500% More Electric Vehicle Revenue Coming by 2021

Hyundai Sonata plug-in
Hyundai Sonata PHEV charging | Source: Hyundai

We know plug-in vehicles have finally reached the crossroads. But how much will the segment actually grow in the foreseeable future? According to a new analysis by market intelligence firm ABI Research, electric vehicle revenue will top $58 billion in 2021, which is more than five times the number hit in 2015. Multi-modal electrified transport will be the key to that leap, the firm said.

By multi-modal solutions, we mean the wave of transportation options that includes electric buses, e-bikes, shared vehicles, plug-in pickup trucks, and light-rail options along with the passenger EVs American consumers are coming to know. ABI referenced the work by Ford and BMW in the e-bike space as an example of major automakers adopting different uses of the technology, and the list has been growing by the month.

BMW reach now, electric vehicle revenue
ReachNow is BMW’s car-sharing solution for Seattle that includes the electric i3. | Source: BMW

BMW recently launched the ReachNow car-sharing service in Seattle that includes its electric i3 with a range-extending gas engine. Ford, for its part, is approaching the issue with several programs folded into the sweeping FordPass mobility initiative. GM’s half-billion-dollar investment in Lyft and the partnership between Google and Fiat Chrysler are two more recent examples. ABI Research sees more of the same from every major automaker.

BYD, the world leader among EV manufacturers, has seen fantastic growth in plug-in passenger car sales as incentives remain strong in China, but that is only one side of its master plan. The Warren Buffet-backed company has entered the U.S. public transit market with electric buses now in operation in several states. As local and state governments look for ways to improve air quality, incentive-backed investments in e-buses will become more common.

byd bus full
A BYD electric bus in operation out west. | Source: BYD

ABI cited the rapid growth of the segment in China as reason to believe in the 500% electric vehicle revenue growth its analysts expect. While the U.S. has been comparatively slow in the volume of adoption, the company said the arrival of the Tesla Model 3 and Chevy Bolt EV should change the situation for domestic consumers still harboring range anxiety and other concerns.

Ride-share services’ entry to the fray would represent another tipping point, and ABI said it “expect[s] greater adoption through fleet purchases including Uber and Lyft.” The emissions reductions cities are hoping to achieve would need a combination of zero-emissions vehicles and smart-mobility solutions like self-driving cars to make it happen on a significant scale.

Of course, every near-future mobility product has to consider how it would fit into the crippling congestion common in urban areas around the world. Car ownership for city residents has become as problematic as it is expensive, and the greener solutions that also address the big traffic problem seem positioned for success. According to ABI, “the variety and flexibility of electric vehicles and increasing urban congestion” bode very well for the segment.

Source: ABI Research

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