After decades of dominance by internal combustion engines, the worldwide automobile market is diversifying at a rapid pace.
Government incentives, consumer desire for more fuel-efficient, cleaner forms of transportation, and fleet managers’ interest in lower-cost operations are all driving growth in electric vehicles and alternative fuel vehicles, including ones powered by fuel cells and natural gas.
According to a recent report from Navigant Research, worldwide sales of electric and alternative fuel vehicles will grow from 6.6 million in 2014 to nearly 12.4 million in 2022.
“Although gasoline and diesel will still account for the majority of vehicle purchases 8 years from now, EVs, fuel cell vehicles, and natural gas vehicles will present a growing number of buyers with appealing choices,” says Scott Shepard, research analyst with Navigant Research. “Reduced fuel costs and savings on maintenance are the primary reasons for growing interest in these vehicles, but new technology is making them attractive in other areas, as well.”
The increasing availability of electric vehicles is playing a major role in the development of this market, according to the report.
Hybrid electric vehicles are widely available in North America, Western and Eastern Europe, and Asia Pacific, but limited elsewhere. Plug-in hybrid and battery electric models are increasing in number, and will be less limited by the end of 2014 or mid-2015 in most regions.
Automakers have yet to launch plug-in hybrid models in many countries, but several new models are expected to launch in 2014-2015.