Top 6 Plug-In Vehicle Adopting Countries

1. United States

Chevy-Volt-S-bend

Since 2010, a total of 168,152 battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) have been sold.

This does not include around 1,800 sales of the Tesla Roadster, 1,600 Fisker Karmas and 500 Mini Es, but if you wish, add them in and you have just over 172,000 plug-in vehicles since 2008.

By either count, the U.S. – a manufacturer and innovator in the plug-in vehicle space – is the highest adopter by a wide margin when looking at volume, but on a percentage basis it is only just decent in the scheme of things.

Last year saw an increase in sales to 96,050 units compared to 53,172 units in 2012. However, given the U.S. population is estimated at more than 320 million, the penetration rate per 1000 people is 0.53, and market share out of 15.53 million passenger vehicles sold in 2013 was 0.62 percent.

The U.S. is projected to continue as a driver to the global plug-in car market due in part to its federal Corporate Average Fuel Economy mandates. These will tighten fleet emissions and mpg requirements from 2017 to 2025 – although the rules are actually written so that automakers can meet standards with only 1-3 percent plug-in cars if they choose to maximize efficiency from conventional gas and diesel technologies.

It’s been said that a more robust push to the market is coming from Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) mandates imposed by the California Air Resources Board (CARB), and other states that have signed onto these rules.

The U.S. auto industry this year is reportedly preparing a push of its own – against the strict rules that mandate by 2025 one out of seven cars sold must be a ZEV, but CARB’s rules will continue as a prod – or, depending on perspective, a threatened hoop automakers must jump through.

Meanwhile, consumers are becoming aware of plug-in cars, and while unconvinced consumers and some in the media in turn push back also, there is room for much more growth.