In the three years since automakers started selling mass-produced plug-ins such as the Nissan Leaf battery-electric and Chevrolet Volt extended-range plug-in, global customers have acquired a half-million plug-ins, according to a UC Davis report. That adoption rate is faster than how quickly people bought hybrid-electric vehicles during the first three years of gas-electric vehicle commercial availability more than a decade ago.

Why might this be? The report says that when it comes to global plug-in vehicle adoption, variety is the spice of life. Customers looking for electric transportation today can choose from pure electric vehicles, extended-range plug-ins and plug-in hybrid vehicles. And the US has been key in plug-in acceptance, accounting for about 40 percent of plug-in sales. In 2013, US plug-in sales jumped 90 percent from 2012 to almost 100,000 units, including more than 22,000 each of Leafs, Volts and the Tesla Model S battery-electric sedans.

Whether plug-in vehicle adoption has hit a "turning point," as the report suggests, is in question, as the relatively high price of plug-ins and a nascent charging infrastructure may stop a wider range of drivers from taking the plug-in plunge. Still, a half-million plug-ins is nothing to sneeze at. Check out UC Davis's release below.
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ARE PLUG-IN VEHICLES TURNING THE CORNER?

By late this month or early July, Mercedes-Benz is set to start shipping its first mass-produced pure electric vehicle in the U.S. – the B-Class Electric Drive – joining producers like BMW, Nissan and Tesla, Forbes Magazine reported yesterday. Forbes stated this is another sign of the "fast growing plug-in electric vehicle market," with rising demand for electric vehicles and global PEV sales expected to reach more than "2.7 million units by 2018."

In California, the U.S. and across the globe, we are at a turning point for plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs)-as electric transportation options become technologically diverse and more available and attractive to consumers.

In the last year, global registrations of electric vehicles from the first three years of the market reached 500,000 units. The U.S. plays a dominant role, with 200,000 vehicles registered, more than one-third of those in California.

Under the classic "diffusion" theory, all new technologies-from smartphones to air conditioners- take years to make an impact with consumers, spreading from early "innovators" to the larger populace. However, within the first 36 months of large-scale availability, PEV sales are stronger than gas-electric hybrid cars were in the same time frame.

Part of the faster adoption is due to varied vehicles that have hit the market, with PEVs encompassing a broad range of technologies and charging needs:

Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs – i.e. Ford Fusion); similar to HEVs, but with bigger batteries and the ability to store electricity from plugging into an outlet.
Extended Range Electric Vehicles (EREVs – i.e. Chevy Volt); similar to PHEVs, with increased electric range.
Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs – i.e. Nissan LEAF); utilize rechargeable battery packs
BEVx: (BMW i3 with range extender); similar to BEVs, but with a small internal combustion (ICE) engine to extend driving range
"Large Battery BEV" (Tesla Model S); BEVs with range similar to gasoline vehicles.
Some of these vehicles will become available in an even more advanced, second-generation design in the next few years.

But the diverse and innovative electric vehicle sector also faces hurdles to broader acceptance and greater market adoption.

Before incentives, the average ticket price of a PEV is higher than that of traditional gas vehicles-with current buyers affluent and often very affluent. Women, who purchase and influence car purchases at a high rate (60 to 80 percent) are poorly represented in the PEV market. Charging infrastructure for electric vehicles remains a challenge, with increasing congestion at free public charging stations. To help bolster electric vehicle sales, more used vehicle inventory is crucial, with used vehicles representing two-thirds of all U.S. car purchases; the expected increased availability of formerly leased PEVs-50 percent of the current PEV market- may help do that.

The next buyers of PEVs are likely to be the current "innovator" owners, and their "fast follower" neighbors clustered in similar regional geographic pockets. These next buyers will need more optimized charging infrastructure and better customer support from dealers who are increasingly learning how to market these vehicles.

We're just beginning to observe and measure the development of the electric vehicle market. Challenges to wider commercialization lie ahead. And as we've observed at this foundational stage, the "kick start" of incentives is integral to the PEV market evolution- both domestically and internationally. Incentives vary by state, and by country, but may include tax credits, rebates, free parking, access to high occupancy vehicle lanes, and discounts on electricity.

California continues to lead the way on this "next wave" of electric transportation, with a regulatory goal of 1.5 million zero-emission vehicles on the road by 2025. Despite the challenges, the continuing growth and technological sophistication of electric vehicles suggest there's a lot of progress to follow.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 14 Comments
      TurboFroggy
      • 1 Day Ago
      The revolution is well underway now...
        EVSUPERHERO
        • 1 Day Ago
        @TurboFroggy
        Most tend to say evolution, revolution tends to be more immediate.
          Joeviocoe
          • 1 Day Ago
          @EVSUPERHERO
          BvrsEQ #ACE-EDIT: A feature of Autoblog Comments Enhancer bit.ly/Autoblog_Comments ~ Revolution is about a change in direction from has been done. ~~> Revolution is about a significant change in direction from what has already been happening.
          Joeviocoe
          • 1 Day Ago
          @EVSUPERHERO
          @ EVSUPERHERO --"revolution tends to be more immediate" Even though many people seem to think that the difference between the two is time... it is not. Revolution is about a change in direction from has been done. Evolution is about doing the same thing, but in a new way. So from the automotive perspective, it could be seen as an evolution... from an energy perspective.. revolution.
      Marco Polo
      • 1 Day Ago
      "There are now more than 500,000 EVs on the planet ! " It's this type of misleading headline that raises expectations. the atricle make no mention of how this figure is derived, or what constitutes an "EV". From the accompanying article, it's evident that this figure includes all sorts of PHEV's, some like the EREV Volt, and the BMW i3 with range extender, can be considered EV's but other are basically gas vehicles, with some EV capacity. It's these vague and often overly optimistic claims that invite avoidable, negative comments.
        Joeviocoe
        • 1 Day Ago
        @Marco Polo
        @ Marco Polo --"the atricle make no mention of how this figure is derived, or what constitutes an "EV"." The article does outline EXACTLY what constitutes a "PEV"... and how they got that number. "Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs – i.e. Ford Fusion); similar to HEVs, but with bigger batteries and the ability to store electricity from plugging into an outlet. Extended Range Electric Vehicles (EREVs – i.e. Chevy Volt); similar to PHEVs, with increased electric range. Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs – i.e. Nissan LEAF); utilize rechargeable battery packs BEVx: (BMW i3 with range extender); similar to BEVs, but with a small internal combustion (ICE) engine to extend driving range “Large Battery BEV” (Tesla Model S); BEVs with range similar to gasoline vehicles." "In the last year, global registrations of electric vehicles from the first three years of the market reached 500,000 units. The U.S. plays a dominant role, with 200,000 vehicles registered, more than one-third of those in California." So really, the only thing that is misleading... is Danny King's use of the word "EV".... rather than "Plug In" (PEV). But I suspect he is trolling us.
          Marco Polo
          • 1 Day Ago
          @Joeviocoe
          @ Joeviocoe Relax, obviously I made a typo, using the misspelt word "atricle" instead of " headline ! '' But as you rightly point out, the lack of an edit facility makes it difficult to correct.
      Jared
      • 1 Day Ago
      And they're all ugly.
      Ben Crockett
      • 1 Day Ago
      I have been impressed with the take up of PEVs over the last couple of years - from near nothing to 500K. Of course this just a marginal slice of overall new car sales but variety is giving people options which didn't really exist only a few years ago. The future take up of PEVs won't be a linear one - with big take up as retail prices continue to drop as battery costs decrease and as batterie performance continue to improve.
      brotherkenny4
      • 1 Day Ago
      I often talk disparagingly about the intelligence level of my fellow human beings (US primarily since I know them best), but to be fair the intellectual subculture of the US is still the brightest. Thus the larger buy in to EVs, since their are some that despite the brainwash rhetoric, can still rationally compare the costs of ICEs and EVs for their own specific situation. I suspect growing up with the overt disinformation media leads the intelligent to have to reject the false information presented in the main stream. Of course FOX being the most obvious, but all others too, including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, LA Times and the Washington Post. All have supplied at least misinformation regarding electric vehicles.
        Marco Polo
        • 1 Day Ago
        @brotherkenny4
        @ brotherkenny4 The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, LA Times and the Washington Post, may not agree with you, or the particular political philosophy that you so fervently believe in, but the publications mostly accurately reflect the views of most mainstream readers. Now if you're an ardent supporter of any cause, and these media organisation criticise,or highlight a negative aspect of your particular belief, naturally you will be unhappy with the media outlet. This doesn't make them, or their millions of readers/viewers, evil, stupid, malignant or beneath contempt, it just means either your cause hasn't yet sold it merits to form a favourable public opinion, or maybe others don't see the world as you do.
          Marco Polo
          • 1 Day Ago
          @Marco Polo
          @ Joeviocoe There's a good deal of truth in what you write, and of course what's interesting to the public, isn't always "in the public interest". It's also true that modern media often blurs entertainment, opinion, and factual reporting, while sensationalising and distorting, but 'twas always so, right from the beginning of mass media ! However, it's not the vast conspiracy that doom-sayers like "brotherkenney" , believe. Nor is the content of all media just propaganda for a corporation, ( some of Murdoch's 'quality' publications, not only disagree with his views, but are openly critical of him personally. yet, he not only tolerates, but encourages these publication, most of which are loss making enterprises, funded by his largesse ) . I think the media is more reflective of society, and the human condition, than idealists demand. That's my point, "idealists", usually see virtue only in their own ideals.
          Joeviocoe
          • 1 Day Ago
          @Marco Polo
          @ Marco Polo --"but the publications mostly accurately reflect the views of most mainstream readers." No, that is not how modern media works. That is a journalistic ideal you are describing. Real media strives to incite emotion, attempts to persuade views rather than reflect them, and focuses on sensationalism, rather than content accuracy or fact checking. --"This doesn't make them, or their millions of readers/viewers, evil, stupid,.." No, but that is a strawman argument. They are self serving, like any corporation... but journalistic integrity doesn't always align with their interests. Not "evil", but certainly not as "trustworthy" as they pretend to be (fair and balanced). Viewers are not stupid... but they certainly are susceptible to suggestion and coercion. This doesn't mean stupid... as billions of people are convinced daily in their particular religion,... billions of people are manipulated by media too. They aren't 'stupid', just human.
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