U.S. Cities Ranked For Plug-In Electric Car Readiness – Portland Takes Top Spot

1 year ago by Eric Loveday 13

U.S. Map

U.S. Map

U.S. Flag Map

U.S. Flag Map

Unfortunately not every city (not even every large city) in the U.S. was ranked, but this study from Indiana University does include 36 major cities in 25 U.S. states.

Topping the list this year is Portland, Oregon, followed by Washington, D.C. (federal tax dollars at work for the locals), with Baltimore rounding out the top 3.

According to the press release:

“Researchers at the Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs developed a ranking of municipal “PEV readiness” to contrast the variation in readiness among different cities. The evaluation ranked the nation’s 25 largest cities by population along with five other large cities that have been included in other major PEV studies. The rankings also included the largest cities in states that have joined California in offering a package of incentives to reach an ambitious zero-emissions vehicle goal.”

Portland, Oregon was ranked #1, followed by Washington D.C. and Baltimore.

Portland State University's Electric Ave.

Portland State University’s Original Electric Ave.

The full list is as follows:

  1. Portland, Ore.
  2. Washington, D.C.
  3. Baltimore
  4. New York City
  5. Denver
  6. Los Angeles
  7. Atlanta
  8. Chicago
  9. Austin, Texas
  10. San Francisco
  11. Boston
  12. Houston
  13. Indianapolis
  14. Orlando, Fla.
  15. San Diego
  16. Seattle
  17. San Jose, Calif.
  18. Hartford, Conn.
  19. Phoenix
  20. Fort Worth, Texas
  21. Honolulu
  22. Nashville, Tenn.
  23. Dallas
  24. Jacksonville, Fla.
  25. Newark, N.J.
  26. Raleigh, N.C.
  27. Burlington, Vt.
  28. Philadelphia
  29. San Antonio
  30. Charlotte, N.C.
  31. Memphis, Tenn.
  32. Detroit
  33. El Paso, Texas
  34. Portland, Maine
  35. Providence, R.I.
  36. Columbus, Ohio

Press release below:

Indiana University researchers rank U.S. cities’ readiness for plug-in electric vehicles

Portland International Airport Boasts One Of The Largest Installations of Electric Vehicle Charging Stations at an Airport in the US: including some 42 PowerPost® EV Chargers

Portland International Airport Boasts One Of The Largest Installations of Electric Vehicle Charging Stations at an Airport in the US: including some 42 PowerPost® EV Chargers

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Portland, Ore., is ranked at the top of a list of major U.S. cities that are the most ready to accommodate plug-in electric vehicles, known as PEVs, such as the Chevy Volt, Nissan Leaf and Tesla Model S.

Researchers at the Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs developed a ranking of municipal “PEV readiness” to contrast the variation in readiness among different cities. The evaluation ranked the nation’s 25 largest cities by population along with five other large cities that have been included in other major PEV studies. The rankings also included the largest cities in states that have joined California in offering a package of incentives to reach an ambitious zero-emissions vehicle goal.

The Obama administration and policymakers in several states have provided financial and other incentives to encourage consumers to buy PEVs, but sales have fallen short of goals. PEV advocates say getting more of the cars on the road will enhance U.S. energy security by reducing dependence on imported oil and cutting greenhouse gas and other emissions.

“With gas prices dropping, consumers have less of a financial incentive to buy a PEV,” researcher Kyle Clark-Sutton said. “It is crucial for cities to create receptive policy environments for purchasing and operating an electric car. If they don’t, we won’t see the technology’s promise as a means of climate change mitigation fully realized.”

Under a scoring system devised by the research team, Portland, Washington, D.C., New York City, Baltimore, Los Angeles and Denver comprise the top six cities. All six offer purchase incentives for PEVs and charging equipment. Four of the six offer time-of-use electricity rates, which makes overnight charging more affordable. The top-ranking cities also score well in categories such as public charging station density, special parking privileges and high-occupancy-vehicle lane access.

“Some cities are doing more to encourage PEV ownership than others by installing new public charging infrastructure and offering various sorts of incentives,” researcher Saba Siddiki said. “PEV owners enjoy free parking in downtown Nashville and are exempt from all parking fees in Honolulu. Portland, Oregon, has streamlined the often complicated permitting process for home-based chargers. In Austin, PEV drivers can subscribe to unlimited use of 250 public charging stations located around the city for less than $5 per month.”

Those services and incentives are largely absent from the bottom six cities: Charlotte, N.C.; El Paso, Texas; Detroit; Portland, Maine; Providence, R.I.; and Columbus, Ohio.

“If a city and state are not offering policies to make PEV ownership more attractive, it may be difficult for car dealers in those states to move vehicles off the showroom floors,” researcher Sanya Carley said.

The researchers note that the fall in gas prices is just one aspect of a fast-changing economic and political environment affecting PEV sales and regulations. Connecticut, for example, just added monetary incentives for purchasers, and Georgia removed them. Some states are enacting higher fees on PEV registration, claiming drivers don’t pay fuel taxes to support road construction and repair.

The researchers conclude that purchasing a PEV is more expensive than a conventional vehicle, even though operating it can be less expensive. Therefore if policies that reduce the purchase price and incentivize the operation of a PEV are not implemented, nor are cities prepared to offer the institutional support for PEVs, consumers will continue to favor conventional cars and trucks.

The article “Plug-in electric vehicle readiness: Rating cities in the United States” was published in Electricity Journal with a goal of informing policymakers and consumers while providing a helpful tool to other researchers studying PEV policy. The research team includes two recent SPEA graduates — Kyle Clark-Sutton, an economist with the Center for Environmental, Technology and Energy Economics at RTI International, and Celeste Wanner, a research analyst at the American Wind Energy Association — and SPEA faculty members Saba Siddiki, Sanya Carley, John Rupp and John D. Graham.

Tags: , , ,

13 responses to "U.S. Cities Ranked For Plug-In Electric Car Readiness – Portland Takes Top Spot"

  1. Vexar says:

    This is skewed too heavily to what is being spent by a state or municipality on EVs. Private sector does a lot more in some cities, like Minneapolis.

  2. Josh says:

    “10. San Francisco
    16. Seattle ”

    From this I can tell the survey used flawed logic.

    1. Clark says:

      “6. Los Angeles
      17. San Jose, Calif.”

      Yes … I totally agree.

      1. Speculawyer says:

        Yeah, the Bay area has a huge number of plug-ins. San Jose should rank higher.

    2. Scramjett says:

      I don’t think it’s flawed at all. This is about Plug-In car readiness! Despite the large populations of plug-ins in California, the investment of plug-in infrastructure by both the state (which has an unfortunate fuel cell addiction) and local municipalities is severely lacking.

      For proof, look no further than the years long delay in completing the West Coast Electric Highway! Oregon and Washington completed it years ago but California is only just now starting it!

  3. vdiv says:

    Seriously Eric, US tax dollars at work in DC and Baltimore?! So those of us that have fought tooth and nail to have an available charging infrastructure supported by no-ICE laws have nothing to do with it? Do you know how much in tax incentives Virginia has for buying plugins or deploying charging stations? Nil.

  4. This article is sad in that only a overall city ranking was published, and not a ranking in each of the PEV friendly criteria evaluated.

    It would have been very educational to see what categories a top city ranked high in and which categories had little effect on ranking. Without details of the criteria used for ranking each city, I’m suspicious of the criteria used (is the study trying to hide something?).

  5. wavelet says:

    The paper is behind a paywall, so the ranking formula isn’t accessible. Impossible to discuss in any reasonable manner.

  6. JustWilliamPDX says:

    As a happy and proud Portlandian, I am still surprised by our #1 ranking. We have no state tax rebates for purchase, and DC CCS chargers are rare. On the upside, population density is fairly high and “green cred” is something most care about. There are a ton of EVs here, but #1? Strange.

  7. Nate says:

    But there are a high number of L2 and CHAdeMO – probably higher than any other metro area for the latter. They are not just within the metro area, but North or South on I-5, East on 84, West toward the coast. That, along with the climate, make it a great place for the Leaf. Also, there is the credit for the home charger installation. If I were somewhere in without all these CHAdeMO stations, or somewhere where the climate wasn’t so mild year round, I wouldn’t be as interested in the Leaf. Right or wrong, the CHAdeMO station count probably helped considerably. If that is the case, it would have been better to emphasize stations that did both CHAdeMO and CCS vs. ones that did one or the other.

  8. Bill Howland says:

    Maybe Portland gets it cuz electricity is cheap.

    But its not too bad in Buffalo, while it is outrageous in NYC, and having a car period in NYC is beyond difficult, what with the parking spaces you have to pay for. Staten Island, on the other hand, isn’t too bad that way. But Manhattan?

    I wouldn’t think with the large percentage of apartments in NYC, that, until they have plenty of TurboDocks around for renters to use, that there wouldn’t be much of a place or time to plug in a BEV.

  9. Mike says:

    Got to love those plug un cars that just park in the charging parking stall without actually plunging it in.