About 22 million electric vehicles to be sold from 2012 to 2020

While sales of electric vehicles have not met the expectations of governments and automakers, they continue to expand steadily. Both plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) and hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) have become widely available in Asia Pacific, North America and Western Europe, and are being introduced in Eastern Europe, Latin America and the Middle East.

According to a recent report from Navigant Research, a total of 21.9 million electric vehicles will be sold worldwide during the period from 2012 to 2020.

"The average price of fuel for conventional vehicles will likely continue to rise through the remainder of this decade, driving demand for electric vehicles," says Dave Hurst, principal research analyst with Navigant Research. "Government policy, in terms of purchase incentives, emissions regulations, fuel taxes, and fuel economy rules, will also play a strong role in the expansion of the EV market."

Electric vehicles sales will grow at a much more rapid pace than the overall automotive market, according to the report. While the overall auto market will expand only 2 percent a year through 2020, sales of plug-in EVs will grow at a compound annual growth rate of nearly 40 percent over the remainder of the decade. Nevertheless, by 2020, PEVs will still make up only a small fraction of annual light-duty vehicle sales — less than 2 percent, the study concludes.

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