With more than 133,000 plug-in electric vehicles sold in 2014, North America is currently the world’s strongest market for these vehicles.
According to a new report from Navigant Research, North American plug-in vehicle sales are expected to exceed 1.1 million annually by 2024.
Overall, the United States is expected to be the largest market throughout the forecast period, with annual plug-in electric vehicle sales in 2024 exceeding 860,000 in the conservative scenario and 1.2 million in the aggressive. Annual sales in Canada, which is about 1 year behind the United States in terms of vehicle availability, are expected to reach over 74,000 plug-in electric vehicles in the conservative scenario and over 91,000 in the aggressive by 2024.
Currently, plug-in vehicle 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 plug-in electric vehicles 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, plug-in vehicle sales will grow most quickly in states with large vehicle markets, high plug-in electric vehicle incentives, well-developed infrastructure, and a high EV index.
“Automaker adoption of EV technologies as adaptations for existing model lines is growing significantly, and these technologies are being placed into larger vehicle segments such as sport utility vehicles, trucks, and minivans,” says Scott Shepard, research analyst with Navigant Research. “Similarly, the introduction of next-generation, fully electric vehicles with ranges near or over 200 miles and price points below $40,000 is expected to drastically increase mass-market EV acceptance as a pragmatic transportation option.”
While plug-in electric vehicles today represent a marginal increase in load for utilities, according to the report, EV concentration in metropolitan areas is expected to push utilities to develop strategies for load mitigation in concert with regulatory authorities. Utilities serving these metro areas, particularly in California, have been at the forefront of developing advanced demand-side management programs for residential EV charging and vehicle-grid integration, and those in emerging North American EV markets are expected to follow suit, creating new opportunities for energy aggregators and electric vehicle supply equipment service providers.