As we've touched upon before, it's often wise to turn to suppliers if you're searching for an accurate prediction regarding the future of the automotive industry. Why? Because suppliers must get ready for a changing industry and be prepared to deliver products as needed. If suppliers don't have the production capacity to meet demand, then automakers may have to temporarily halt plans, shift to in-house production or delay a vehicle's launch until supply can catch up.

Last week in Traverse City, MI, Boston-Power chief executive officer Christina Lampe-Onnerud predicted that annual sales of electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids would likely exceed 100,000 units within the next three-to-five years. Boston-Power, a lithium-ion battery maker, currently holds a contract with Saab for an electric version of the company's 9-3 and is aggressively bidding for business from additional automakers. Thus, the company is probably in a good position to predict the future based upon its in-depth knowledge of the electric vehicle (EV) and plug-in hybrid plans presented by automakers. Lampe-Onnerud told Automotive News (sub. req.) it's looking good: Boston-Power is considering constructing its second battery plant in China to boost production, since capacity is currently limited by the constraints of a lone facility in Taiwan. Lampe-Onnerud hinted that battery suppliers are now closing in on that magical cost of $500 per kilowatt-hour, a price which she believes will help push EVs towards widespread adoption in the U.S.

[Source: Automotive News – sub. req.]