Electrified vehicle production forecast to jump 67% globally in 2014

IHS Automotive forecasts a 67% increase in electrified vehicle production globally in 2014, especially driven by strong EV growth in Europe and China.

I recently wrote a piece about electric vehicle (EV) predictions for 2014. Since then, IHS Automotive has put out a report forecasting that production of EVs and plug-in hybrid EVs (PHEVs) would grow 67% globally this year, just a little bit more than the 3.6% growth forecast for the automobile market as a whole.

In my humble opinion, the IHS forecast is a good guess. U.S. EV and PHEV sales increased by “only” 22% in January 2014 compared with the January last year but several new EV models are just about to hit the U.S. market and I’m sure many buyers are waiting on them. Furthermore, huge price drops on a couple of EV models have been announced but are not yet in effect. Even more importantly, some non-U.S. markets are on the verge of “waking up,” and that’s where the strongest electrified vehicle sales growth and production growth is likely to occur.

“European emissions standards are tightening in the second half of this year,” Ben Scott, an analyst for IHS Automotive, said. “At the same time, European automakers are introducing compelling new EV models.” Yep — the BMW i3 is a hot new car that will see a lot of sales, Mercedes is bringing out its first electric car, and Volkswagen is also just now bringing its first EV — the VW e-Up! — to market. Having driven the BMW i3 and the VW e-Up!, and also seen their prices, I’m convinced they are going to have a pretty decent opening year. The BMW i3 is the nicest car I’ve driven (of any type), and the VW e-Up! is a great drive at a more affordable price for most families. Tesla has also just recently entered the European market. Widely considered the best mass-market car in the world (of any type), its Model S is sure to make its way into many European homes.

Beyond the U.S. and Europe, China is expected to see strong EV growth in 2014. The government recently announced some big incentives to increase EV adoption in the country, partly in response to the tremendous air quality problems it has been having. Beijing has announced that it will roll out 20,000 EVs in 2014 (and 170,000 by 2017). At the same time, it is limiting the sale of new gas and diesel cars. Several new Chinese EV models have been introduced recently, mirroring what we’ve been seeing in the U.S. and Europe. And, again, Tesla is just now entering this market, a market with an insane appetite for luxury cars. So, China (like Europe) should see a pretty strong explosion in EV sales this year. Even if U.S. growth didn’t rise above the 22% figure it saw in January (which I think is unlikely), the European and Chinese EV market growth could probably make up for that.

In total, IHS Automotive forecasts that 403,000 electrified vehicles will be produced globally in 2014, compared to 242,000 in 2013.

No annual sales or production forecast is spot on, and we’ll see how close IHS Automotive’s turns out to be, but I think it looks good enough to say that I’d put my money on it.

As ABB’s director of electric mobility, Hans Streng, recently wrote in a couple of articles, EV battery prices are dropping fast — which means that overall EV prices are dropping fast — and when you combine that with the many advantages of EVs over their gas- and diesel-powered cousins, there’s no avoiding the fact that we’re going to see an EV revolution with “mindboggling” ramifications. I’m certainly looking forward to it!

Editor’s note: This is a guest post written by Zachary Shahan, editor of CleanTechnica and Planetsave. The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect or represent the views of ABB or its employees.

Feature image credit: jurvetson under a cc license via Flickr


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  • Marcelo Pacheco

    The real question is how much extra capacity the li-ion plants can add.
    Tesla is 100% battery constrained.
    They just closed a deal for 2 billion battery cells, enough for 300k cars.
    There are doing only absolute minimum marketing (essentially just showing up at auto shows, youtube, twitter, facebook, Elon being interviewed all over), yet some Tesla customers caused over 20 new orders by giving their neighbors test drives, and most car sales generate 2 or 3 new orders from the same neighborhood (as the neighbors hitch a ride and fall in love).
    "we really are production constrained, not demand constrained."
    So they're trying to limit extra demand to avoid frustrating customers.

    If li-ion cells were not a factor, Tesla could more than double production every year in the next 3 years, with a little more marketing as they complete a basic north america and european supercharger coverage that removes the range anxiety factors from new customers.
    My bet is model E introduction will wait, as they get swamped with model X orders, while model S production continues to rise over 50% every year until 2020.
    They shouldn't startup a high volume production line until li-ion cells are available with capacity to spare.