A new report by research firm IDTechEx entitled Electric Vehicle Forecasts, Trends and Opportunities 2016-2026 says the electric vehicle market is set to explode over the next decade. The report projects most of the increase will come in electrified vehicles other than cars and will result in $500 billion a year in new business.
“Batteries, supercapacitors, energy harvesting, wireless charging, power electronics and structural electronics are all evolving and breakthroughs are appearing more commonly in other vehicles such as boats and planes, before cars,” IDTechEX said. “This is driving progress across the whole EV market and now many profitable niche markets are emerging just as there’s been a shake-up in the leading sectors.”
The market for hybrid and pure electric buses is expected to top $72 billion by 2025 as more cities switch to zero emission public transportation. China’s BYD is currently the world leader in electric buses. It expects to deliver 6,000 of them in 2016, 300 of which will come from its Bus & Coach Factory in Lancaster, California. Proterra is also working hard to expand its business with a line of American made carbon fiber buses.
As reported by Business Green, IDTechEX expects big gains in electric vehicles for construction, agriculture, and industrial watercraft. It says those markets are poised for compound annual growth of between 20% and 65% over the next ten years. Fork lifts used indoors are already electric, but outdoors power equipment like earth movers and lifting vehicles are expected to to switch to hybrid electric drivetrains. They require less maintenance and insulate companies from future spikes in the cost of fossil fuels. Hybrids perform better as well, with more torque available at low speeds and the ability to supply electricity to other equipment on a job site. They also are quieter in operation, which reduces operator fatigue, and they create less pollution.
Commercial and industrial vehicles get less attention from government regulators, the report points out. “The size and growth of the industrial and commercial sector is less dependent on government funding and tax breaks than the more fragile market for electric cars, particularly pure electric ones,” the report says. “Excitingly, most of the electric vehicle technologies are changing and improving hugely and innovation often comes here before it is seen in the more publicized electric vehicle sectors such as cars.”
If IDTechEX is correct, the first experience most people have with an electric vehicle may be while riding on an electric bus or in an electric taxi. Once electrification becomes commonplace for those vehicles, the technology will have a better chance of going mainstream for private passenger cars, the report’s authors say.