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Electric-Vehicle Sales Move Out of First Gear
CNBC.com | November 11, 2011 | 04:26 PM EST

Although sales of some models have missed expectations, electric vehicles, or EV, are a greentech success story just by showing up in significant numbers in 2011.

“Nascent, tiny but growing,” says Garvin Jabusch, chief investment officer at Green Alpha Advisors, describing the EV market currently.

John Gartner, senior analyst at boutique research firm Pike Research, says the plug-in EV market is “in its infancy” but will see 48-percent annual growth through 2017, with 1,400,000 vehicles sold worldwide by then.

While it’s still an early adopters market, Jabusch adds that he expects sales to “slowly but steadily gather momentum for a few years” until a tipping point is reached “where they're obviously the superior value, and in many ways the superior performance option across the board.”

This year saw two plug-in EV models launch in North America and take most of headlines — the Nissan Leaf and the Chevy Volt.

The Leaf, an all-electric vehicle priced around $33,000, has sold over 6,000 units so far. The car priced

But sales of the plug-in EV and gasoline hybrid Volt sales have been less than hoped. General Motors has sold around 3,000 of the $42,000 car so far this year, after setting a 10,000-unit sales target.

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