Projected EV charging station unit sales by region. Source: Pike Research. Click to enlarge.

In a new report, Pike Research forecasts that a total of 4.7 million electric vehicle charge points will be installed worldwide during the period from 2010 to 2015 to support the transition to plug-in vehicles. Pike Research forecasts that annual revenue from EV charging equipment will reach US$1.8 billion in 2015.

Pike anticipates that the Asia Pacific region will be the world’s largest market for EVs and charging equipment. The governments of China, Japan, and Korea have all promised to invest in EV charging infrastructure and are providing incentives toward the purchase of EVs. China, which in 2009 became the world’s largest automotive market, will represent more than one-third of the global market for charging equipment, according to Pike.

In the United States, charging equipment sales during the first few years will be dominated by government purchased or subsidized sales, Pike says. Pike Research expects that sales to commercial entities, such as retailers, will be limited initially due to a lack of a clear revenue model.

The distribution of charging equipment sales will vary by region, according to Pike. With a higher percentage of the population having access to convenient home charging in North America, residential EV equipment sales will represent more than two-thirds of sales in that region. In Europe and Asia, where a much larger percentage of the population lives in multi-unit housing (apartments and condominiums), standalone charging equipment will represent

the majority of sales.

Pike Research’s analysis indicates that the market for EV charging equipment is likely to become increasingly crowded by the end of 2011. While the initial wave of vendors was led by niche vendors such as AeroVironment, Better Place, Coulomb Technologies, and ECOtality, heavyweight technology players such as GE, Panasonic, Samsung, and Siemens are now making strong moves into the space.

Since initiating its coverage of the EV charging equipment sector in 2009, Pike Research has downgraded its forecast slightly to the current level of 4.7 million charge points installed between 2010 and 2015, from its original estimate of 5 million charging stations during that period.

Pike senior analyst John Gartner comments that this is due to a somewhat slower projected rate of sales for EVs, in addition to the continued lack of a clear business model for public charging stations.

The economics of selling a few kilowatt hours per charge are very challenging, and as such we anticipate that public charging station deployments will be driven mainly by government initiatives over the next several years.

—John Gartner

Pike Research’s study, “Electric Vehicle Charging Equipment”, analyzes technology and business issues related to the buildout of EV charging infrastructure in global markets. It examines the market for residential, public, private, and workplace charging stations as well as reviewing the key operational and technological impacts of plug-in hybrid and battery electric vehicles on the grid. Analysis includes an in-depth assessment of market drivers and barriers, along with profiles of charging infrastructure vendors and utilities. Detailed forecasts for EV charging equipment are included through 2015.

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