Sales of plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) are expected to accelerate rapidly over the next several years, posting a compound annual growth rate of 43% between 2011 and 2017, with annual sales reaching almost 360,000 vehicles by 2017. Adoption of PEVs will vary significantly by geography. Unsurprisingly, the most populous states will see the highest sales, with California, New York and Florida recording the highest PEV sales over that same period.As a percentage of total vehicle sales, however, smaller states will lead the way. According to a recent report from Pike Research, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington, D.C., and Delaware will all be among the top states for PEV penetration.

Hawaii, which typically has among the highest gas prices in the nation, will be the top state, with PEVs representing 6.3% of total light-duty vehicle sales in 2017. The second highest penetration rate will be in California (5.4%), followed by Oregon (5.4%), Washington, D.C. (4.6%), and Delaware (4.5%).

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

In addition, because of manufacturers’ rollout schedules, the availability of PEVs will vary widely by state and by region. New York and California today account for more than half of the available PEVs in the United States, while Southern states like Mississippi, Arkansas, and Alabama, as well as largely rural states such as Wyoming and Alaska, have very few plug-in electric vehicles available. This means that certain utilities, such as Southern California Edison and Pacific Gas & Electric in California and New York’s Consolidated Edison, will need to accelerate their preparations for significant rollouts of PEVs compared to their counterparts in other regions.

Consumer attitudes toward electric vehicles differ from state to state, as well. Using data from Pike Research’s Electric Vehicle Customer Survey, as well as qualitative indicators, Pike Research developed an “Index of Positive Opinion” toward PEVs. Scores ranged from 4.36, for Northern California, to 0.07 (effectively, a negative overall opinion) in North Dakota.

Pike Research’s report, “Electric Vehicle Geographic Forecasts”, provides data and forecasts for the plug-in electric vehicle market at the state and metropolitan statistical area levels. The report also includes forecasts for plug-in electric vehicle sales within selected electric utility service territories. The data includes sales forecasts from 2011 to 2017 at each geographic level, and analysis of major trends in the forecasts.