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Pike Research makes 10 predictions for the EV industry in 2013

Pike Research has issued a white paper entitled Electric Vehicles: 10 Predictions for 2013, that should make (mostly) cheerful reading for EV enthusiasts. Saying that “doubts about the long-term viability of the plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) market were put to rest” in 2012, Pike predicts “the industry will be racing ahead in second gear in 2013.” It notes that more than three dozen PEV models will debut in 2013, and predicts global sales of more than 210,000 vehicles.

The report also sounds a couple of cautionary notes, predicting that several startup EV companies are likely to be absorbed or disappear. Pike expects governments to phase out incentives for EV manufacturing and charging infrastructure, but believes that will actually produce a healthier, more mature industry.

The new Pike report listed 10 specific trends that will define the EV industry in 2013:

1. Capital Veers from Vehicles to Battery Components
Investment will shift toward developing battery components, rather than companies that develop complete packs. Chemical conglomerates will continue to invest heavily in R&D, as nano-scale components and activated carbon will be used to reach new plateaus of performance.

2. System Integration Puts Electric Bikes on the Map
The global e-bike market is predicted to grow by 10% to more than 33.6 million units in 2013.

3. 48-Volt Batteries Put a Charge into Stop-Start Systems
Automakers have been shifting subsystems from mechanical to electrical to make vehicles more fuel efficient, and in some cases this is more than 12-volt architectures can handle. Pike expects several automakers to design vehicles to take advantage of 48-volt batteries.

4. More than 3,400 Fuel Cell Vehicles Hit the Road
2013 will see the first low-volume production of fuel cell vehicles from Hyundai, Daimler, and Toyota, most of which will go to fleets and participants in public trials.

5. Battery Swapping Gives Way to Battery Financing
Bad news for Better Place – Pike expects its battery swapping concept to catch on only in specialized applications, such as taxis, and to “fade further into the rearview mirror” in 2013. On the other hand, the practice of leasing EV batteries separately from vehicles, as Renault does, is expected to grow.
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