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STAMFORD, Conn., October 28, 2009 View All Press Releases

Gartner Says the Automotive Industry Is Embracing Electric Vehicles Cautiously to Minimize Disruption and Leverage Key Adoption Criteria

The majority of traditional automakers are taking a careful but positive approach to the development of electric vehicles (EVs), according to Gartner, Inc. This cautious attitude is aimed at minimizing infrastructure-related risks and maximizing return from previous investments made to optimize combustion engines.

Gartner predicts that in industrialized automotive markets, battery-powered vehicles (that is, plug-in full-electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles) will represent 5 to 8 percent of all vehicles sold using various types of propulsion technologies by 2020. Battery-powered vehicles will account for 15 to 20 percent of all vehicle sales by 2030.

"Prospects for the successful development, launch and sale of EVs in industrialized global markets are maturing as a result of automotive industry and technology advancements, infrastructure developments, as well as societal and political trends," said Thilo Koslowski, research vice president at Gartner. "These factors have the potential to lower costs for EVs, simplify the customer ownership experience and accelerate overall market adoption."

Mr. Koslowski highlighted the key factors that will impact EV adoption in the future:

Automotive Industry and Technology Advancements
To test EV market acceptance and prepare for a potential boost in EV production, virtually all global mainstream automobile manufacturers are planning to bring at least one EV model to market in the next four years; some plan to do so even sooner. The growth in EVs is also opening the door to emerging vehicle manufacturers that specialize in the design, development and sale of battery-powered automobiles. Furthermore, the emergence of new supply chain partners that provide engineering, powertrain components, testing and battery offerings continues.

At the same time, key technological advancements are prerequisites for creating dependable battery-powered vehicles in the future and include:

  1. Increased energy density for various chemical compositions in EV batteries and new powertrain designs with increased reliability
  2. Advanced software control models (e.g., for energy, battery and temperature management)
  3. Expanded standardization efforts, such as the SAE J1772 initiative for standardizing EV charging plugs, which is likely to be adopted by most OEMs this year

EV Infrastructure Developments
Infrastructure developments require massive investments to provide users with a seamless transportation experience for battery-powered vehicles. To this end, infrastructure efforts need to accomplish new forms of collaboration between vehicle manufacturers, energy providers, charging service providers and vehicle owners. Gartner predicts that EV brokers will play a critical role in achieving this required collaboration aimed at simplifying EV ownership, but brokers' business models will need to adapt to a changing value chain over the next five years.

Societal and Political Trends
Consumer awareness about the operational costs of passenger vehicle ownership and the desire to meet environmental objectives has grown steadily in developed countries over the last three years in response to rising awareness about global warming, higher fuel costs and vehicle emissions. At the same time, regional governments have also increased their financial support for EV development.

Gartner predicts that governmental support for EV and other alternative propulsion technologies will continue until competitive market dynamics are strong enough to ensure sufficient momentum. Governments will also play a vital role in enforcing the standardization of critical technology elements that will accelerate infrastructure deployments. For example, governments could require that automakers make battery charge information available to other companies in order to develop reliable charging solutions and manage electric grid requirements.

Additional information is available in the Gartner report "The Electric Vehicle's Value Chain and Technology Evolution." The report is available on Gartner's Website at http://www.gartner.com/DisplayDocument?ref=g_search&id=1179817&subref=simplesearch.

 

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