European fuel prices have been significantly higher than in North America for many years, and therefore small, efficient gasoline- and diesel-engine cars have led European sales figures.
In the coming years, national energy policies and the increasing availability of electric vehicle charging infrastructure will help fuel strong growth in the market for plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs).
According to a recent report from Navigant Research, sales of PEVs will grow from fewer than 37,000 in 2012 to more than 669,000 in 2020.
Including hybrid electric vehicles, total electrified vehicle sales will reach 849,000 in 2020, the study concludes.
“Governments and private entities are taking steps to alleviate range anxiety, which has been a significant barrier to growth in this market,” says David Alexander, senior research analyst with Navigant Research. “Charging infrastructure is being installed rapidly in many countries throughout Europe, and fast charging stations are now planned on many motorways to allow the wider use of PEVs. There is even a project underway to allow a charging subscription in one country to be made effective all over Europe.”
However, battery charging technology remains an issue in Europe, with additional costs incurred by infrastructure operators who want to make sure that their equipment is compatible with all the vehicles on the road, regardless of which plug design is used. Debate continues on the pros and cons of AC versus DC fast charging, according to the report, but is not expected to significantly delay the deployment of charging infrastructure.
An Executive Summary of the report is available for free download on the Navigant Research website.