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Wednesday, January 13, 2016

1 Million Plug-in Cars on U.S. Roads

2015 has come and gone, along with it President Obama’s goal from 2010 to put 1 million plug-in vehicles (PEV) on the road in the United States by 2015 has passed by unaccomplished.

It was not a complete loss though, worldwide there were 1 million PEVs on the road at the close of 2015. The atmosphere does not have a national citizenship, so I'll still count this as a victory.

The atmosphere does not have a national citizenship.

Since the goal for US roadways didn't happen in 2015, when will there be 1 million plug-in vehicles on US roads? Let's make some estimations. First, I looked at the PEV sales data on EDTA and added a simple linear trend in sales growth. The result is the chart below:

This chart predicts that as 2018 closes and we ring in 2019, we'll be just shy of the 1 million vehicle goal. If this is accurate (unlikely) we'll hit the goal in January of 2019.

Of course, there are many factors that could influence this: gas prices, emissions and CAFE targets, incentives, technology breakthroughs...

For the sales trend above, I used the pessimistic linear trend. A polynomial or exponential sales trend is much more optimistic and would hasten the accomplishment significantly.

EV-pessimist and opinion writer at The Washington Post, Charles Lane, has made a significant bet that this 1 million PEV goal will not be achieved by the end of 2018. The above chart has him barely winning this bet. However, when the next generation of affordable 200-mile range EVs go on sale (Chevy Bolt, Tesla Model 3, next gen Nissan Leaf...) in 2017, there should be a significant step-up in EV sales and then sorry Charlie, 2018 will be the "year of 1 million PEVs".

2018 will be the Year of 1 Million Plug-in Vehicles on U.S. roadways.

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