2011 Nissan Leaf at quick-charging stationEnlarge Photo
It's conventional wisdom that more electric cars will be sold in California than in any other state. Some estimates say Californians will buy more plug-in cars than the next five states combined.
But California has roughly 25 million vehicles on its roads, so while the absolute numbers are high, it won't be the state with the highest percentage of electric cars.
Which state will see the single greatest penetration rates of electric cars, as a proportion of total vehicles on its roads? Care to guess?
According to Pike Research, the answer will be Hawaii, Oregon, Washington, D.C. (technically not a state, but OK), and Delaware (which just happens to have a Fisker Automotive assembly plant that's now starting to hire workers--hmmmmmmmm).
Hawaii is a perfect place for electric cars, since it must import all of its refined petroleum products, meaning that it is often the most expensive single state in which to buy gasoline. And its islands are relatively small, so travel distances are limited, meaning range anxiety is less an issue than for drivers in wide-open Plains states.
Pike expects plug-in cars to represent 6.3 percent of all vehicles sold in Hawaii just six years from now.
Following Hawaii will be California and Oregon (tied at 5.4 percent), Washington, D.C. (4.6 percent), and then Delaware (4.5 percent).
The projections come from the "Electric Vehicle Geographic Forecasts" report written early this year, one of several peddled by Pike for prices we presume to be so high that they require a login to view them so as not to cause heart attacks among casual readers.
Thankfully for humble journalists, Pike puts out a cheerful weekly summary that often includes some of the top-line conclusions from their reports. Hence this article.
Pike also projects that overall annual U.S. sales of plug-in vehicles will reach 360,000 a year by 2017, representing a compound annual growth rate of 43 percent between now and then.