Plug-In Vehicles to Represent 3% of Global Automotive Market by 2020; PHEV Sales to Easily Outnumber Sales of BEVs in US

4 years ago by Eric Loveday 12

Navigant Research Sales Prediction Chart

Navigant Research Sales Prediction Chart

The latest future predictions are in, so let’s jump right to the numbers.

In North America, PHEVs Like the Chevy Volt Will Outnumber BEVs, says Navigant Research

Build Your 2020 Volt…In North America, PHEVs Like the Chevy Volt Will Outnumber BEVs, says Navigant Research

According to Navigant Research, conventional hybrid vehicles (those autos without plugs) account for 2% of global light duty vehicle sales today, but are expected to grow to almost 4% by 2020.

Of course, we could care less about those vehicles that lack what should be considered mandatory for all automobiles: a plug.

So, let’s move on.

Navigant Research predicts that the plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) market will grow rapidly as a result of rising fuel prices, declining vehicle prices and increasing availability of plug-in offerings.  The result, says Navigant, is that 3 million PEVs will be sold globally/annually by 2020, which means that PEVs will represent 3% of the global light-duty vehicle market by the end of 2020.

Japan will lead the world in PEV sales, according to Navigant, who predicts that nearly 900,000 plug-ins will be sold on the island nation in 2020.

Here are a few additional highlights from Navigant’s report, which Green Car Congress outlines for us below:

  • North America is the only market anticipated to have significantly higher sales of PHEVs than BEVs (a 1.5:1 sales ratio); Western Europe, Asia Pacific, and Latin America will be almost evenly split between the drivetrains.
  • Asia Pacific is projected to be the largest market for plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs), with 1.6 million PHEV and BEV sales combined in 2020.

Source: Navigant Research via Green Car Congress

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12 responses to "Plug-In Vehicles to Represent 3% of Global Automotive Market by 2020; PHEV Sales to Easily Outnumber Sales of BEVs in US"

  1. Assaf says:

    It is always a laugh to hear the “projections” from conventional-wisdom MBA type bodies, about non-conventional stuff.

    We’ll meet in 2020 hopefully. But I am willing to place a bet right now that things will be pretty far from that forecast on most aspects.

    In particular, the conventional wisdom keeps telling Americans that PHEVs make more sense for them than BEVs, but…. strangely enough, it is BEV sales that are taking off this year while PHEV sales are nearly flat. The secret truth that BEVs are now much lower on cost-of-ownership than gas cars, is starting to come out.

    1. Anthony says:

      BEV/PHEV growth comes in steps. BEVs are getting to step 2 (slightly improved first-gen tech but lower prices) quicker than PHEVs. When PHEVs get to step 2 then we’ll see their sales numbers increase. Just like when we get to step 3 – second generation technologies – we’ll see sales jump again.

      1. evnow says:

        BEVs will always be a step ahead of PHEVs, which are inherently more complicated to make.

        Ofcourse, if GM had selected to start with a compact SUV/CUV, the result might have been different.

  2. David Murray says:

    PHEVs do make more sense in America than in places like Japan. After all, when your entire island nation is only 140 miles wide and 810 miles long, its pretty easy to put charging stations anywhere you might need one. I can drive 600 miles and not even leave my state of Texas. And most of that is empty space with no civilization worth talking about.

  3. bloggin says:

    I think BEVs will do much better than this report estimates. As gas prices continue to climb, and BEV range increases to 160+ miles, while BEV pricing drops year after year. It will be a no brainer to buy a BEV over anything that burns gasoline as a commuter car. As long as the consumer has a location at home to charge the car.

    Hybrids and Plug-in hybrids will lead the way with SUVs, trucks and other vehicles primarily used for long distance travel. Car sharing companies should really do well in the future when focused on larger ICE vehicles and targeting the growing BEV demographic’s temporary transportation needs.

    Already the difference between buying a BEV minus the fuel savings is like having a new car for just a $30/mo lease.

    Whats holding consumer back today is price, the lack of vehicle choices and range. In the future, public charging stations will only be a rarely used ack-up plan for 160+ mile EVs.

    1. David Murray says:

      No, I believe ignorance is the main thing holding back sales.

  4. kdawg says:

    I can’t speak for the world, but I’ve made some charts for PHEV marketshare in the US.
    These are on the marketshare tab at http://www.kdawg.com

    1. Josh says:

      Great plots. I checked out the link embedded in your handle once in the past, but I obviously didn’t dig around deep enough. I have some clever plotting ideas of my own, maybe we can join forces.

      1. Jay Cole says:


        /so could not resist

      2. kdawg says:

        If there’s data, I like to plot it 🙂

        (hard part is getting the data)

  5. Suprise Cat says:

    What’s their number for this year? Is that a 100k or 200k?

    And 300k next year? So we can see much quicker, if they can get even short term numbers right. If not, their long term numbers will be the same nonsense.

  6. Josh says:

    “Of course, we could care less about those vehicles that lack what should be considered mandatory for all automobiles: a plug.”

    That is the most accurate statement (for me) in any article I have read on this or any other site.

    But back to the topic. I think the “independent experts” are drawing very comfortable (incorrect) curved lines, in their predictions. I cannot see how a growth in PHEVs will not significantly erode the HEV base. I think the HEV (green) will erode at the expense of the PHEV (burnt orange) growth.

    Additionally the BEV (blue), will grow rapidly at the expense of both, strongly in the 2017 timeframe, once more compelling (range) vehicles hit the road along with a comprehensive quick charging infrastructure.

    The total vehicles is probably accurate and will trend upward as “vehicles with a plug” choices penetrate more vehicle classes and manufacturers.

    I would make my own plot, kdawg style, but I am tired, and not sure how to get it to post correctly in the comments. 🙂