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Study: Megawatt outlook for plug-in electric vehicles

A new study on the prospects for plug-in electric vehicles (EV) in the U.S, sponsored by Airbiquity and conducted by Zpryme Research and Consulting, predicts that EV “evangelists,” mostly in the Western U.S., will lead the way in the adoption of plug-in vehicles– buying most of the EVs sold in America during the next two years. The study’s outlook for EVs is blindingly bright, holding that some 730.000 plug-in vehicles will be on U.S. roads by 2016, per the study.

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While only 8.5% of all those surveyed reported that they were “very likely” to buy a plug-in vehicle in the near future, the study suggests that will be enough to help get the EV market really rolling. “As 2010 comes to a close, many electric vehicle developments, initiatives and movements are converging to make U.S. automotive history for 2011,” the study notes.

The study acknowledges that there will be challenges: “Like any new technology launch, both the EV ecosystem and consumers will encounter challenges,” reported Zpryme. “Yet, motivated by more than $5 billion in EV-related government loans and grants to-date and a projected 730 thousand EV/PHEVs (plug-in electric vehicles) on the road by 2016, a vibrant plugged-in auto sector in the U.S. appears possible.”

For trucking, the study offers some indirect glimpses at the future for EVs in commercial applications. The build-out of the electrical grid to accommodate charging hundreds of thousands of EVs and the availability and accessibility of charging stations, for example, are necessities for both the commercial and consumer sectors. The Zpryme study sees big “blue chip” companies, such as GE, Leviton, ABB and Siemens as being at the forefront here, providing advanced EV infrastructure and components.

Utilities like Southern California Edison, Florida Power & Light and Xcel Energy were given the nod for developing “EV grid integration road maps and infrastructure that can safely absorb the impacts [of] thousands of EVs on the grid.” While companies such as Better Place, ClipperCreek ECOtality and Coulomb Technologies are recognized as being key contributors to the development of EV charging stations.

In the meantime, the trucking industry has been proceeding along on its own EV development and implementation trajectory. In December for example,Ford Motor Co. and Azure Dynamicsannounced that shipment of the first Ford Transit Connect Electric commercial vans had begun to early customers in North America as well as to Great Britain for a demonstration project there.
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