Center for Automotive Research releases study on estimated US distribution pattern of electric vehicles through 2015; focus on incentives
|The CAR study uses the distribution of hybrid sales as the basis to estimate the distribution of plug-in electric vehicle sales. Source: CAR. Click to enlarge.|
In a new study, the Center for Automotive Research, an Ann Arbor, Michigan-based nonprofit research organization, is estimating the national distribution patterns of electric vehicles across the United States, and the incentive programs that will assist with the proliferation of these vehicles, over the next four years.
The study is not a forecast sales of electric vehicles; rather, it estimates electric vehicle deployment by state, using other forecasts of total electric vehicle sales in the US to generate a reasonable approximation of what electric vehicle sales might look like for the period 2012 to 2015. Within the study, CAR denotes the percentages it used to divide national electric vehicle sales among states. With the state percentages, one could select any forecast and generate state-by-state results based on that forecast.
The study uses hybrid vehicle sales in each of the 50 states as a proxy for electric vehicle sales, and a national estimate of electric vehicle market share annually. That estimate puts a total of 496,000 plug-in electric vehicles on US roads in 2015, with annual sales of 27,000 for 2011; 77,000 for 2012; 116,000 for 2013; 136,000 for 2014; and 140,000 for 2015.
Among the findings of the study are that, by 2015, California will be selling close to 35,000 electric vehicles each year with more than 110,000 electric vehicles registered in the state. Other states will be selling less than 8,000 electric vehicles per year, with fewer than 26,000 total registrations by 2015, even in the large markets of Texas, New York, and Florida.
The report notes that these estimates are highly subject to variation and could be altered by unexpected shocks such as a major oil price spike or by planned conditions such as aggressive incentive programs. It also notes that, while the specific numbers may not be exact, their magnitude should be correct along with relative sales among states.
It is unlikely, for instance, that a state projected to sell only a couple hundred vehicles annually by 2015 will be selling thousands. It is also unlikely that California will be selling only a few thousand electric vehicles annually by 2015. If anything, states that have been selected as early deployment states, or have already committed to being leaders in electric vehicle deployment and have been recognized as such, will see faster rates of electric vehicle adoption (higher levels of sales than the table above predicts), while other states may experience slower adoption rates (lower sales levels).—CAR study
The authors note that actual deployment across the states will undoubtedly be different from the estimates; however, they add,this study and estimating tool give a reasonable starting point and can be revisited as more vehicles enter the marketplace.
We obviously find that many factors could affect deployment. Among these are fleet operations decisions, development and expansion of EV-friendly cities and regions, and enactment of government programs. Both local government and private sector fleets can serve as a major driving force for deployment of electric vehicles. As fleet managers gather data on the performance of electric vehicles, they can determine in which niches these vehicles might fit well. Companies can write off electric vehicle purchases as a business expense; due to high levels of utilization, these vehicles will have a relatively short payback period, favoring early deployment among fleets.
EV-friendly cities and regions can offer perks to owners of vehicles by creating plug-in-infrastructure and providing special parking and driving privileges, serving to assist in driving consumer demand. Additionally, governmental programs such as the Clean Cities initiative and other partnerships bring together multiple stakeholders to ensure that deployment is organized and that support for vehicles is available even before they arrive in cities.—CAR study
|Click to enlarge.|