By 2020, J.D. Power and Associates predicts that the global sales of electric vehicles and hybrids will reach 5.2 million. That may sound impressive, but it’s only about 7.3 percent of the total 70.9 passenger vehicles that will be sold, based on its forecasts.
According to Audi Dealerships Los Angeles, these findings show that EV and hybrid sales will steadily rise above the 2.2 percent of sales they’ll account for this year, but of course their overall market share will remain small. The report also suggests that mass adopt of these vehicles will be dependent on either a sharp rise in oil prices, a sharp decrease in the cost of vehicles chargers and batteries, and/or new government policies that heavily promote the adoption of these vehicles.
“We don’t anticipate a mass migration to green vehicles in the coming decade,” John Humphrey, senior VP of automotive operations, said in a statement.
While significant research and development dollars will continue to pour into hybrids and battery electrics, it seems that many consumers are still reluctant to change their ways. J.D. Power found that many consumers are still unhappy with the way these vehicles look, are concerned with how reliable the technology is, or simply aren’t impressed by the power and performance available in these vehicles.
Despite a bevy of variables hindering hybrid and EV adoption, the cost of batteries is perhaps the biggest hurdle. Batteries are expensive, and while government programs help to subsidize the cost of the technology, these vehicles are still pricier than heir conventional counterparts. Many argue that this so called ‘hybrid premium’ won’t be recouped in fuel savings either.
“Many consumers say they are concerned about the environment, but when they find out how much a green vehicle is going to cost, their altruistic inclination declines considerably,” said Humphrey. “For example, among consumers in the U.S. who initially say they are interested in buying a hybrid vehicle, the number declines by some 50 percent when they learn of the extra $5,000, on average, it would cost to acquire the vehicle.”
Another problem confronting EVs like the Nissan Leaf is infrastructure. According to the Electric Power Research Institute, many consumers are expected to charge their vehicles at home. Unfortunately, when consumers are away from home, there is still a dearth of public charging stations available, which will potentially limit vehicle range.
While advanced vehicles like the Leaf, the Chevy Volt, or the Toyota Prius, provide reduced emissions and improved fuel efficiency, those benefits alone may not be enough to win over the masses.