Lexington, Massachusetts – Electric vehicles (EVs), including plug-in hybrids and battery-electrics, will comprise nearly 20 per cent of the global market for light vehicles in 2030, according to automotive industry analysts at IHS Global Insight.  

The company forecasts an 8.6 per cent market share for plug-in hybrids, and a 9.9 per cent share for battery electrics.

“The advantages of electric vehicles are numerous – the multiplicity of energy sources, reduced emissions, reduced noise, the possibility of reduced operating costs – but so too are the challenges,” said Philip Gott, director of automotive science and technology.

The development of powerful, long-lasting batteries and ready access to a reliable power grid for recharging remain the critical issues for success. In addition to technology limitations, high costs and expectations of consumers accustomed to internal combustion engine vehicles must also be overcome before the plugged-in vehicles achieve significant acceptance.

Gott said major challenges to be overcome include long range, versatility, cost and uncertainty over battery life, perceptions of safety hazards, and adequacy of the power grid.

The study concludes that battery electric vehicles will find a natural home in urban environments, while plug-in hybrids will play a traditional role in suburban environments where range anxiety is a real concern. At issue is whether consumers will continue to use personal motor vehicles for work or play as they do today, or whether there will be a strong move away from the extensive use of privately-owned cars in urban areas, accompanied by significant third-party influence changing consumer attitudes towards cars and how they are used.

Consumers are expected to be initially more attracted to plug-in hybrids because of their range and convenience, but as infrastructure evolves, many will realize they are running predominantly in full electric mode, and a large-scale switch to electric-only vehicles could begin.

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