said Mr Omotoso. ‘Even with a federal tax credit of $7,500, the price premium of most electric vehicles is still too high relative to the payback period.’

However, advancements in technology and investment should alleviate some of consumers' current concerns with PHEVs and BEVs and,LMC Automotive forecasts the volume of BEV and PHEV sales to more than quadruple over the next 10 years to 250,000 units.

Stronger demand will be driven by expected higher gas prices, lower costs for the Li-ion batteries and increased model activity. The 2025 Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) target of 54.5mpg fleet average will also play a key role in the growth of BEVs and PHEVs.

Even with the advancements in alternative powertrains, LMC Automotive expects the gasoline ICE will remain the dominant powertrain choice for the foreseeable future. However, the gasoline ICE's share of light vehicle sales by fuel type is expected to decrease from 90% in 2010 to 72% in 2020 as alternative powertrains gain ground over the next few years.

Natalie Middleton

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