Paris, France --- (METERING.COM) --- November 20, 2012 - Approximately 1.2 million electric vehicles (including e-bikes and scooters) and 2.5 million hybrid electric vehicles were sold in North America and Europe in 2011, according to a new report from the International Energy Agency (IEA) Implementing Agreement for co-operation on Hybrid and Electric Vehicle Technologies and Programs (IA-HEV).

2011 marked the first full year of sales of mass production plug-in EVs to customers in several IA-HEV member countries. The largest market for EVs was the Netherlands, accounting for an estimated 800,000 units. The largest market for HEVs was the U.S., accounting for over 2.15 million units.

The second largest market in both these categories was the U.K., accounting for almost 68,000 EVs and more than 99,000 HEVs. Other major EV markets were Denmark (26,500) and the U.S. (18,100), while the other main HEV markets were the Netherlands (72,000) and France (57,000).

The report Hybrid and Electric Vehicles: The Electric Drive Captures the Imagination, is intended to offer a snapshot of EVs and HEVs in 17 countries and information about the work of IA-HEV and its task forces.

According to the report, sales of plug-in hybrid EVs in 2011 were less than originally projected, possibly due to the slower than anticipated production and vehicle delivery to showrooms. Many manufacturers and governments are hoping the measures taken to promote sales will prevail in the marketplace in 2012. A free market with rigorous competition between car producers is moving the electric drive forward. Many automakers now offer a broad range of hybrid drive solutions in all their car segments.

The global market for electric two-wheeled vehicles – e-bikes, e-scooters, and e-mo¬torcycles – will continue to grow. There are multi-millions of electric two-wheelers on the road today. China is currently the largest marketplace for electric two-wheel vehicles followed by Western Europe. Since the cost of ownership of an e-motorcycle or e-scooter remains low enough to see payback on the vehicle within a year or two of purchase, the market is likely to remain strong in markets with high economic growth rates.

The IA-HEV outlook is optimistic, believing that the electric drive will succeed in the marketplace after several unproductive attempts in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s, the report states. Now that plug-in electric vehicles have arrived, the dialogue about transportation and renewable ener¬gy usage must also now include the smart grid of the future. The changes that smart grids, renewable energy, and electric vehicles bring will affect many business areas, especially the power sector. Communications and discussion will be important to moderate this transition.

The report notes that IA-HEV tasks 11 on electric cycles and 12 on heavy-duty hybrid vehicles were completed. Two new tasks were also launched. Task 19, Life Cycle Assessment of Electric Vehicles, will explore the options available for the sustainable manufacture and recycling of electric vehicles. Task 20, Quick Charging Technology, will discuss impacts and potential standards for EV quick charging.