Los Angeles will be a U.S. leader in electric vehicle adoption, according to a new study published by the UCLA Luskin Center for Innovation.

This offers the city the opportunity to reduce the local and global environmental impacts of vehicle travel, as most Angelenos rely on an automobile for much of their travel, said Luskin Center project director Juan Matute.

Based on our study, we expect that rising gasoline prices will naturally shift the demand from conventional combustion cars to electric vehicles, adds Jeffrey Dubin, UCLA Anderson School of Management adjunct professor of economics and statistics.

For many buyers, electric vehicles will be hard to ignore, said Luskin Center director and associate professor of public policy, J.R. DeShazo. However, the analysis predicts just over 2,000 electric vehicles will be sold in Los Angeles in 2011. This number is due to the limited supply of electric vehicles; even if more residents are inclined to purchase them, it just isn't possible right now.

The study also predicts that the supply of electric vehicles will be limited until 2013 or 2014. In 2015, the team also predicts that electric vehicles will comprise 9% of new vehicles purchased by Los Angeles residents.

Governments across the world have set aside billions of dollars in the form of subsidies for early adopters of these alternative energy cars and to boost production of batteries for such vehicles despite persisting doubts about how many people will actually buy them.

The Department of Energy said it is investing $2.85 billion in electric vehicles of which $2 billion will go to help US carmakers produce advanced vehicle batteries and drive train components. Around $400 million will be invested to buy, test, and deploy different types of electric vehicles in the marketplace, and $300 million in cost-share projects under the Clean Cities program.

As an all-electric vehicle, the Chevrolet Volt qualifies for a $7,500 federal tax credit. Taking the $7500 tax credit into account the net cost to the buyer will thus be $33,500.

According to a recent report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance, plug-in electric vehicles, including plug-in hybrids and battery electric vehicles, have the potential to make up 9% of auto sales in 2020 and 22% in 2030 (1.6 million and 4 million vehicle sales respectively).