Sales of plug-in electric vehicles will reach about 400,000 units annually by 2020, according to an estimate released Tuesday by Pike Research, a number that falls far short of the Obama administration's goal of seeing 1 million EVs on the road by 2015. Pike says there will be about 392,000 electric vehicles total on the road in 2015.
California, New York, Florida and Texas will lead the way as consumers slowly adopt to the new technology, according to the report. The top five metropolitan areas for plug-in electric vehicle sales are expected to be New York City, Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay Area, Seattle and Portland, Ore.
Nationwide, 2.1 percent of total vehicle sales are expected to be plug-in electrics
Electric vehicle sales have been slower than some expected due to the lingering weakness of the economy, and many Americans still have lots of questions about electric vehicles, including concerns about range.
Consumers who live within Southern California Edison's territory will account for the largest number of sales, followed closely by PG&E customers, according to Pike.
"Los Angeles has a greater population and a huge car culture," said Dave Hurst, a senior research analyst with Pike Research who authored the "Electric Vehicle Geographic Forecasts" report. "And L.A. has been a
Consumers who buy plug-in hybrid and pure electric vehicles like the Chevy Volt, Nissan Leaf and Tesla Model S tend to be highly educated early adopters of new technologies. Pike Research, which is part of Navigant Consulting's Global Energy Practice, regularly conducts market research on renewable energy, electric vehicles and the smart grid. Pike looked at current hybrid vehicle registration as well as demographic data on individual metropolitan areas to forecast electric vehicle sales growth.
Four of the nation's top 10 metropolitan areas for electric vehicle sales are expected to be in California: Los Angeles/Long Beach; the Bay Area, which includes Oakland and Fremont; San Jose/Santa Clara, and the Sacramento area.
Hawaii, where fuel costs are high and average driving distances are relatively short, is expected to have the highest concentration of electric vehicles of any state, with 12.3 percent. Hawaii is the most oil-dependent state in the United States, and gets more than 95 percent of its energy from imported fossil fuels. It received federal stimulus dollars through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles and limit Hawaii's dependence on petroleum. Palo Alto-based Tesla Motors (TSLA) plans to open a service center in Honolulu by March 2013.
Contact Dana Hull at 408-920-2706. Follow her at Twitter.com/danahull.
Top 10 metro area markets for plug-in electric vehicles
The numbers represent a forecast of units expected to be sold by 2020.
New York-northern New Jersey-Long Island: 33,700
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana: 21,632
San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont: 20,204
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara: 10,843
San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos: 9,977
Source: Pike Research