It’s widely known that California is the center of US electric vehicle adoption. California leads the country in terms of overall electric vehicle (EV) sales as well as EV market share of new vehicle sales. It’s also where Tesla was born and where nearly every US EV startup pops up.
But there are other states that are also well ahead of the US average for EV market share … and they’re basically all in the west. (Washington, D.C., is also in the top 10 if you want to include it in this ranking.)
Experian Automotive collected state-by-state data on EV sales and overall auto sales, and what it found is that only 6 states and D.C. had higher EV market share than the US as a whole. That highlights just how much a handful of states carry the country in terms of electric vehicle adoption. The above-average leaders, based on auto sales from the first half of the year, were:
- California — 3.6%
- Washington — 2.8%
- Hawaii — 2.21%
- Oregon — 1.7%
- Washington, D.C. — 1.48%
- Colorado — 1.3%
- Arizona — 1.2%
Note that the US EV market share for the first half of the year was 0.9%.
It will be interesting to see how these numbers shift in the second half of the year and next year. EV market share in California rose to 4.1% by the end of the 3rd quarter.
One topic that pops into mind looking at all of the data is EV availability. Automakers sell electric cars in California because they have to. Incentives are relatively strong in other top EV states, but the bigger matter is probably availability. Tesla sells its vehicles to customers all over the country, and you can probably find Nissan LEAFs on dealership lots all over the country as well, but many EVs are available only in California and a few other states. It’s pretty hard to buy electric cars in Alabama if dealers aren’t selling them, ya know?
Aside from exploring state data, Experian dove into cities. The top metro areas (“designated market areas”) in terms of EV market share were:
- San Francisco Oakland San Jose (California) — 7.9%
- San Diego (California) — 4%
- Juneau (Alaska) — 3.5%
- Seattle Tacoma (Washington) — 3.4%
- Santa Barbara (California) — 2.9%
- Monterey Salinas (California) — 2.9%
- Los Angeles (California) — 2.8%
- Honolulu (Hawaii) — 2.2%
- Portland (Oregon) — 2%
- Sacramento Stockton Modesto (California) — 1.8%
The next 10 were: Denver, Eugene, Palm Springs, Phoenix, Eureka, Austin, Washington DC, Atlanta, Charlottesville, and Bend. The only cities in that list not in the west are Austin (Texas), Washington (DC), Atlanta (Georgia), and Charlottesville (Virginia).
It’s interesting that Tesla’s birthplace is #1 on this list as well, which I assume has to be in part due to Tesla’s presence and influence in the area.
A key matter for the market growth of electric vehicles is word of mouth. Friends don’t let friends drive gasmobiles! The leading cities and states above will likely see their EV adoption grow exponentially (as we’ve seen in Norway over the past several years). For the foundation of EV sales growth, the big matter is just getting electric cars into the area and getting adoption off the ground.
Strong state incentives, consumer awareness organizations or campaigns, and EV dealerships could all help a great deal with that — as can the Tesla Model 3 and Model Y. Before putting everything on Tesla’s shoulders, though, something you might want to consider is what role you could play for quicker EV uptake in your area. There are organizations waiting to be formed, policies waiting to be drafted, and commercials waiting to be produced. Remember — ask not what your community can do for you, but what you can do for your community!
If you want to get involved politically to promote EV uptake, be sure to check out our Cleantech Revolution initiative and put your name in the hat.
And by the way, the three paragraphs above apply to people in California too. It’s easy to conclude that California is doing well, but 3.6–4.1% EV market share is still pretty lame, and far less than is needed. The state suffers from poor air quality that is largely due to dirty transport. It faces tremendous risk from climate disruption. And it benefits economically from a shift away from fossil transport. The home of Tesla should be sporting 100% EV market, 70% EV market share, or at least 30% EV market share. One out of every 24 auto sales is totally meh.
Any other takeaway thoughts from the data?
US West = EV Adoption Champion In USA, by Zachary Shahan, Clean Coalition, December 2, 2018.