Plug-in vehicles are poised to hit the consumer market at the end of 2010 and will achieve widespread distribution in 2011. But will drivers of these vehicles, which need to be plugged into the electrical grid to recharge, find themselves running on empty when it comes to finding a robust charging infrastructure? The answer is a resounding “maybe.”

A new market study from Oyster Bay, N.Y.-based ABI Research, “Plug-in Vehicle Infrastructures,” projects a fast-growing market for charging station infrastructure, with worldwide revenues reaching $11.75 billion for the installation of 3 million charging stations by 2015, up from approximately 20,000 stations installed in 2010.

The United States leads this market, given the country’s strong purchasing power for electric vehicles (EVs) and plug-in hybrid-electric vehicles (PHEVs), and the willingness of public and private entities to invest in infrastructure build-out projects. ABI Research projects the United States will represent a little more than half (54%) of the world market of installed charging stations by 2015, followed by China (23%), which will have as many charging stations as the rest of the world (23%).

Research director Larry Fisher says, “Infrastructure supporting EVs and PHEVs is on the cusp of a rapid and sustained growth curve. The charging infrastructure technology is here. We’re just waiting for the release of these vehicles into the market. Given the limited range per charge, however, early adopters will need to keep their journeys relatively short.”

Fisher notes that significant funding and tax credits from governments around the world are likely to help jump-start the adoption of plug-in vehicles and related infrastructure projects, but the market’s ultimate success will be determined by consumers choosing to drive low- and zero-emission vehicles.

Source: ABI Research