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US to lead world in electric car sales by 2020, study says

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Jae C. Hong/AP/File

(Read caption) The Ford Focus Electric car is displayed next to a home charging station at the LA Auto Show last November. There could be as many as 1.8 million plug-in electric vehicles on US roads by 2020, according to Pike Research.

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There's no doubt about it: Electric car sales are going up.

2012 saw sales triple compared to 2011, and while the overall number of electric cars will increase in modest amounts, improved education and more choice should ensure a general upward trend.

According to Pike Research, there could be as many as 1.8 million plug-in electric vehicles on U.S. roads by 2020.

Many of those will continue to be in the existing top metropolitan areas for electric vehicle sales--New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle and Portland--but popularity will increase in other areas, too.

While California will account for one in five new electric car sales by 2020, according to Pike, other states will increase too--aided by increasing charging networks.

 

Even Texas, not the first place many would think of as pro-electric car, has seen a large increase in the number of charging stations available through 2012. Perhaps even more surprisingly, it's now listed fourth in PIke's index of states with "positive opinions towards EVs"--from 42nd place in 2010. 

But perhaps the most telling statistic is highlighted by New York Daily News--with worldwide electric vehicle sales set to expand to 3.8 million by 2020, the U.S. will be home to 47 percent of new vehicle sales.

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With Europe and Japan likely to also play a large part in future electric car sales, that positions the U.S. comfortably at the top of the list for EV adoption.

2013 and 2014 will see the debuts of some incredibly important and exciting plug-in vehicles. If the rest of the decade continues that trend, maybe 1.8 million plug-in vehicles by 2020 isn't such a surprising target.

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