Sales of plug-in electric vehicles could reach 1.8 million units per year 10 years from now.

While plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) are available in all U.S. states, most Canadian provinces and territories, and in every Western European country, they are not yet readily accessible in the Asia Pacific region. That will change over the next several years as Asia Pacific is set to become the largest market for PEV sales.

According to a recent report from Navigant Research, titled “Electric Vehicle Geographic Forecasts”, sales of PEVs in North America, Western Europe, and Asia Pacific will grow from 352,000 annually in 2014 to 1.8 million in 2023.

“PEVs are becoming more available and more price-competitive, both geographically and in vehicle segments outside of small and luxury car classes,” said Scott Shepard, research analyst with Navigant Research. “That is expanding the universe of potential PEV buyers beyond the narrow demographics of early adopters to a wider market that is similar to that for hybrid electric vehicles.”

Navigant stated PEVs are better suited to and marketed toward urban areas, as vehicle range requirements are typically shorter in these communities. As such, the concentration of PEVs is anticipated to be higher in geographic areas with higher populations and more households.

The largest urban markets during the forecast period, according to the report, will be Tokyo, Los Angeles, and Paris, with forecasted PEV sales in 2023 of 49,000, 39,000, and 25,000 vehicles, respectively.

Navigant also stated to date, North America is the strongest market for light duty plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs), with nearly 100,000 sold in 2013. Japan is a distant second, with just under 30,000 sales, followed by the Netherlands (over 23,000) and China (over 17,000).

A noteworthy point coming out of the report has to do with the load expected on utilities. Per Navigant, how and where PEVs are bought will affect grid distribution systems and utility business models since Navigant Research estimates PEVs increase residential customer load by 33 to 37 percent.