"California is home to almost half of all of the nation's PEVS (plug-in electric vehicles), but even in California, only about 5 out of every 1,000 registered vehicles are PEVs," the study said.
The study, which was released on Wednesday, comes as General Motors is set to debut its redesigned 2016 Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid in January at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show. Other automakers are adding new electric models to their lineups, including such vehicles as the upcoming Tesla Model X SUV.
In 2013, there were about 70,000 battery electric vehicles and 104,000 plug-in hybrid electric vehicles in the U.S. — out of a total of around 226 million registered vehicles.
"Total U.S. sales of plug-in electric vehicles have increased in recent years, but still represent only about 0.7 percent of new-vehicle sales in 2014 so far, up from 0.6 percent in 2013 and 0.4 percent in 2012," researchers noted.
California has a zero emissions vehicle mandate that requires automakers to produce a rising percentage of zero emissions vehicles.
The study did not address how falling gasoline prices will affect the widespread acceptance of electric vehicles.
In a separate report earlier this week, the Energy Information Administration said it expects U.S. regular gasoline retail prices to average $2.60 a gallon in 2015, compared to $3.51 a gallon in 2013.
The study also noted that some utility companies offer special electricity rate structures for EV owners to incentivize vehicle charging during off-peak hours.
"For instance, DTE Energy in Michigan offers customers discounted electricity rates at off-peak hours if they install a 240-volt Level 2 charger, which powers a PEV more quickly than a 120-volt Level 1 charger," it said.
Those customers also have the option of paying a flat $40 monthly fee for charging.
Edmunds says: The bottom line is that U.S. car shoppers have been slow to embrace electric vehicles.