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Pike Research forecasts US plug-in vehicle penetration rates to be highest in smaller states

Pike Research forecasts that annual sales of plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) will reach 358,959 vehicles by 2017, representing a compound anual growth rate (CAGR) of 43% between 2011 and 2017. To understand where these vehicles will likely be sold, Pike Research created a geographic forecast model using a variety of inputs including population and demographic trends; affinity towards electric vehicles; and automakers’ intended availability of vehicles.

While the most populous states will see the highest sales volumes, with California, New York and Florida likely leading the way, as a percentage of total vehicle sales, smaller states will lead, with Hawaii, Oregon, Washington, DC, and Delaware among the top states for PEV penetration.

Pike forecasts that California, New York and Florida will post cumulative PEV vehicle sales between 2011 and 2017 of 366,099, 146,242, and 101,530 units, representing 5.4%, 3.7%, and 2.8% penetration, respectively.

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%).

Pike Research forecasts that the top 5 metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) for cumulative electric vehicle purchases between 2011 and 2017 will be:

  • New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island, NY-NJ-PA
  • Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, CA
  • San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, CA
  • San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos, CA
  • Chicago-Naperville-Joliet, IL-IN-WI

Despite being large MSAs in terms of population, Dallas, Philadelphia, Houston, Atlanta, and Washington, DC are not expected to show strong sales of PEVs, with all forecast to have fewer than 28,000 PEVs in their respective markets. California dominates the tope ten MSAs when ranked by PEV sales, with all six of the top California MSAs in the top ten, along with New York CIty, Chicago, Phoenix and Seattle.

Relative to population, the firm anticipates that PEV penetration rates will be the highest in several smaller MSAs including Raleigh-Cary, NC; San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA; and Sacramento-Arden Arcade-Roseville, CA.

Pike Research expects that the electric utilities with the largest number of electric vehicles will be:

  • Southern California Edison (California)
  • Pacific Gas & Electric (California)
  • Consolidated Edison (New York)
  • Exelon (Illinois, Pennsylvania)
  • FPL Group (Florida)

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

—Pike Research senior analyst Dave Hurst

Using current hybrid vehicle owner demographics as a model, Pike ranked geographic regions by an index rating that compared them with the national average; the demographic measures included age, gender, household income, race and household size. The MSAs that most match the model demographics were:

  • Portland-Vancouver-Beaverton, OR-WA
  • Salt Lake City, UT
  • Denver-Aurora-Broomfield, CO
  • Providence-New Bedford-Fall River, MA
  • San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos, CA

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 (1.0 represents the national average). The top areas are:

  • Northern California: 4.36
  • Southern California: 2.90
  • North Carolina: 2.86
  • Arizona: 2.85
  • Downstate NY: 2.27
  • Ohio: 1.69

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.

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.



Kelly's Research says Prius plugin models will sell 358,959 vehicles by 2017 annually.


Kelly's Research may have under estimated Prius PHEVs annual sales by 2017. If the world can avoid a double dip recession, 500,000+ may be more like it.

Jason France

Friendly Chevrolet

One of the largest used car dealers in Dallas Texas

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