Worldwide sales of battery-electric and plug-in hybrid-electric vehicles will climb to 5.2 million units by 2017, up from 114,000 units in 2011, according to a new report.
The report by Pike Research estimates that sales of hybrid-electric vehicles -- such as the Toyota Prius -- will reach 8.7 million vehicles by 2015, for a combined total of 13.9 million electrified vehicles.
"Increasing fuel costs, government-purchase incentives, increasing fuel-economy standards and increased vehicle availability will benefit all three types of electric vehicles to varying degrees," said Dave Hurst, senior analyst for the Boulder, Colo.-based market research firm.
"In the hybrid electric market, the incentives are playing less of a role as countries either eliminate incentives or offer low incentives, but a number of models in many vehicle segments equates to broader appeal in North America and growth in Europe."
While Pike Research predicts that electrified vehicles will become a growing portion of total vehicle sales, the penetration rates will remain relatively low in the context of the total automotive industry, according to the firm.
The firm forecasts that all electrified-vehicle sales will represent approximately 3% of total light-duty vehicle sales in 2017.
Adoption will be highest in North America, where electrified vehicles will capture 4.9% of the total light-duty vehicle market in that year, according to Pike Research's projections.
Pike Research's report, "Electric Vehicle Market Forecasts," includes detailed forecasts through 2017 for light-duty vehicle sales, as well as retail and fleet sales of hybrid, plug-in hybrid-electric and battery-electric vehicles, segmented by world region and key countries.
The report analyzes the key market forces playing a role in the electric vehicle market and provides comprehensive lists of expected vehicle launches.