As auto manufacturers begin to launch the initial wave of electric vehicles (EVs), such as the Chevrolet Volt and the Nissan Leaf into the market, investment in EV cyber security systems is also expected to go up drastically.

According to a new study from Pike Research, investments in cyber security are expected to touch $432 million during the period from 2011 to 2015.

The prevailing philosophy of the EV industry has been to 'build first, secure later,' says senior analyst Bob Lockhart.  This poses many risks for financial transactions, customer privacy, and the integrity and reliability of the grid infrastructure.  Utilities and key vendors are just beginning to focus on addressing these issues, and the security solutions implemented will have a strong influence on the success and credibility of EVs as a replacement for internal combustion engine vehicles.

Lockhart adds that several important areas for EV cyber security investment include:

    * Securing financial transactions that are required for EV recharging

    * Implementing secure and hardened IT environments on electric vehicle service equipment (EVSE) and distribution grid hardware

    * Secure end-to-end communications throughout the EV infrastructure

    * Authoritative identification of vehicle owners/operators for recharging transactions

    * Compliance with applicable data privacy laws and other regulations

Pike Research's analysis finds that the largest segment for EV cyber security investment will be Smart Charging Management, which will garner $274 million in worldwide revenue between 2011 and 2015.  Other key market segments include Data Analytics and Customer Information Management.

The Department of Energy said it is investing $2.85 billion in electric vehicles of which $2 billion will go towards helping US carmakers produce advanced vehicle batteries and drive train components. Around $400 million will be invested to buy, test, and deploy different types of electric vehicles in the marketplace, and $300 million in cost-share projects under the Clean Cities program.

Combined global sales of hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) and battery electric vehicles (BEVs) are expected to total 5.2 million units in 2020, or just 7.3 percent of the 70.9 million passenger vehicles forecasted to be sold worldwide by that year,  according to a recent report from automobile market research company J.D. Power & Associates.

According to a recent report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance, plug-in electric vehicles, including plug-in hybrids and battery electric vehicles, have the potential to make up 9% of auto sales in 2020 and 22% in 2030 (1.6 million and 4 million vehicle sales respectively).