MUNICH, Germany In the face of shrinking fossil fuels reserves, alternative automotive drive technologies gain importance. This trend is the major force to establish electrically driven cars as mainstream products, believes market researcher Frost & Sullivan.
Analyst Anjan Heman Kumar expects that in the year 2015, more than 250.000 e-cars will populate Europe's streets. Factors driving the acceptance of these cars are not only high fuel prices, but also emission-related road tolls and similar fees.
"Until the year 2012, manufacturers of electric cars will focus on traffic hot spots such as London, Stockholm, Olso and Rome," Kumar said in his study 'Strategic Assessment of European Passenger Electric Vehicles Market". "Thus, the UK, Scandinavia and Italy along with Spain and France will make up 93 percent of the European market for this type of vehicles. As soon as the OEMs will care more about safety issues and expand their product portfolio, the geographic distribution will become more flat."
Operating expenses and acquisition costs will be important factors for the acceptance of e-cars, the study finds. Frost & Sullivan expects that OEMs and utilities will try to establish models to offer energy and vehicles from the same vendor which could lead to significant changes in the way cars are used and acquired. For instance, the leasing of batteries could have good chances to become strategy of choice.
The introduction of lithium ion batteries, a precondition for the successful roll-out of electric cars, will change the face of the entire industry, Kumar predicts. "As the cruising range expands, the target group for e-cars expands beyond the cities. Batteries offering a cruising range of 150 km make e-cars interesting for the suburb inhabitants, and crusing ranges of 250 km and more include countryside population to the target group."
Frost & Sullivan also believes that electric cars will cover all customer segments from Economy to Premium, with prices differing accordingly. Kumar expects a price range between about 11.000 euros (about $17.000) and 348.000 euros. Operating expenses will be lower compared to current gasoline or diesel driven vehicles. "Users will be able to save between 150 and 700 euros per month, compared to a conventional car. This certainly is an important aspect," Kumar said.