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Plug-in EV Sales To Spike; 25 Percent Will Be In California

In its study on where electric vehicles will be popular up ‘till 2020, Pike Research concluded total North American sales will crest 400,000 annually, and to the surprise of no one, California will continue to lead the way.

While the world is still waiting to see whether President Obama’s – optimistic and unlikely – forecast of 1 million plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) will be on American roads by 2015, Pike’s projected ramp up is nonetheless steep, and 1 million PEVs will be here not many years after, if not by 2015.

Consider that in the inaugural year of 2011, the four limited availability plug-in vehicles tracked by the Dashboard amounted to just 17,813 units. So, to see 400,000 PEVs being sold per year will be quite a feat. In fact, it will significantly surpass last year’s far more developed hybrid market, which saw 268,807 vehicles sold in 2011 – assuming the Pike estimate is not also optimistic.

Time will tell on that question, but for its part Pike concludes that between 2012 and 2020 nearly one in every four PEV sold in the United States will be sold in California.

The likelihood that a North American consumer will choose to buy a PEV is based on a variety of factors: age, race, gender, income, attitudes toward renewable energy, and so on.

One other factor serves as an important indicator: geography, i.e. in which state or province and in which city the person lives.

According to the report from Pike Research, the state with the highest PEV sales over the remainder of this decade will be California, followed by New York, Florida, Texas, and Washington.

“PEV sales roughly correspond to population, but other factors, including demographics, socioeconomics, and public policy, have a strong influence as well,” says senior research analyst Dave Hurst. “Florida, for example, the third largest market for PEVs, has 60 percent of the population of California, but by 2020 Florida will have only 25 percent the number of PEVs found in California.”

The actual number of PEVs forecast by 2020 is 400,073 annual sales in the United States and 107,146 in Canada, but the finer point of the story of these sales is in the cities and utility service territories where the vehicles will be located.


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