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Why New York and L.A. will dominate the electric car market


A market research firm ranked Portland 12th among the 50 largest metropolitan areas for projected electric vehicle purchases between now and 2017.

A market research firm ranked Portland 12th among the 50 largest metropolitan areas for projected electric vehicle purchases between now and 2017.

President Obama has set a target of 1 million electric cars on the road in the U.S. by 2015. Which roads will host them? Which utilities will provide the juice to charge them?

A new report from Pike Research says California and New York will be the top markets for electric vehicles. It also projects an annual market for EVs of 359,000 by 2017.

Portland ranks 12th among the 50 largest metropolitan areas in the U.S. for projected EV purchases between now and 2017.

Sustainable Business Oregon reports Portland will have 700 electric vehicles by the end of the year, and 7,600 by the end of 2017. By comparison, New York City is projected to lead with 116,718 EVs sold by 2017. Los Angeles: 96,175. The difference in projected sales was determined by the population area, early roll-out schedules from car manufacturers and positive attitudes toward plug-in electrics.

Portland scored high in some areas of the ranking criteria. For example, it was No. 1 in demographics matching the market for hybrid cars. As a state, Oregon ranked 5th in having an EV roll-out plan. But other places out-shined us in their attitudes toward plug-in electric cars.

“Electric vehicle adoption will follow markedly different patterns in various parts of the country,” says senior analyst Dave Hurst. “Demographics, consumer attitudes, city and utility infrastructure, and manufacturer launch plans will all have an influence on the uptake of PEVs in different areas.”

Here’s the report’s top 5 cities for electric vehicle purchases from 2011 to 2017:

  1. New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island, NY-NJ-PA
  2. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, CA
  3. San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, CA
  4. San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos, CA
  5. Chicago-Naperville-Joliet, IL-IN-WI

Also important to note is the message that follows these findings. The research group warns that these cities and their utilities need to be ready for the pressure EVs will put on the grid:

“As government officials and utility managers plan for the arrival of grid-connected vehicles, they need to understand where those vehicles are going to be located and what the impact could be.”

Southern California Edison better be ready, researchers conclude, for the maximum potential EV draw of 498 megawatts. And Pacific Gas & Electric, 466 megawatts.

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