Ford, Toyota to lead U.S. in plug-in EV sales

Nissan might have been one of the first major automakers to introduce a plug-in electric vehicle. But it's not expected to be a market leader.

Japanese automaker Toyota and U.S.-based Ford Motor Co. will lead the plug-in electric vehicle market in terms of total units sold in the U.S. from 2012 to 2020, Pike Research forecast in a report released Wednesday.

Nissan, despite its early introduction of the Leaf, will trail Toyota, Ford and GM by a significant margin through end of the decade, research director John Gartner said in the report on plug-in electric vehicles. Ford, which has been slower than some competitors to enter the passenger PEV market, has ambitious future plans and will be the only automaker to surpass 400,000 PEVs sold in the U.S. through 2020, Gartner said.

Global sales of hybrid electric vehicles, or HEVs, will surpass 1 million units in 2012--15 years after the first Toyota Prius went on sale in Japan. Sales of PEVs will reach this milestone after only seven years in the market, Pike Research said. (See graphic)

Despite the sunny outlook, the market still won't reach the frequently quoted goal of 1 million PEVs on the road in the U.S. by 2015, Pike Research said. Instead, the goal will be met by 2018.

Pike Research forecasts the global PEV market will reach 137,950 units in 2012--still a small number compared to traditional gasoline-powered vehicle sales. PEV sales in the U.S. will reach 47,966 units, making it the country with the highest number of PEV sales. The U.S. will maintain its lead role at least through 2020, Pike Research said.

Other highlights from the report:

  • Japanese market is expected to see 32,226 sales of battery electric vehicles (BEVs) compared to just 2,840 plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs).
  • Asia Pacific, North America and Western Europe will each represent roughly one-third of the PEV market in the mid-term.
  • As China's PEV market begins to grow in 2013 and expand throughout the decade, Asia Pacific will become the world's largest market for PEVs.

Photo: Ford Motor Co.

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This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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