Boulder, Colorado – Demand for electric vehicles exists around the globe and will reach 3.1 per cent of the worldwide market share by 2017, along with 5.1 per cent of the U.S. market, according to Pike Research.

The research firm said that the combination of purchase incentives, rising fossil fuel costs and new models is fuelling a strong early adopter market for hybrid vehicles (HEV) and plug-in hybrid vehicles (PEV), along with new electric vehicles including the Chevrolet Spark EV and Honda Fit EV.

“The PEV market is anticipated to miss many of the targets set by governments, because vehicle programs have not been launching as rapidly as expected even a year ago,” said senior analyst Dave Hurst. “Those targets aside, though, the EV market will grow at a rapid clip in the next six years, at a rate of nearly 20 per cent a year, compared to fewer than 4 per cent of the worldwide market for vehicles of all kinds.”

Overall, the Asia Pacific region is expected to experience the most rapid growth in the number of plug-in electric models, followed by Europe and North America. There will be 26 models of PEVs available in Asia Pacific by the end of 2011, compared to 23 in Europe and ten in North America. However, strong demand for hybrid vehicles in North America will lead to the availability of 40 models by the end of 2012, versus 14 in Asia Pacific.

Within the U.S., the PEV market is currently led by the Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf, but Pike anticipates that Ford’s model diversification and recharging equipment strategy will “shake up the market,” and the company will likely take the market lead by 2017 with a 23.6 per cent PEV market share. Toyota and General Motors will likely find themselves fighting for second place with 21.1 and 20.7 market share respectively. Tesla’s dealer strategy and high price point are expected to limit its market access, but Pike still expects its market share to grow from 2.2 per cent in 2011 to 4.6 per cent by 2017.

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