The big change in the market in 2011 is the introduction of plug-in hybrids and pure electric vehicles

“The big change in the market in 2011 is the introduction of plug-in hybrids and pure electric vehicles from major manufacturers such as GM, Nissan, and Mitsubishi,” says ABI Research principal analyst David Alexander. “However initial cost is still an issue for both hybrid and electric vehicles despite the considerable government incentives offered in many countries.”

Hybrid drive is becoming a widely available option as more major manufacturers introduce new variants. For the luxury brands such as Lexus, Audi, Mercedes, and BMW the hybrid option is limited to a small number of high-end models. Ford, Toyota, and Honda offer more mainstream vehicles with hybrid drive, and some hybrid-only models such as the Insight and the ubiquitous Prius; Hyundai and Kia also have recently entered this growing market with hybrid versions of the Sonata and Optima.

Battery technology is still evolving, with regular announcements of breakthrough chemistry from research organizations; but the practicalities of mass-producing a new type of battery will mean a minimum of five years before the benefits reach vehicle buyers. For now, incremental improvements in price and performance will be made as production volumes ramp up. Alternative energy storage solutions such as ultracapacitors and flywheels will continue to be used for specific applications.

ABI Research’s “Hybrid and Electric Vehicle Market Data” study ( provides data forecasts for hybrid assist, plug-in hybrid, and electric vehicles. Separate forecasts of consumer and commercial vehicles are included, along with a country-by-country assessment of consumer vehicle availability. Forecasts for sales are provided globally, by region, through 2016, as well as a sampling of selling prices in key countries.

The report forms part of ABI Research’s Automotive Technology Research Service (

ABI Research provides in-depth analysis and quantitative forecasting of trends in global connectivity and other emerging technologies. From offices in North America, Europe and Asia, ABI Research’s worldwide team of experts advises thousands of decision makers through 40+ research and advisory services. Est. 1990.