Growing EV market is much more than passenger cars

December 06, 2013 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Despite all scepticism, the number of electric vehicles on Europe's roads is rising. Official figures from GErmany show 5,606 electric vehicles are registered. Not a really impressing figure, butfrom that base it is growing at 16%. The global market for electromobility however is poisedfor rapid growth, from its current value of $69 billion to $334 billion within ten years, believes market researcher IDTechEx.

Behind the strong growth figures and predicted market volume the analysts find that electromobility is far from being confined to makers of passenger cars.The largest slice of the market is occupied by industrial and offroad electric mobility, military vehicles and electric buses. One of the reason this segment is so huge (in terms of money, not necessarily in terms of units): In these market segments the price pressure is much lower than in the passenger car market (hybrid as well as battery-electric). Instead, for buyers in these segments, Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) and performance are primary buying criteria.

Fig. 1: Electric passenger cars represent only a small fraction of the total electromobility market.

According to IDTechEx, the markets for military, industrial and commercial vehicles are evenly split between on-road and off-road types. The top ten list of vendors to these segments is populated by little known names such as Kion Industries and Jungheinrich - companies well known among fork lift buyers, but not so popular in the general public. Nevertheless, in this list we also find Toyota, and according to IDTechEx, the Japanese company dwarfs its next nine competitors together in terms of EV sales. Not only for its dominating share in the hybrid car market, but even more so for its huge sales fork lifts (actually, it is the global market leader in this segment) and buses with electric powertrain. With this broad market position and design experience, Toyota can cross-fertilise technologies and continue to widen its portfolio. "Companies entering the top ten over the coming decade will be characterised through a broad approach and / or backing the next winners such as Yutong in the Chinese e-bus market", said IDTechEx chairman Peter Harrop. This market is important: China will buy more than 80% of the world's electric buses.

In terms of electronics, the IDTechEx report ("Electric Vehicles, Forecasts, Trends and Opportunities 2014-2024") also provides insights to car