Boulder, Colorado – Plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) will probably see their highest sales successes in smaller states, according to a new report by Pike Research.

Sales of PEVs are expected to accelerate rapidly over the next several years, posting a compound annual growth rate of 43 per cent between 2011 and 2017, and with sales reaching almost 360,000 vehicles by 2017.

The most populous states will see the highest sales, with California, New York and Florida among them, but as a percentage of total vehicle sales, smaller states will lead the way, the researchers said. Hawaii, Oregon, Delaware and Washington, D.C. will all be among the top states for PEV penetration.

Hawaii will be the top state, with PEVs forecast at 6.3 per cent of total light-duty vehicle sales in 2017. The state typically has some of the highest gas prices in the U.S. Following Hawaii for PEV penetration rate will be California and Oregon at 5.4 per cent, Washington, D.C. at 4.6 per cent, and Delaware at 4.5 per cent.

“PEV penetration will be influenced by several factors,” said senior analyst Dave Hurst. “Demographics, consumer attitudes, and available infrastructure will all help determine the uptake of PEVs in different areas.”

Vehicle availability will vary widely by state and region because of manufacturers’ roll-out schedules. Today, New York and California account for more than half of the available PEVs in the U.S., while states such as Mississippi, Arkansas, Alabama, Wyoming and Alaska have very few. This means that certain utilities, such as Southern California Edison and New York’s Consolidated Edison will need to accelerate preparations for significant roll-outs of PEVs, compared to their counterparts in other regions.

Consumer attitudes toward electric vehicles differ from state to state as well. Data from Pike Research’s customer surveys showed that consumers in Northern California had the most positive opinions, while those in North Dakota had the lowest.

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