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High Prices Will Limit EV Sales in 2012, Says Research Firm

December 20, 2011

BOULDER, Colo. — A white paper issued by Pike Research revealed that many potential buyers will hold off on purchases of electric vehicles (EVs) during 2012 due to the premium pricing of the vehicles. Nissan has already raised the price of the Leaf for 2012. And while the 2012 Chevrolet Volt will sell for $1,000 less, the car comes without several features that were previously standard but are now options.

Pike Research’s Electric Vehicle Consumer Survey indicated that the optimal price for a plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) to engage consumers is $23,750. With the 2012 Toyota Prius PHEV ($32,000), the Honda Fit BEV ($36,625), and the Ford Focus EV ($39,995) all north of $30,000 (before federal incentives), consumers looking for an affordable EV ride continue to wait. These relatively high selling prices will constrain the market for PEVs in 2012, according to Pike Research.

“Vehicles on sale in 2012 will not benefit from recent cost reductions in batteries,” said John Gartner, research director. “The batteries in these vehicles were ordered before 2012, so any flexibility in reducing vehicle pricing will not occur until 2013 or 2014 at the earliest. Nevertheless, the global market for plug-in electric vehicles will grow to more than a quarter million vehicles in 2012 — a number sufficient to put an end to the ‘are they for real?’ speculation that has surrounded this market.”

Pike Research’s industry predictions for 2012 include the following:

• Car-sharing services will expand the market for EVs and hybrids.

• Battery production will outstrip vehicle production.

• The Asia-Pacific region will become the early leader in vehicle-to-grid (V2G) systems.

• Third-party EV charging companies will dominate public charging sales.

• Employers will begin to purchase EV chargers in large numbers.

• EVs will begin to function as home appliances.

Pike Research’s white paper, “Electric Vehicles: 10 Predictions for 2012,” analyzes 10 key trends that will influence the development of the electric vehicle market in 2012 and beyond. For more information, visit www.pikeresearch.com.

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