Solar Powered Vehicles Market Overview
The solar powered vehicles market size is expected to witness a notable growth during the forecast period, majorly driven by increased emphasis by governments of various countries to promote environment-friendly vehicles. Moreover, the declining prices of solar panels and technological advancements in the industry would continue to benefit the solar powered vehicles market during the forecast period. Solar powered vehicles use photovoltaic cells to convert solar energy into electrical energy (stored in a battery), to power the vehicle.
On the basis of electric vehicle type, the global solar powered vehicles market is categorized as hybrid electric vehicles and fully electric vehicles. Hybrid electric vehicles use both internal combustion engine (ICE) and battery to propel the vehicle. Full electric vehicles do not have ICE and use only the power generated by battery. The full electric vehicle category would witness faster growth during the forecast period, due to increasing government support for these vehicles in the form of incentives and subsidies.
On the basis of vehicle type, the market is segmented into passenger cars and commercial vehicles. On the basis of type, the market is segmented into three wheelers and four wheelers. The market for four wheelers are expected to witness a faster growth during the forecast period due to increasing adoption of solar panels in passenger cars and buses.
Solar Powered Vehicles Market Dynamics
The increasing emphasis by the governments of major economies to reduce vehicular pollution is a major driver of the solar powered vehicles market. For example, the European Union targets to reduce carbon dioxide emission by 20% by 2020, from the emission levels recorded in the year 2008. Similarly, many countries have also proposed regulations on motor vehicle fuel efficiency or carbon emission, benefiting the solar powered vehicles market.
Declining prices of solar panel, which form a major part of solar roof cost, are benefiting the solar powered vehicles market. The prices of solar panels have seen a significant decline over the last decade and the industry participants expect the prices to decline further by 25-27%, by 2022. Apart from this, technological advances by major car companies such as Audi AG would continue to help in faster adoption of solar panels in vehicles during the forecast period, thus benefiting the solar powered vehicles market.
Despite the falling prices of solar panels, installing them in the vehicles is still costly, thus hampering the growth of the solar powered vehicles market. For instance, installing a solar powered roof on passenger cars can increase its retail price by $1,000-$1,500. The gains of expected mileage, many times do not justify the increase in retail prices of solar powered vehicles when compared to non-solar powered ones, thus affecting the solar powered vehicles market. The huge R&D investments required for integrating technologically advanced and aesthetical solar panels to the vehicles also increases the costs, which restrains the growth of the market.
Solar Powered Vehicles Market Competitive Analysis
The solar powered vehicles market is at a nascent stage, and is characterized by the presence of many small companies, such as Weifang Guangsheng New Energy Co., Ltd. Some of the key international automotive companies in the market include Ford Motor Company and Toyota Motor Corporation and Audi AG. In 2017, Audi announced its partnership with Alta Devices Inc, to embed solar cells into the roof glass of passenger cars. During the same year, Panasonic Corporation showcased the solar roof (capable of producing 180 Watts of output) for the Toyota Prius Prime, for the Japanese market.