New optimism for electric vehicle sales?

The tipping point for plug-in sales isn't like to come until 2017, with Pike Research predicting annual shipments of 1 million for that year.
Written by Heather Clancy, Contributor

This year has been pretty rough for electric vehicle advocates in the United States, with grim predictions for sales, concerns over battery-related fires (concerns that have turned out to be ill-founded) and a shifting political climate. So, I read with interest some new information published by Pike Research that suggest sales of plug-in electric vehicles will ramp up substantially after 2015.

The report, "Plug-in Electric Vehicles," doesn't offer all that much optimism in the next several years. Fewer than a half-million electric vehicles are expected to hit the road in the United States between 2011 and 2015 (the prediction is for 410,000 to be more precise).

In the United States, Pike doesn't expect plug-in electric vehicle sales to reach 1 million until 2018. Globally speaking, annual shipments of electric vehicles should hit 1 million somewhere around 2017, the research firm predicted.

Said Pike Research director John Gartner:

"While it is true that plug-in electric vehicles have seen delays in arriving on the market and have sold in fewer numbers than originally anticipated, we expect strong growth as global PEV sales volumes will nearly triple between 2012 and 2014. Automotive companies have made a strong commitment to electric vehicles and their viability as a transportation platform is no longer in doubt."

I personally don't share the optimism of that last statement, but even though mainstream interest in electric vehicles continues to lag, the continued support of the category by the business world is helping put more of them on the road.

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