We’ve begun installing chargers for electric cars in Los Angeles – thus my new interest in electric cars. Interest in electric cars (electric vehicles or EVs) is picking up because the Nissan Leaf just began deliveries in L.A. in December and the Chevy Volt is supposed to start deliveries early this year. Los Angeles buyers are starting to install electric chargers for these vehicles, and I’m starting to learn a lot more about EVs.
Of course, as someone who installs chargers for electric cars, I’m interested in how many will be sold in Los Angeles. Sorry folks, no one really knows. Forecasts are all over the board.
Pike Research, a transportation analysis firm, just projected in early 2011 that in the next six years, between 2011 and 2017, over 96,000 electric vehicles will be sold in Los Angeles. It projects that Los Angeles purchases will be second highest in the country, trailing only New York City. Its overall projection is 366,000 EVs sold nationwide by 2017.
Another study in 2009 by the University of California, Berkeley (Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology) projected that the U.S. will hit 1,000,000 EVs sold by 2017. This is still far lower than President Obama’s call for 1,000,000 by 2015, which many analysts consider realistic.
Why are the projections so different? The U.C. study explains. It mostly depends on the price of gasoline. For example, if gas prices continue at about $3.50 a gallon, U.C. forecasts only 18% of new car sales will be electric in 2020. But if gas prices rise to about $5.50 a gallon, the forecast rises to 45% of new car sales in 2020. Of course, experience tells us that gas prices move up and down very quickly and unexpectedly, often depending on events in the volatile Middle East.
The safest statement one can make about electric cars sales in Los Angeles is that they’re starting in a big way now and will continue to increase over the coming years. Another safe statement – buying an electric car and installing a charger is going to protect you from the wild ups and downs of gas prices, something no one can predict.
If you have bought or are thinking of buying a new electric car, click her for more about what’s involved in installation of a charger for your EV.