SAN JOSE (KCBS) — Plug-In 2014, the premiere electric vehicle conference in the nation, began on Monday at the San Jose Convention Center with those in attendance discussing and debating the future of plug-in cars.

Currently, there are more than 225,000 plug-ins vehicles being driven on U.S. roads and that number, say proponents, expanding.

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“The market is growing steadily, especially in places like California,” Mark Duvall, of the Electric Power Research Institute said. “In Santa Clara County, for example, over ten percent of new vehicles sales are plug-in vehicles. So it’s not just that you know someone who knows someone that owns a vehicle; it’s now every day.”

Duvall said the increase is not just in California as interest has spread to the Midwest and the Southeast.

“One of the hottest markets for the Nissan LEAF in the country right now is Atlanta, Georgia. So it’s spreading beyond California,” he said.

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More auto makers are also getting in the act, including BMW, which has developed a new charging technology that can produce an 80 percent charge in just 30 minutes.

“We see it as a growing market. It’s not a niche market anymore,” Cliff Fietzek, manager of connected e-mobility at BMW said.

Affordability and better infrastructure, most agree, are the two main factors that are critical to the long-term success of electric vehicles.

“We really try to get this overall approach together to make it as easy as possible to the customer,” Fietzek said.

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Plug-In 2014 Conference organized by EPRI will run through Wednesday, July 31.