BOULDER, CO -- According to a new report from Pike Research, nearly nine out of 10 plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) sold this year will include at least a basic telematics package, and that percentage will likely grow to 94 percent by 2017. 

Annual revenue from worldwide sales of electric vehicle telematics will total $1.4 billion by 2017, the market intelligence firm forecasts.

For early plug-in electric vehicles, one of the key features for customers is not a component of the drivetrain, but rather, the telematics package, researchers said. Giving the driver the ability to check on the battery and the rate of charge, telematics serve as a lifeline of sorts to help alleviate concerns over the limited range of electric vehicles (range anxiety). In addition, many manufacturers are developing applications that can provide details on where the closest charging stations are within range of the current battery level of charge.  

A key group of players in the EV telematics supply chain will be wireless equipment manufacturers coming from outside the automotive industry. They are accustomed to more compressed product development timeframes than the carmakers use.

“The hardware manufacturers are experiencing a bit of a culture shock,” said senior research analyst Dave Hurst, “as automotive development generally targets an eight to 10-year lifespan, compared to a two to three-year lifespan for other wireless devices. For this reason, despite the fact that much of the data being transferred in PEV telematics can be done easily with a slow GSM connection, most hardware manufacturers are targeting 3G services with their modems to ensure compatibility with the wireless network long term.”

In addition, while basic telematics packages that offer simple data connections for emergency services, breakdown calls, charging station locations, and diagnostics/vehicle monitoring will be standard features on most PEVs by 2017, many consumers will want more elaborate, connected vehicle telematics. These can provide live traffic, weather, streaming content, and cloud computing-based applications.  

Pike Research’s analysis indicates that, by the end of the forecast period, 80 percent of PEVs will come with connected vehicle systems installed. Those costlier packages will push average revenue per user (ARPU) for electric vehicle telematics to $13.27 by 2017, up from $10.65 today. 

Pike Research’s report, “Electric Vehicle Telematics,” analyzes the market opportunity for telematics in plug-in electric vehicles, addressing market forces, technology, government influence on the market, and key drivers of growth. Also included are profiles of key market players. The report features plug-in electric vehicle sales, sales of basic and connected vehicle telematics, and global revenue forecasts through 2017, segmented by world region.