J.D.Power: EVs Are Hype

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt
j d power evs are hype

In a former life, I had worked a bit with J.D. Power. I knew them intimately. We had our issues. This is one of the few times I wholeheartedly agree with them. “Future global market demand for hybrid and battery electric vehicles may be over-hyped” is the conclusion of a new J.D.Power study, titled “Drive Green 2020: More Hope than Reality.”

For 2010, J.D.Power sees worldwide sales of hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) and battery electric vehicles (BEVs) to total 954,500 vehicles, or 2.2 percent of the 44.7 million vehicles projected to be sold through the end of 2010. That picture should surely change 10 years later, no?

No. By 2020, J.D.Power sees combined global sales of HEVs and BEVs at 5.2 million units, or just 7.3 percent of the 70.9 million passenger vehicles forecasted to be sold worldwide by that year. And what’s keeping them? It’s not range anxiety. It’s plain old money.

“While many consumers around the world say they are interested in HEVs and BEVs for the expected fuel savings and positive environmental impact they provide, their interest declines significantly when they learn of the price premium that comes with purchasing these vehicles.”

“Many consumers say they are concerned about the environment, but when they find out how much a green vehicle is going to cost, their altruistic inclination declines considerably,” said Humphrey. “For example, among consumers in the U.S. who initially say they are interested in buying a hybrid vehicle, the number declines by some 50 percent when they learn of the extra $5,000, on average, it would cost to acquire the vehicle.”

If hybrids and plugins are supposed to be a huge success, one, or preferably more of the following needs to happen.

  • A significant increase in the global price of petroleum-based fuels by 2020
  • A substantial breakthrough in green technologies that would reduce costs and improve consumer confidence
  • A coordinated government policy to encourage consumers to purchase these vehicles.

But, says the report, “based on currently available information, none of these scenarios are believed to be likely during the next 10 years.”

“While considerable interest exists among governments, media and environmentalists in promoting HEVs and BEVs, consumers will ultimately decide whether these vehicles are commercially successful or not,” said John Humphrey, senior vice president of automotive operations at J.D. Power and Associates. “Based on our research of consumer attitudes toward these technologies—and barring significant changes to public policy, including tax incentives and higher fuel economy standards—we don’t anticipate a mass migration to green vehicles in the coming decade.”

If that’s what their research says, then the truth will be much bleaker. Consumers are known to lie through their teeth when it comes to green issues.

In developing countries, and that’s where the growth is and will be, money plays an even bigger role. Ironically, if they buy cars with as much abandon as expected, maybe the “significant increase in the global price of petroleum-based fuels” part will happen earlier.

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  • Tree Trunk Tree Trunk on Oct 29, 2010

    Daanii2 It's your right to cherry pick what scientific findings you choose to accept, but those who deny study after study that reach the same conclusion; our climate is changing and that change is at least in part influenced by human actions, start looking more and more like the members of the Flat Earth Society. Like when 400 leading climate scientist released a report on the causes and consequences of Climate Change our Alaskan congressman still doubted their findings and asked for a second opinion! instead of looking at what could reasonable be done to adapt to and slow down the changes we are seeing.

    • See 5 previous
    • Daanii2 Daanii2 on Oct 29, 2010
      it’s a matter of accepting that the theory is true because sufficient proof doesn’t exist to disprove it entirely So a theory is true unless proven untrue? I know, it's unfair to argue by dueling with sound bites, but that particular statement struck me as more than a bit bizarre.

  • Djoelt1 Djoelt1 on Oct 30, 2010

    "As for me, I’m skeptical. And when people who personally profit from proclaiming that theory are the loudest voices (as do Al Gore and climate scientists), my skepticism increases." Aren't the people with the most to keep by denying this theory the ones currently making the most money? Shouldn't you be discounting them the most? This just reveals how powerful the status quo is. When we think someone pointing out a problem with the status quo is the one with the most at stake...rarely. The ones denying the possibility of a human impact have the most to keep by their position. Yes, Al Gore has something to gain, but it pales in comparison to the size of thing that is trying to be kept.

  • FreedMike Race car drivers are all alpha-types. Aggression is part of the deal. I think you see more of that stuff in NASCAR because crashes - the end result of said aggression - are far more survivable than they would be in F1 or IndyCar.
  • Analoggrotto Only allow Tesla drivers to race, we are the epitome of class and brilliance.
  • Wjtinfwb When my kids turned 16 and got their Operators, we spent $400 to send both (twins) to 2 driving schools. One held by the local Sherriff was pretty basic but a good starter on car control and dealing with police officers as they ran the school. Then they went to a full day class in N Atlanta on a racetrack, with the cars supplied by BMW. They learned evasive maneuvers, high speed braking, skid control on a wet skid pad and generally built a lot of confidence behind the wheel. Feeling better about their skills, we looked for cars. My son was adamant he wanted a manual, Halleluiah! Looking at used Civics and Golf's and concerned about reliability and safety, I got discouraged. Then noticed an AutoTrader adv. for a new leftover '16 Ford Focus ST six-speed. 25k MSRP advertised for $17,500. $2500 above my self-imposed limit. I went to look, a brand new car, 16 miles on it, black with just the sunroof. 3 year warranty and ABS, Airbags. One drive and the torquey turbo 2.0 convinced me and I bought it on the spot. 7 years and 66k miles later it still serves my son well with zero issues. My daughter was set on a Subaru, I easily found a year old Crosstrek with all the safety gear and only 3k miles. 21k but gave my wife and I lots of peace of mind. She still wheels the Subaru, loves it and it too has provided 7 years and 58k miles of low cost motoring. Buy what fits your budget but keep in mind total cost over the long haul and the peace of mind a reliable and safe car provides. Your kids are worth it.
  • Irvingklaws Here's something cheaper, non-german, and more intriguing...
  • Wjtinfwb Happy you're loving your Z4. Variety is the spice of life and an off-beat car like the Z4 intrigues me as well. More than anything, your article and pictures have me lusting for the dashboards of a decade ago. Big, round analog gauges. Knobs and buttons to dial up the A/C, Heat or Volume. Not a television screen in sight. Need to back up? Use the mirrors or look over your shoulder. If your Z4 had the six-speed manual, it would be about perfect. Today's electronified BMW's leave me ice cold, as do the new Mercedes and Audi's with their video game interiors. Even a lowly GTI cannot escape the glowing LED dashboard. I'm not a total luddite, Bluetooth streaming for the radio would be nice and I'd agree the cooled seats would be a bonus on a warm day with the top down. But the Atari dashboard is just a bridge too far for me.