22% Green Cars on the Road by 2030?

What will it take for plug-in hybrids (PHVs)and electric vehicles (EVs)to fulfill their potential as the green transportation of choice in the coming decade? Two things, according to new market research by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF): an increase in pain at the pump, and a decrease in the cost of batteries.

BNEF believes that, should these factors converge, PHVs and EVs have the potential to make up 9% of auto sales in 2020 and 22% in 2030 (1.6 million and 4 million vehicle sales, respectively). In order to fulfill that potential, however, manufacturers will have to find a way to lower the sticker shock associated with these cars, as the median base price of autos sold between July 2009 and June 2010 in the US was $21,800–and the much-hyped Nissan Leaf will cost $26,280 with a charger, even after some help from Uncle Sam in the form of federal subsidies, bringing it in at a price point higher than three quarters of all new auto sales.

Nissan Leaf

image via Nissan

The BNEF’s research identifies first the ‘addressable market’ for plug-in vehicles–those consumer segments which can afford the vehicle, have suitable range requirements and have access to an appropriate location for charging. Secondly, their research goes on to forecast the proportion of consumers within the addressable market who might actually purchase such a vehicle. Third, it models the way that different adjustments in the price of gasoline are likely to aid in driving sales of these vehicles. BNEF’s plug-in vehicle forecasts are published as part of its Energy Smart Technologies Insight Service.

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Susan DeFreitas has covered all manner of green technology for EarthTechling since 2009. She is a graduate of Prescott College for the Liberal Arts and the Environment, and has a background in marketing green businesses. Her work on green living has been featured in Yes! Magazine, the Utne Reader and Natural Home.

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