The US is well positioned to lead the global competition for EV supremacy. A 2010 McKinsey research firm study suggests that the US is the nation most likely to lead the world in electric car ownership in the coming years.
America is the home of car culture and the nation has a strong domestic auto market. The US has one of the largest vehicle markets in the world and this trend is expected to continue well into the future. According to a J.D. Power and Associates Report, the US is expected to reach 17.4 million auto sales in 2020. Market analyses by energy research firm SBI Energy show that of the 204 million personal vehicles in the US, the average household owns 1.9 vehicles. The viability of the US bid for EV supremacy also derives from the fact the America is the world’s wealthiest nation.
According to an SBI Energy report, Electric Vehicle (EV) and Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) Markets Worldwide, in the six years between 2004 and 2009, the number of HEV available models around the world has tripled to 29 and the number of brands producing hybrids has jumped from six to fourteen. In fact, almost a third of the hybrids being offered in the US have 2010 as their first model year.
Global sales of hybrid electric vehicles rose 33% in 2009 with 700,000 vehicles sold in an unfavorable climate that saw the overall auto market plunge worldwide. “SBI Energy’s first EV market study entitled, Electric Vehicle (EV) Infrastructure Manufacturing projects North America will hold 20% of the electric vehicle infrastructure manufacturing market by 2014, driven by government incentive programs and the movement toward eco-friendly consumer lifestyles,” says Shelley Carr, publisher for SBI Energy. “While government capital is vital, growth also depends heavily on the investment interests of the private sector and the adoption of electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles by consumers.”
China is already a leader in the transition from fossil fuel powered cars to electric vehicles. China has a proven capacity for mass producing things inexpensively. Chinese auto manufacturers also have a huge domestic market. A J.D. Power and Associates Report predicts that China is expected to reach 35 million light-vehicle sales in 2020.
China is not alone in its pursuit of global supremacy, Germany and France are also vying for leadership in the EV sector.
Despite serious challenges, America’s viability as a global EV leader was corroborated in a study that says the US is the most likely to spearhead a movement toward electric cars from gasoline-driven cars as a means of mass transportation. This is the finding of a research index from McKinsey & Company, a global consultancy firm.
McKinsey’s electric-vehicle index gauges nine variables including consumers’ favorability toward electric cars, a segment where America ranks highly. The US ranked first in the electric-vehicle index ahead of France, Germany, China and other Western European countries.
America is in a competitive position due largely to government support of EVs. In 2007, Congress set aside $25 billion in Department of Energy low-interest loans to encourage the advancement of alternative-fuel vehicles, including EVs. The DOE has made $8.5 billion in loans to Nissan, Ford, Tesla Motors, Tenneco and Fisker Automotive. President Barack Obama also earmarked another $2.4 billion in grants for battery-makers and other electric-vehicle component-makers in 2009. The stimulus package also included a $2,500 to $7,500 tax credit to consumers who purchase EVs.
These investments have put America in the position to lead the race to be the leader in one of the most expansive economic and technological opportunities of our times. The demand for EVs is sure to keep growing. As this demand grows so will the response from automakers. Nissan and General Motors already plan to have a combined capacity to build hundreds of thousands of EVs in the US by next year (2012).
The growth of EV sales will also positively impact associated industries. Pike Research projects that $61 million will be spent across the US on EV charging equipment during 2011.
This is a boon for American business, not only in terms of the vehicles themselves but in terms of the infrastructure needed to support EVs.
© 2011, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.
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