An increasingly competitive market has driven down the sticker price of leading electric vehicles by as much as 18 percent of their 2012 price, overcoming one of the main barriers to ownership, analysts say.
New research by Frost & Sullivan forecasts global sales will rise by 50 perent as a result from 120,000 units in 2012 to between 170,000 and 190,000 this year. By 2018, it expects worldwide sales to top 2.7 million, as the market expands beyond business fleets to private ownership.
"The scheduled introduction of about 15 new electric vehicle models in the next year, such as the BMW i8, the Tesla Model S, the Audi R8 and Q7, the Porsche 918 Spyder and the Mercedes SLS AMG ECell, will intensify competition in the global electric vehicle market and bring down prices," said Anjan Hemanth Kumar, leader of Frost & Sullivan's automotive and transportation team.
"Several new electric cars including Tesla Model S, Renault Zoe and Ford Fusion Energi are already best-sellers in their respective markets."
A 20 to 40 percent fall in lithium-ion battery costs over the past five years also has helped vehicle manufacturers lower the price of electric vehicles, Frost & Sullivan adds.
And it says moves to standardize charging infrastructure, investment in more convenient charging technology, such as rapid charge points or wireless inductive charging, and continuing commitment from governments across the globe to incentives scheme also have helped market penetration.
Norway has increased the share of electric vehicles to above 3 percent over 2013, while in the U.K., the government is planning a joint "communications push" with manufacturers to help develop the market further.
"Europe has invested close to €2 billion in various R&D projects ranging from electric vehicle powertrain to grid," Kumar said. "Added developments in battery technology in the United States, China and Europe will improve energy density and further reduce cost."
The news comes after the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) published figures showing registrations of pure electric and plug-in hybrid cars from the beginning of the year through July had reached almost the entire number sold in the whole of 2012.
This article originally appeared at Business Green.