Pike Research has put out an estimate saying that annual sales of plug-in vehicles in the United States will hit 358,959 by 2017. And they're not all going to the usual suspects. Mostly, sure, but not all.

Since there is no national Level 2 (or faster) charging infrastructure the way there is a gasoline network, Pike compiled its data by geographic region and even broke down the numbers one city at a time. As Pike states:
As government officials and utility managers plan for the arrival of grid-connected vehicles, they need to understand where those vehicles are going to be located and what the impact could be.
Seems logical to us. So, where will all the plug-ins call home? Well, according to Pike, New York and California will lead the way at the state level. Looking at individual cities, Pike says New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego and Chicago will be the U.S.' top five plug-in loving metropolitan areas. No big surprises there, but here's a bit of a shocker: relative to population, Raleigh, NC will lead the nation in registered plug-ins by 2017.

What type of grid load will utilities have to cope with in 2017? Well, Pike says that in the case of Southern California Edison's service territory, which is expected to be the U.S.' most plug-in vehicle-heavy region, the maximum grid load will be 498 MW in 2017. To handle the plug-ins and all the other increased energy demands, SCE is investing a lot of money to upgrade its system.
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Electric Vehicle Penetration Rates to be Highest in Smaller States

September 23, 2011

Sales of plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) are expected to accelerate rapidly over the next several years, posting a compound annual growth rate of 43% between 2011 and 2017, with annual sales reaching almost 360,000 vehicles by 2017. Adoption of PEVs will vary significantly by geography. Unsurprisingly, the most populous states will see the highest sales, with California, New York and Florida recording the highest PEV sales over that same period. As a percentage of total vehicle sales, however, smaller states will lead the way. According to a recent report from Pike Research, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington, D.C., and Delaware will all be among the top states for PEV penetration.

Hawaii, which typically has among the highest gas prices in the nation, will be the top state, with PEVs representing 6.3% of total light-duty vehicle sales in 2017. The second highest penetration rate will be in California (5.4%), followed by Oregon (5.4%), Washington, D.C. (4.6%), and Delaware (4.5%).

"PEV penetration will be influenced by several factors," says senior analyst Dave Hurst. "Demographics, consumer attitudes, and available infrastructure will all help determine the uptake of PEVs in different areas."

In addition, because of manufacturers' rollout schedules, the availability of PEVs will vary widely by state and by region. New York and California today account for more than half of the available PEVs in the United States, while Southern states like Mississippi, Arkansas, and Alabama, as well as largely rural states such as Wyoming and Alaska, have very few plug-in electric vehicles available. This means that certain utilities, such as Southern California Edison and Pacific Gas & Electric in California and New York's Consolidated Edison, will need to accelerate their preparations for significant rollouts of PEVs compared to their counterparts in other regions.

Consumer attitudes toward electric vehicles differ from state to state, as well. Using data from Pike Research's Electric Vehicle Customer Survey, as well as qualitative indicators, Pike Research developed an "Index of Positive Opinion" toward PEVs. Scores ranged from 4.36, for Northern California, to 0.07 (effectively, a negative overall opinion) in North Dakota.

Pike Research's report, "Electric Vehicle Geographic Forecasts", provides data and forecasts for the plug-in electric vehicle market at the state and metropolitan statistical area levels. The report also includes forecasts for plug-in electric vehicle sales within selected electric utility service territories. The data includes sales forecasts from 2011 to 2017 at each geographic level, and analysis of major trends in the forecasts. An Executive Summary of the report is available for free download on the firm's website.

Pike Research is a market research and consulting firm that provides in-depth analysis of global clean technology markets. The company's research methodology combines supply-side industry analysis, end-user primary research and demand assessment, and deep examination of technology trends to provide a comprehensive view of the Smart Energy, Smart Grid, Smart Transportation, Smart Industry, and Smart Buildings sectors. For more information, visit www.pikeresearch.com or call +1.303.997.7609.

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