Published on January 4th, 2016 | by Steve Hanley


EV Market Set To Explode Over The Next Decade

January 4th, 2016 by  

Originally published on Gas2.

A new report by research firm IDTechEx entitled Electric Vehicle Forecasts, Trends and Opportunities 2016-2026 says the electric vehicle market is set to explode over the next decade. The report projects most of the increase will come in electrified vehicles other than cars and will result in $500 billion a year in new business.

Proterra-Catalyst-XR“Batteries, supercapacitors, energy harvesting, wireless charging, power electronics and structural electronics are all evolving and breakthroughs are appearing more commonly in other vehicles such as boats and planes, before cars,” IDTechEX said. “This is driving progress across the whole EV market and now many profitable niche markets are emerging just as there’s been a shake-up in the leading sectors.”

The market for hybrid and pure electric buses is expected to top $72 billion by 2025 as more cities switch to zero emission public transportation. China’s BYD is currently the world leader in electric buses. It expects to deliver 6,000 of them in 2016, 300 of which will come from its Bus & Coach Factory in Lancaster, California. Proterra is also working hard to expand its business with a line of American made carbon fiber buses.

As reported by Business Green, IDTechEX expects big  gains in electric vehicles for construction, agriculture, and industrial watercraft. It says those markets are poised for compound annual growth of between 20% and 65% over the next ten years. Fork lifts used indoors are already electric, but outdoors power equipment like earth movers and lifting vehicles are expected to to switch to hybrid electric drivetrains. They require less maintenance and insulate companies from future spikes in the cost of fossil fuels. Hybrids perform better as well, with more torque available at low speeds and the ability to supply electricity to other equipment on a job site. They also are quieter in operation, which reduces operator fatigue, and they create less pollution.

Commercial and industrial vehicles get less attention from government regulators, the report points out. “The size and growth of the industrial and commercial sector is less dependent on government funding and tax breaks than the more fragile market for electric cars, particularly pure electric ones,” the report says. “Excitingly, most of the electric vehicle technologies are changing and improving hugely and innovation often comes here before it is seen in the more publicized electric vehicle sectors such as cars.”

If IDTechEX is correct, the first experience most people have with an electric vehicle may be while riding on an electric bus or in an electric taxi. Once electrification becomes commonplace for those vehicles, the technology will have a better chance of going mainstream for private passenger cars, the report’s authors say.

Reprinted with permission.

Check out our new 93-page EV report, based on over 2,000 surveys collected from EV drivers in 49 of 50 US states, 26 European countries, and 9 Canadian provinces.

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About the Author

writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Rhode Island. You can follow him on Google + and on Twitter. "There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest." Elie Wiesel

  • dulcetpine

    I have my eye on a used GEM car that I want to use as a primary commuter vehicle because I live local, but I am unsure whether to pull the trigger or wait out a boom in electric vehicles and buy a real car instead…

    Tough choices.

  • JamesWimberley

    Any news on agricultural tractors? They are very numerous, surely commoner than buses. The power requirement for ploughing is large, so they may be a poor fit for electric propulsion.

  • ROBwithaB

    “… set to explode.”
    An unfortunate choice of phrase, considering the recent video footage from Norway.

  • Chris McLeod

    What I think people miss is that railways can make use of the land around and the space above their tracks to install solar panels. Depending on traffic and wholesale electricity rates line-owners might sell excess onto the grid. Maybe those “humdinger” windbelt generators could also be deployed on the high end of the south-tilted panels.

  • kEiThZ

    It’s pretty much standard for most new transit buses to be hybrids in the West. EVs will take time because the cost-benefit ratio is different for transit authorities. It may be a choice between an EV bus or two diesel buses. The latter choice does more for riders and the environment by getting cars off the road.

    What I’m constant surprised by is that delivery companies haven’t been more aggressive on electrification. Delivery vans are the perfect use case to be electrified.

    • eveee

      Yes. And its a shame. Not only delivery, but garbage trucks and mail. Those are frequent stop and go, short distance applications heavily favoring EVs. The USPS has adopted some EVs.

    • Matt

      Except the transit authorities are more like to look at the total lifetime cost, where EV can be cheaper.

    • ROBwithaB

      Does seem like the perfect fit for electric drive. I’m not sure why it isn’t happening yet.

      Generally operate only during business hours, when electricity is expensive, and charge at night, when electricity is (currently) cheap.
      All return to a single depot, simplifying charging infrastructure.
      At least 12 hours available each night for charging.
      Trips limited to about two or three hundred km per day, often less.
      Lots of stop and go, favouring regenerative braking.
      Lots of “idling” in traffic, favouring electric.
      Difficult for drivers to steal fuel or collude with third party fuel suppliers to defraud the company (a VERY big problem in places like South Africa).
      No need to store flammable fuel onsite, or to pay drivers to refuel at third party stations.
      Traditional drivetrains take a hammering with heavy loads and lots of stop/go, meaning that maintenance costs with electric would be much lower.
      Less fleet downtime with lower maintenance.

      Always within a relative small radius of home base, so no “range anxiety”.
      Very little high speed open highway cruising, so little concern about aerodynamic styling.
      Huge saving in fuel, in a business where margins are very tight, and fuel is potentially the single biggest expense.
      Can actually drive straight into a warehouse for loading or offloading without any concern about emissions.
      With fixed routes, VERY suitable for conversion to autonomous driving.

      A small 1-ton capacity light truck with canopy or closed van. Like the thousands that I see driving around for courier and local delivery companies. 200km range. $40,000 price. Very spartan interior, using as many off-the-shelf components as possible.
      Lobby hard to get tax rebates for small businesses for buy them. Even at local municipality level.
      Somebody make this thing!

  • Graphite Gus

    You always think of EV consumer vehicles, but we need to think more broadly about all forms of transport

    • Bob_Wallace

      You’ve missed all the articles on electric buses?

      • Graphite Gus

        Yes, but they mention boats (i assume pleasure boats only) forklifts (i thought fuel cells were the fashion there), loading&delivery trucks (trucks only hybrid now – why?)
        I cannot see long haul trucks, trains, and ocean ships included, but everything else seems fair game. For these last three, fuel cells might work

        • eveee

          Trains can be electrified third rail even for long haul. We don’t even need trucks for long haul. Short haul trucks are fine with EVs. Planes and ships are more of a problem. Fuel cells would be too heavy for planes. The problem is the specific weight and volume of the energy source. Energy to liquid fuels is a possibility for passenger air transport. Marine transport is still in question. Back to sail? There are some interesting concepts for advanced sails, but no magic solution.

          • neroden

            For long haul trains, overhead catenary is the standard.

            You can actually use overhead wire for barges on rivers too. Not for overseas shipping, sadly.

          • ROBwithaB

            The Bering Bridge is something we’ve been looking forward to since, well, the Ice Age.

            London to New York by train. The ultimate bucket list journey.

          • JamesWimberley

            “Russia’s electrifying the entire Trans-Siberian Railroad.” Electrification was finished to Vladivostok in 2002 (delayed by the collapse of the Soviet Union). The BAM is only partly electrified, and the spur to Manchuria is not.

        • mike_dyke

          We’ve had long distance (> 50 miles) fully electric trains since 1921 in the south of the UK.

          Also the London Underground is also fully electric.

          • ROBwithaB

            The London Underground is fully electric. Indeed.
            Turns out that (coal powered) steam locomotives were not a good idea in underground tunnels

            The electrification of cities in the second half of the 19th century is what made all those metro systems possible.

    • ROBwithaB

      Trams and trolleybuses (with overhead catenary lines) were
      developed very aggressively in the first half of the 20th century.
      Unfortunately, many cities ripped out that infrastructure in the latter
      half of the century. Which is a great pity. Cities with electrified
      public transport are regularly rated as some of the most “liveable” in
      the world. Diesel buses and taxis just suck. Badly.
      Imagine London
      without all the diesel fumes. Might actually be fun to live there…

      Also, tramcars are just cheerful. Ding ding. What would Melbourne, Toronto or SanFran be without them?

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