North America is currently the world's largest market for plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs), with more than 133,000 sold in 2014 and the majority of vehicles concentrated in California, according to a report from Navigant Research. The firm expects sales of such vehicles in North America to total nearly 7.4 million from 2015 to 2024.
Overall, the report says the U.S. is slated to be the largest market throughout the forecast period, with annual PEV sales in 2024 exceeding 860,000 in the conservative scenario and 1.2 million in the aggressive. Annual sales in Canada, which is about one year behind the U.S. in terms of vehicle availability, are expected to reach over 74,000 PEVs in the conservative scenario and over 91,000 in the aggressive by 2024.
Currently, the report says PEV sales are concentrated in California, where the vehicles already account for over 3% of the state's total light-duty vehicle market. State incentives, alongside the mandates of the California Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Program, will likely continue to push PEV penetrations in the state to between 15% and 22% by 2024. Other ZEV Program-participating states are expected to see similar growth. Outside of the ZEV states, the report says PEV sales will grow most quickly in states with large vehicle markets, high PEV incentives, well-developed infrastructure, and a high PEV index.
To date, PEV sales have been concentrated in areas where lucrative government incentives have been offered for both drivers and vehicle manufacturers, according to the report. In the U.S., automakers are reaping incentive benefits from PEVs that comply with federal Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards and, in turn, are offering generous lease terms to drivers.
“The increasing availability of electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE), or charging stations, is one factor that is helping to drive the PEV market in North America,” adds Scott Shepard, research analyst with Navigant Research. “Expansion of EVSE infrastructure to intra-city locations will make PEVs more attractive to drivers initially concerned about being unable to charge their vehicle during longer trips.”