Boulder, Colorado – A total of 1.7 million plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) will be on the road worldwide by 2015, according to a forecast by Pike Research. Major automakers are preparing to launch the first models in a new generation of PHEVs in 2010 and the vehicles will follow a similar adoption pattern as that of hybrid electric vehicles over the past few years, the company said.

“PHEV programs will focus initially on the small car segment, which will represent 80 per cent of sales in 2015, followed by the small SUV segment with 10 per cent of the market,” said industry analyst Dave Hurst. Pike forecasts that the U.S. will be the leading market for PHEVs, with more than 610,000 vehicles sold over the next five years, with China a close second at just over 540,000 during the same period.

Hurst anticipates that Toyota, General Motors and Ford combined will account for three-quarters of the world market for PHEVs by 2015, but that emerging Chinese manufacturers such as Chery and BYD Auto are a market force that should not be ignored in the longer term.

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