Cars More Hybrids By 2020

Published on February 23rd, 2012 | by Charis Michelsen


Over 31? You May Still Buy a Hybrid by 2020

February 23rd, 2012 by  

More Hybrids By 2020

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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About the Author

spent 7 years living in Germany and Japan, studying both languages extensively, doing translation and education with companies like Bosch, Nissan, Fuji Heavy, and others. Charis has a Bachelor of Science degree in biology and currently lives in Chicago, Illinois. She also believes that Janeway was the best Star Trek Captain.

  • Dcard88

    11% in 2020? Uuuh, how about 80% of ALL auto’s mfg in 2020 are either hybrid or EV’s and about 30% of light trucks. I cant imagine how that would NOT be the case. By 2015 ALL auto makers will have at least 3 or 4 hybrids on teh market and the average mpg will be around 45, the same as Toyotas 2 hybrid autos are in 2012. I would expect the next Camry to get 50mpg and the next Prius to get 55. By 2020 we MAY have the ability for an EV to get 300 miles per charge for the same price as a combustion engine. If we can do that, why would anyone want to pay 4 or even $5 per gallon of gas?

    • Bob_Wallace

      You left out PHEVs. My guess is that by 2020 the market will be dominated by EVs and PHEVs. Both cars and light trucks.

      Don’t forget that many light trucks are owned by businesses and businesses tend to pay a lot of attention to the bottom line. All those service/delivery trucks that scoot around town, they probably don’t drive much more than 30 miles a day. If they could plug in for 80% to 90% of their miles and still have the option to use liquid fuel for the long drives….

      PHEVs should quickly replace hybrids once battery prices come down some. Toyota might get their hybrid Prius to 55 MPG but their PHEV Prius is likely to deliver >100 MPG (plus a small amount of electricity) to drivers. That’s the experience of Volt owners, many reporting 1,000 miles or more on a 9.3 gallon tank of gas. One driver is reporting 3,000 miles per tank.

      How long we produce PHEVs will likely be a factor of battery cost. If EVs get adequate range and cost no more than a PHEV then the market will move away from any sort of ICE.

      We don’t need 300 mile range EVs. The threshold, I think, is somewhere around 175 miles. With 175 mile batteries and 95% <20 charging one can drive a 500 mile day with only two short charging stops. Gasmobile drivers are going to stop at least once for fuel, food and peeing. The immense "fuel" cost savings will make the second stop a non-issue.

      I'm expecting the next five years to be 'exciting'. The world's economy is coming back, gasoline/oil demand is rising, cheap oil is being used up, and all we can expect is much higher prices at the pump.

      At the same time we've got the Energy Secretary continuing to tell us that longer range and cheaper batteries are in our near future.

      Right now a non-subsidized $32.5k Nissan Leaf is about $6k cheaper to own and operate than is a $20k 30MPG gasmobile. That's based on $0.08/kWh, $4/gallon gas and 12,000 annual driving miles.

      At $5/gallon the much more expensive to purchase Leaf becomes $13k cheaper to own/operate over 12 years.

      The monthly cost difference during the five years of paying off the vehicles drops to around $100. How many people are going to refuse to pay an extra $100/month when in a few years they will start saving $200 – $300 per month?

  • Ivor O’Connor

    The author is basically stating only young and stupid buy hybrids. Perhaps we need an author who understands reality and supports the future.

    • Bob_Wallace

      There’s some background that you apparently don’t know about.

      There’s been an article floating around for some time talking about how ‘youngers’/Gen Y would be the ones driving hybrids.

      You failed to understand what you read.

      Of course, that claim doesn’t pass the sniff test, at least based on my experience. There are a lot of hybrids around where I live and a lot of the drivers have grey hair.

    • I think you misread her post. She’s certainly not saying that. There is a common belief that young people buy hybrids more — that’s all that one comment was about.

  • quietman

    I have to admit I used to get upset about gasoline prices. Now I hope they double tomorrow. It’s over. I hope people like myself understand they are still paying to keep those prices low even if it’s not at the pump. We are problem solvers as a whole. If oil isn’t here we will still find a way to get around. Oil on a level playing field it can no longer compete.

    Please help end the torture. “The only thing to fear is fear itself” FDR

    • Agreed. Well said.

      Unfort., bringing up true cost triggers calls of heresy & treason. 😛

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