With our interest in plug-in electric cars spanning decades now, many of us have noted that there are dozens of completely different predictions/models for market adoption that highly vary in regards to expected market share. A recent study reviewed those models.

The new Nissan LEAF

The new Nissan LEAF

A research team from Argonne National Laboratory, Oak Ridge National Laboratories (U.S.), the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research ISI, and German Aerospace Center (Germany), compared 40 market diffusion models from 16 countries.

The models had some similarities and differences, as well as various assumptions. Some models neglected some factors that seem to be important, and all that together results in predictions so varied that after reading several reports with all sorts of scenarios, you still can't make sense of what's wrong or right.

Will there be 10% market share or 30%?

Read Also - Edison Electric Institute Predicts 7 Million Plug-In EVs On US Roads By 2025

The new study was done to connect the factors and try to sort out their impact on overall plug-in electric car sales.

Thomas Stephens, a researcher at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory, who co-led the study, said:

“The value of the models is not in their predictive power, but in connecting ‘important’ factors in a way that enables us to construct some possible future based on what we know about consumer behavior and other factors."

In the case of the U.S., very important factors in the models are price and operating costs. But in case of Germany, it turns out that energy prices and charging infrastructure are the primary considerations.

"The study focused on addressing the following specific questions:

  • What are the projected market shares for a particular region?
  • What are consumers’ primary purchase considerations?
  • What is the effect of rebates, tax credits, battery research and development and high-occupancy vehicle lane access?
  • What is the potential effect of PEV sales on petroleum demand, emissions and demand for electricity?
Though researchers cannot predict if or when PEVs could reach a tipping point in the U.S., they can help identify factors that could speed or hinder the adoption process, according to Stephens.

Based on their study, the team offers several findings for future PEV models that address important considerations neglected by many of the models they reviewed: the limited range, available charging infrastructure and the technological and projected cost improvements of batteries over time."

Check out the article linked below for a look at various projections. Included are some nifty graphics, too.

Article: What drives the market for plug-in electric vehicles? - A review of international PEV market diffusion models

Source: Argonne National Laboratory via Green Car Congress