Boston, Massachusetts – Prominent plug-in cars like the Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf are grabbing headlines, but the bulk of future growth in electric vehicle batteries will be driven by more humble vehicles such as e-bikes and micro-hybrids, according to a report by Lux Research. The overall market for energy storage technologies that power electric vehicles is set to grow from US$13 billion in 2011 to $30 billion in 2016.

“Although battery prices for all-electric and hybrid passenger cars are dropping, they’re not dropping far enough or quickly enough to fuel the sort of broad adoption that advocates expect,” said Lux analyst Kevin See. “Instead, the substantial growth we see for vehicle-related storage technologies will be powered mostly by e-bikes, which are shifting from lead acid to (lithium-ion) battery technology, and micro-hybrids, which offer a more incremental, low-risk way for automakers to improve fuel efficiencies.”

Among the report’s key findings:

– Micro-hybrids offer automakers the shortest road to improved fuel efficiency. These vehicles, which apply energy storage only toward start-stop and/or regenerative braking applications, require neither the drastic redesigns nor the more expensive battery costs of all-electric or hybrid vehicles. They are set to surpass these other passenger vehicle types in terms of both total storage and dollars, growing to $3.1 billion in 2016.

– E-bikes pack minimal storage but compensate with sheer volume. Replacement batteries for the currently deployed base, largely in China, plus strong growth in new sales will drive growth to $24.3 billion in 2016.

– While lithium-ion technology in e-bikes and super-capacitors in micro-hybrids will eat into market share, advanced lead-acid batteries dominate the current and future market. Overall, the market for lead-acid batteries will grow to $16.1 billion in 2016.

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