Greentech industry research and consulting firm Pike Research sees the electric vehicle market shifting in 2013. It certainly is a tough industry to thrive within, whether that be startup companies like Tesla, Coda, and Fisker, or major automakers like Nissan, General Motors, Ford, and BMW. Pike Research sees capital investments shifting more this year toward battery components and away from EVs. Components may be more marketable than complete battery packs with limited EV sales volume. Companies like Dow Energy Materials and BASF will continue to invest in anode, cathode, and electrolyte material research and development – though the technology will need to meet some changes in customer expectations, according to the study.
Pike Research predicts more than 210,000 plug-in electric vehicles will be sold globally this year, and consumers will have a wide spectrum of choices as more than three dozen models will debut. As for the growth in other technologies, the study predicts more than 3,400 fuel cell vehicles will be shipped in 2013 by Toyota, Daimler, Hyundai, and Honda; electric bike sales will grow by 50% in North America, reaching 158,000 units sold; 48-volt lead-acid and lithium ion batteries are expected to provide greater reliability and charge acceptance from regenerative braking, compared to 12-volt counterparts; heating and cooling systems will also benefit from the higher-power batteries; Volkswagen, Audi, and BMW are expected to lead Europe’s EV market growth; and, coasting technology is expected to be a hot topic – early tests show Audi and BMW reducing fuel consumption by as much as 10%, but there are technical challenges and liability issues that need to be resolved, the study says.