More car buyers than just those belonging to Generation Y may be looking to buy hybrids, at least according to a report published by New York-based marketing research firm ABI Research. The firm’s analysts foresee a pattern of steady growth over the next few years, leading to the eventual annual sales of over 8.3 million hybrids by 2020, or 11% of all new vehicles sold.
2011 was significant in the auto industry for major manufacturers finally introducing both plug-in hybrids and all-electric vehicles, which principal analyst David Alexander says is good for both the consumer and the auto maker, as published by Business Wire:
“More competition is always good for sales, and as these vehicles become better known as mainstream products, both production efficiencies and consumer demand will improve. However, gasoline and diesel engine technology is not standing still and more efficient conventional solutions will not make it easier for HEV producers.”
New Technology Is on Its Way
There’s actually quite a bit of governmental support for electric vehicles. Emissions regulations are becoming stricter, tax incentives appear here to stay, and there’s even support at the more local level. Also, a number of major cities are helping fund a public charging infrastructure.
I personally believe the main barrier to widespread acceptance of battery electric and hybrid cars remains the still relatively low cost of fossil fuel; a higher initial purchase price is harder to overlook if you’re still filling your gas tank for less than $40. Group director Dominique Bonte sees it the other way around:
“Fuel cost has a major part to play in the growth of the HEV market. Initial purchase cost remains a barrier to large sales numbers, but if fuel cost was to rise significantly, then the payback period would get much shorter and demand would rise. Note that if this happens in the short term, there might be issues ramping up production.”
And, surely, gas prices will continue to rise, and continue to rise, and continue to rise.
Even without that, though, ABI Research has noted that the increase in technological variety is good news for the hybrid and electric vehicle markets. It’s also observed the trend of fleet testing commercial hybrids and electric vehicles, which is the source and direct beneficiary of that increased variety.
The full study is available from ABI Research here. Questions or comments? Feel free to let us know below.
Source: Business Wire | Image: 2012 Chicago Auto Show
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