Sunday, September 23, 2012

On the electrification of road transport - Learning rates and price forecasts for hybrid-electric and battery-electric vehicles
Abstract: Hybrid-electric vehicles (HEVs) and battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) are currently more expensive than conventional passenger cars but may become cheaper due to technological learning. Here, we obtain insight into the prospects of future price decline by establishing ex-post learning rates for HEVs and ex-ante price forecasts for HEVs and BEVs. Since 1997, HEVs have shown a robust decline in their price and price differential at learning rates of 7±2% and 23±5%, respectively. By 2010, HEVs were only 31±22 €2010 kW−1 more expensive than conventional cars. Mass-produced BEVs are currently introduced into the market at prices of 479±171 €2010 kW−1, which is 285±213 €2010 kW−1 and 316±209 €2010 kW−1 more expensive than HEVs and conventional cars. Our forecast suggests that price breakeven with these vehicles may only be achieved by 2026 and 2032, when 50 and 80 million BEVs, respectively, would have been produced worldwide. We estimate that BEVs may require until then global learning investments of 100–150 billion € which is less than the global subsidies for fossil fuel consumption paid in 2009. These findings suggest that HEVs, including plug-in HEVs, could become the dominant vehicle technology in the next two decades, while BEVs may require long-term policy support.


► Learning rates for hybrid-electric and battery-electric vehicles.
► Prices and price differentials of hybrid-electric vehicles show a robust decline.
► Battery-electric vehicles may require policy support for decades
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Fig. 1. Global sales of HEVs (left vertical axis) and total global passenger car sales (right vertical axis;
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Fig. 2. Specific prices of the Toyota Prius (a) and of all HEVs offered on the market
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Fig. 3. Specific price differential of the Toyota Prius (a) and of all HEVs  
offered on the market (b) as compared to conventional ICE vehicles
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Fig. 4. The average specific price of BEVs, HEVs, and conventional ICE vehicles in 2010; numbers in parentheses indicate the sample size; 1 including price data for vehicles offered in Germany and the USA; 2 including price data for the Nissan Leaf, the Mitsubishi i-MiEV, and the Citro├źn C-Zero; 3representing the un-weighed price average of data for Germany and the USA; 4price data normalized to an absolute vehicle price of 20,000 €2010; 5including conventional spark-ignition ICE vehicles that are used to calculate the price differential of HEVs.
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Fig. 5. Experience curves for the Toyota Prius (a) and all HEVs (b); numbers in parentheses 
indicate the year of analysis; error bars indicate the standard deviation of price data.
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Fig. 7. Experience curves for the specific price differential of the Toyota Prius (a) and all HEVs (b).
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Fig. 8. Forecasting the specific price of BEVs, HEVs, and conventional ICE vehicles for the period between 2010 and 2035: (a) experience curves, (b) time series analysis.
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Fig. 9. Sensitivity analysis – Forecasting the specific price of BEVs, HEVs, and conventional ICE vehicles for the period between 2010 and 2035 
by Martin Weissa, E-mail the corresponding author, Martin K. Patelb, Martin Jungingerb, Adolfo Perujoa, Pierre Bonnela, Geert van Grootvelda  
a European Commission – Directorate General Joint Research Centre, Institute for Energy and Transport, Sustainable Transport Unit, via Enrico Fermi 2749 TP 230, Ispra 21010, Italy  
b Utrecht University, Copernicus Institute for Sustainable Development and Innovation, Budapestlaan 6, 3584 CD Utrecht, The Netherlands 
Energy Policy via Elsevier Science Direct  
Volume 48; September, 2012; Pages 374–393
Keywords: Technological learning; Hybrid-electric vehicles; Battery-electric vehicles

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