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A new J.D. Power report says that companies like Nissan are being overly bullish in their estimates of consumer electric vehicle demand.  (Source: Autoblog)
Report says that demand will be 7.3 percent by 2020, falling short of other estimates

Nissan-Renault Chief Executive Officer Carlos Ghosn recently made the prediction that electrified vehicles -- hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs), plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), and battery electric vehicles (BEVs) -- would make up 10 percent of total vehicle sales by 2020.  Other EV supporters have released even higher numbers of what the electrified vehicle market share might be at the turn of the next decade.

Not so fast, says market research and analysis firm J.D. Power and Associates.  According to its new report, electrified vehicles will likely only amount to 7.3 percent of vehicles sold in 2020.  That would mean that 5.2 million of the 70.9 million passenger vehicles sold that year would be HEVs, PHEVs, or BEVs.

John Humphrey, senior vice president of automotive operations for J.D. Power remarks on the less promising forecast, "Consumers will ultimately decide whether these vehicles are commercially successful or not. Given consumer attitudes toward such vehicles and barring significant changes to public policy, including tax incentives and higher fuel-economy standards, we don't anticipate a mass migration to green vehicles in the coming decade."

Price and self-interest will be the driving factors for slower-than-expected adoption, says the report.  States Mr. Humphrey, "Many consumers say they are concerned about the environment, but when they find out how much a green vehicle is going to cost, their altruistic inclination declines considerably. In the U.S., the number of people who say they’re interested in buying a hybrid drops 50 percent when they learn such vehicles typically cost about $5,000 more than equivalent models with gasoline engines only."

The report brings into question the billions in investment that the U.S., China, and other industrial powers are pouring into electrification research.  The Obama administration alone has offered $11B USD in EV-related grants.

It also calls into question Nissan's plans to quickly scale production of its new Nissan LEAF EV from 20,000 units in 2011 to 500,000 units a year by late 2012.  Toyota (Prius MPVPrius plug-in), Ford (2012 Focus EV), and GM (2011 Chevy Volt) are all betting on EVs as well.  Poor demand could force those companies to readjust their plans.

Another danger to electrified vehicles not fully explored in the report is the potential for China's dominance of rare earth metal refining to impede adoption.  China is currently cutting off supplies of rare earth metals to China and the U.S.  Electrified vehicles use twice the rare earths, approximately, than pure combustion vehicles.  Thus supply shortages could limit production.

The U.S. and Japan are reopening rare earth mines around the globe, but that is expensive.  And building a successful refinery for the metals can take 5 years or more.  Ultimately these costs will likely be passed on to the consumer, exacerbating the pricing frustration that the J.D. Power report points to.

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Work From Home
By Mitch101 on 10/28/2010 9:32:04 AM , Rating: 5
Implement a Work From Home program reducing traffic and rare earth material requirements.

Government should give tax credits to companies that implement work from home programs. Businesses also save costs because they dont require costly business space.

Less problems getting into work, less sick time because of those workers coming in getting everyone else sick, less kids getting into trouble because they are unsupervised, less distractions in the work place, etc etc etc.

The trick is to reduce the requirement of using vehicles and the majority of peoples vehicle use is getting to and from work.

RE: Work From Home
By Shatbot on 10/28/2010 9:39:17 AM , Rating: 2
China is currently cutting off supplies of rare earth metals to China and the U.S

Communism is amazing, it's already better today than it will be tomorrow. Although I'd say that's supposed to be Japan. The hand that feeds?

RE: Work From Home
By Murst on 10/28/2010 9:50:37 AM , Rating: 1
Implement a Work From Home program reducing traffic and rare earth material requirements.

Although that might reduce traffic, a work from home program isn't a sure way to reduce reliance on rare earths. You might just be swapping out car battery parts for communications parts, etc.

RE: Work From Home
By Taft12 on 10/28/2010 11:26:43 AM , Rating: 2
Only for workers who don't already have the infrastructure necessary in their homes. Since this is an internet connection and a phone line in most cases, that number is hovering around zero.

RE: Work From Home
By Souka on 10/28/10, Rating: 0
RE: Work From Home
By Ytsejamer1 on 10/28/2010 1:27:55 PM , Rating: 4
So you mean it would be a problem that individuals would eat at home, presumably something a tad more healthy than MDs, Dunkin Donuts, etc...thus becoming healthier overall, putting less strain on their company's health insurance plan?

In addition to not using resources for the commute back and forth, there would be a better quality of life spending that time doing other things at home or with family. Sounds pretty good to me all the way around.

RE: Work From Home
By Spuke on 10/28/2010 11:44:35 AM , Rating: 1
Implement a Work From Home program reducing traffic and rare earth material requirements.
The US Government is already supposed to be doing this for their employees but are leaving the decisions for who works from home up to local management. And most local management believes one needs to come to the workplace and does not grant work at home for hardly anyone. I know ONE person that works at home.

There tons of employees that can work from home, IT, legal, engineering, etc. Not only would it save energy costs but would save building costs as well. I understand some will say that you're just transferring energy usage to the home but....

1. energy saved by not driving
2. energy and materials saved by not building as much as needed before
3. energy saved going from huge buildings to much smaller homes (might be a wash in some cases)

RE: Work From Home
By mmcdonalataocdotgov on 10/28/2010 11:53:07 AM , Rating: 1
I agree. However, even though I telework, I still need my own car. So this might not save on the number of vehicles needed to fill consumer demand. I just use the car less. Rare Earth (not rare earths, people) would be required in the same quantity unless people would buy fewer cars. Most telework schemes are 1, 2, or 3 days a week, not 5.

RE: Work From Home
By mindless1 on 10/28/2010 2:02:43 PM , Rating: 2
*Average* people would buy fewer cars because the less you drive the longer the car lasts... till it's so old it is a pile of rust.

Driving less also means fewer gas stations, fewer gas delivery trucks, fewer other public infrastructures like roads are needed, or need less maintenance.

It all starts with consuming less, no matter what that something is we live in a machine powered world so there will almost always be a trickle down effect of fewer rare earth metals needed.

... then a bonehead administration comes along with a scheme to pay people to destroy cars.

RE: Work From Home
By FITCamaro on 10/28/2010 12:08:29 PM , Rating: 1
Less productivity from people sitting around watching TV while claiming to work.

More obesity from people not even having to get up to go to work. Or look good for work.

Lower employee morale from never seeing anyone during the day.

Yeah sounds great...

RE: Work From Home
By Spuke on 10/28/2010 12:27:29 PM , Rating: 1
Less productivity from people sitting around watching TV while claiming to work.
I agree with you most of the time, but this is just old generation thinking. Companies that already do this have things in place to keep people from doing just that. You STILL have to perform, whether or not you work from home. If you get nothing done, then you're fired. Besides, management isn't looking over your shoulder that 8 hours you are AT work, how does he know you're productive? Could it be by the results of the WORK you are doing? Companies could save money by letting some workers do their thing from home. Like I listed above, IT, legal, engineering and others don't need to be there everyday. With high speed internet, VPN's, email, and teleconferencing you just don't need to be at a central location anymore. Have your monthly face to face meeting and call it a day. You can always call that person or persons in if you need to. or they can simply just show up when THEY need to. And no they don't need a desk, use a conference or training room. Effective scheduling and management can make this happen.

RE: Work From Home
By mindless1 on 10/28/2010 2:10:56 PM , Rating: 2
Countered by less productivity from people sitting at work surfing the internet and posting on DT?

Less obesity because if you are at home you have more facilities possible to exercise instead of sitting at a cubical, you can fit exercise into your schedule much more easily.

You might be right about lower morale, it depends on the person whether they can schedule their time well enough to have more of it to meet up with friends, engage in hobbies, etc.

People without many friends in the area they reside in would probably be happier driving to work every day on a schedule. People who can't wait to get off work so they can socialize, not so much.

It would depend on your household residents too. Some people get along better spending more time together. Others need time apart.

I have to agree with Spuke though, if you are contracted or even salaried to do work from home all you have to do is meet the productivity requirements.

Having written this much, I used to work from home and almost never watched TV... do you know how bad the crap on tv is these days? It's so bad it doesn't even serve as tolerable background noise.

RE: Work From Home
By wookie1 on 10/28/2010 1:40:47 PM , Rating: 2
"less kids getting into trouble because they are unsupervised"

Wait a minute - I thought that you're supposed to be working at home, not supervising the kids and working a little bit in between! This is one of the key problems of working at home, eliminating distractions that you have at home.

RE: Work From Home
By mindless1 on 10/28/2010 2:14:05 PM , Rating: 2
Just being in the vicinity of the child, even if not supervising them much at all, they will get into less trouble because they know if something disruptive or questionable happens you might notice.

Think of it like posting a police officer on a school entrance versus not posting one. Which area is going to be more secure even if the officer never looks up from his newspaper?

RE: Work From Home
By Ammohunt on 10/28/2010 2:19:55 PM , Rating: 2
the problem with that goes against the greenies long term plans to huddle everyone in mega citys at the same time destroying rural or spreadout living in order to protect mother earth.

"Well, there may be a reason why they call them 'Mac' trucks! Windows machines will not be trucks." -- Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer

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