The market for plug-in electric vehicles (PEV) opened in earnest in 2010, with the Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Volt battling for market leadership; while the Tesla Roadster was targeting the high end of the performance market.
Since then, several manufacturers have launched new models. The worldwide plug-in market is anticipated by Pike Research to grow from 137,950 units in 2012 to 1.75 million in 2019.
The 2013 model year is looking increasingly competitive, and manufacturers should carefully choose their strategies for bringing vehicles to market. According to a new Pike Pulse report titled “Pike Pulse Report: Plug-In Electric Vehicles,” Chevrolet and Renault currently lead the market thanks to high ratings for both strategy and execution.
In addition to Chevrolet and Renault, Japanese automakers Toyota and Nissan are also strong contenders, the study concludes.
The 16 manufacturers studied in this Pike Pulse report have launched or will launch PEV models within the year, and include mainstream manufacturers as well as startup manufacturers Fisker and Tesla.
The report rated the 16 companies on 12 criteria for strategy and execution, including vision, go-to-market strategy, partners, product strategy and roadmap, geographic reach, market share, sales and marketing, product performance, product quality and reliability, pricing, product portfolio, and staying power.
“The early adopter market for PEVs is being driven largely by lower operating costs and the desire for zero emissions driving,” says senior research analyst Dave Hurst. “These two key factors are not proving to be as effective as expected, though, and PEVs remain a small niche in the overall automobile market. For all of the manufacturers included in this Pike Pulse report, vehicle cost remains a huge hurdle for greater adoption, and the success stories will be those automakers who take advantage of technology advances to lower the price premiums of their vehicles.”
Pike’s analysts said in their report that Chevrolet’s Volt model has performed strongly, and the company has a mix of battery electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles in forthcoming model years.
Meanwhile, Renault has successfully launched several Z.E.-branded vehicles, including the Fluence, Twizy, and Kangoo, proving that even with polarizing designs like the Twizy, it has the ability to bring unique vehicles to market and find a niche.
In the Contenders grouping, Ford Motor Company, Toyota, and Nissan are vying to move into leader positions, this Pike Pulse finds.
Toyota and Nissan (the current sales leader in battery electric vehicles) are limited by their narrow product portfolios, according to the report.
While Ford has not yet fully executed its well-laid plans, the company is poised for growth with a broad portfolio of PEVs and flexible manufacturing.