EV Leader Will Be Hawaii, Report Says

Cleantech-friendly and huge, California will of course gobble up a big portion of electric vehicle sales in the United States from now to 2017, but on a proportional basis a much smaller state will show greater green car fervor, a new report says.

Plug-in electrics (PEVs) will account for 6.3 percent of light-duty vehicle sales in Hawaii in the period, says Pike Research, beating out the Golden State’s robust but second-best penetration rate of 5.4 percent. And if you think about it, it makes sense: Gas is expensive in California, but Hawaii typically has the highest fuel prices in the country.

electric vehicle sales penetration, Pike Research

image via Shutterstock

After Hawaii and California, Pike says the highest penetration rates will come in Oregon (5.4 percent), Washington, D.C. (4.6 percent), and Delaware (4.5%).

“PEV penetration will be influenced by several factors,” Pike senior analyst Dave Hurst says. “Demographics, consumer attitudes and available infrastructure will all help determine the uptake of PEVs in different areas.” Where companies focus their sales in rolling out new models will also be telling, Pike says.

On the consumer attitude front, Pike says it found huge regional variance. For instance, Northern Californians had an “Index of Positive Opinion” toward PEVs score of 4.36, while in North Dakota, the score was to 0.07 – effectively, a negative overall opinion, Pike says.

Pete Danko is a writer and editor based in Portland, Oregon. His work has appeared in Breaking Energy, National Geographic's Energy Blog, The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle and elsewhere.