Westlake Village, California – Hybrid and battery electric vehicles face challenges in all markets and their anticipated sales may be over-hyped, according to a new report by J.D. Power and Associates. Combined global sales of hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) and battery electric vehicles (BEVs) are expected to total 5.2 million units in 2020, just 7.3 per cent of the 70.9 million passenger vehicles forecast to be sold worldwide that year.

For comparison, global HEV and BEV sales in 2010 are forecast to total 954,500 vehicles, or 2.2 per cent of the 44.7 million vehicles projected to be sold through to the end of 2010.

The report, Drive Green 2020: More Hope than Reality considers factors affecting the future potential for “green” vehicles in the world’s largest automotive markets, including market trends, regulatory environment, consumer sentiment and technology development. The report said that it will be difficult to convince large numbers of consumers to switch from conventionally-powered passenger vehicles to HEVs and BEVs, and a consumer migration will most likely require either a significant increase in the global price of petroleum-based fuels by 2020, and/or a coordinated government policy to encourage consumers to purchase these vehicles. Based on currently available information, neither scenario is believed to be likely during the next ten years.

“While considerable interest exists among governments, media and environmentalists in promoting HEVs and BEVs, consumers will ultimately decide whether these vehicles are commercially successful or not,” said John Humphrey, senior vice-president of automotive operations at J.D. Power and Associates. “Based on our research of consumer attitudes toward these technologies, and barring significant changes to public policy, including tax incentives and higher fuel economy standards, we don’t anticipate a mass migration to green vehicles in the coming decade.”

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