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IHS: Global green car volume to rise 67 percent

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Thomas B. Shea/Houston Chronicle/AP/File

(Read caption) Keith Mack from Stafford, who is considering buying an electric car looks at the Nissan Leaf at the Houston Auto show held at Reliant Center in Houston, Texas, Jan. 22, 2014. The car list for $28,800 and will travel 115 miles with a full electrical charge.

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Electric cars may be suffering from the January blues, but if one analyst is correct that lull in sales won't last very long.

Ben Scott, an analyst for IHS Automotive, predicts that global production of plug-in hybrids and battery electric vehicles will rise by 67 percent this year.

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According to the Los Angeles Times, a combination of more models on the market, tightening emissions standards in Europe and falling prices will account for the surge in production volume.

Among electric and plug-in hybrids set to debut this year are the BMW i3 and i8, Audi's A3 Sportback e-tron, an electric B-Class from Mercedes, the Volkswagen e-Golf and the Europe-only e-Up. A plug-in Golf is also expected, and other models are likely to appear as the year goes on.

Two existing strong-sellers, the Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Volt, should shift more units this year, and Tesla's Model S is also likely to climb as it goes on sale in more countries across the globe--including the huge Chinese market.

Price drops have seen many of these vehicles increase in popularity, with tempting lease deals and reduced sticker prices spurring demand. The IHS report notes the Leaf's $6,000 price drop between 2012 and 2014, corresponding with its 130 percent sales rise in 2013 compared to the previous year.

Lower battery prices--and competition between battery suppliers--has contributed to some of those price cuts, as has economies of scale as more electric vehicles are sold and more hit the marketplace.

If Scott's predictions are correct, plug-in vehicles will far outpace the overall car industry's production rises, which should increase by 3.6 percent in 2014.

In all, global plug-in production is expected to increase to 403,000 units in 2014, up from 242,000 in 2013--itself a 44 percent rise over 2012's numbers.

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2014 is looking like a pretty good year for plug-in and electric vehicles.


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