While you may only find a few of these cars at a dealership near you, you should find all of these BEVs available nationwide in the U.S. if you're willing to place an order.
Just like anything else, there may be exceptions and it's not always cut and dry. Depending on which car you choose and where you live, there is surely the potential to run into issues, but it's definitely worth a try. A handful of these cars are WIDELY available nationwide, meaning they'll show up at most dealerships and you shouldn't run into a problem.
With that being said, if you live in a less populous state, or even in a remote city, you may have to drive some distance to a metropolitan area. Nationwide availability only guarantees that the vehicle is available in at least one dealership in each of the 50 states. Generally, most dealerships are not going to stock many BEVs since these cars make up such a tiny fraction of overall sales. Some dealerships may not stock them at all, but should be able to order one for you. However, there's not a guarantee that you won't have to travel a reasonable distance to take delivery or even have to pay to have it shipped.
For each model listed below, we've attempted to secure as much information as possible regarding availability to assist you in the buying process. However, automakers aren't always very transparent when it comes to the availability of these vehicles. To compare vehicle specs, consult our Compare EVs tab in the top left corner of our homepage.
Chevrolet Bolt EV - EPA Range 238 Miles
The Bolt is currently the only true no-brainer on this list when it comes to nationwide availability. Since August of 2017, it has been available in all states and inventory exceeds demand.
BMW i3 - EPA Range 114 Miles
Like the Chevrolet Bolt, the BMW i3 is available in every U.S. state and inventory tends to be good. Keep in mind that there are not that many BMW dealers in the U.S., so you may be taking a small road trip to find the one nearest you that has an i3 on hand.
Nissan LEAF - 2018 LEAF EPA Range 151 Miles
The LEAF has been available throughout the U.S. for years. However, due to a late, slow start with production of the new 2018 model and a lack of 2017 inventory, it hasn't been very easy to get one as of late. Nissan is building inventory now, so that's beginning to change.
Tesla Model S and X - EPA Range From 238 Miles To 335 Miles
Tesla has a limited number of stores throughout the country, and you should be able to get a Model S or X in many locations, but with new delivery timelines, you may have to wait four or five months. While the automaker uses an online custom ordering system, inventory vehicles are also available in decreasing quantities. However, there still eight states that either ban or limit Tesla's direct sales model. Michigan, Texas, Utah, Connecticut, New Mexico, Wisconsin, and Oklahoma don't allow the automaker to sell its cars at all. New York allows sales but limits the number of "dealerships" to five in the entire state.
Tesla Model 3 - EPA Range 310 Miles
The Model 3 is a weird case. It's "available" and eventually will be as available as the Model S and X (once the current long list of reservations are filled and Tesla can even begin to consider filling new orders or stocking inventory). However, for now, only one of its three trims is being manufactured, and unless you're a current Tesla owner and have secured a paid reservation, it's not going to be available to you for some time. If you want the base trim or dual motor variant, you'll have to wait longer.
Ford Focus Electric - EPA Range 115 Miles
The Focus Electric is available in California and "slightly" stocked in all CARB states. It's also available in very limited numbers in other areas. The 2018 model may be more readily available in CARB states than the outgoing model. However, there's no consistency to the equation. Dealerships may or may not choose to stock it or make it available to you. You should be able to order the Focus Electric nationwide, and the automaker says it can be serviced at most Ford dealerships.
Kia Soul EV - EPA Range 111 Miles
The Soul EV tells much the same story as the Ford Focus Electric. It's primarily available in California, but also stocked in some quantity in other CARB states. Additionally, a handful of locations in non-CARB states choose to stock a few. Some dealerships that don't sell the Soul EV are willing to order it for you if you ask nicely.
smart fortwo ED - EPA Range 58 Miles
Mercedes-Benz sells smart cars. It claims that the smart fortwo ED is available nationwide. Keep in mind, the automaker doesn't have a vast dealer network in the first place, and many of them (especially outside of urban areas) don't sell the smart fortwo ED. Once smart switched to fortwo ED only in the U.S., many dealers moved to service only, rather than sales. So, it's available in low-volume at a limited number of locations. To provide an example, we did a search from Michigan and found that the closest vehicle was 330 miles away. However, there is a smart dealer within 50 miles of our location, and while the fortwo ED is not stocked, we should be able to order one. At this point, we're awaiting confirmation.
Hyundai IONIQ Electric - EPA Range 124 Miles
According to Hyundai's website, the IONIQ Electric is only available to California residents. Inventory is also very low. However, the automaker has said that the vehicle may eventually be available for order at all dealerships nationwide. We haven't secured proof of this yet, but it makes sense and it can't hurt to give it a try. While it seems on the website you can't order one to any dealership outside of California at this point, Hyundai claims ordering will eventually be available to all, and select dealerships may be willing to secure one for you. If inventory doesn't pick up, this would be a moot point.
The Chevrolet Bolt and BMW i3 are currently the only BEVs available nationwide in terms of widespread inventory at plenty of dealerships. The new 2018 Nissan LEAF will join the latter very soon. You can order any Tesla vehicle immediately. While a Model S and X should be ready fairly quickly, you may have to wait more than a year for a Model 3. Depending on where you live, you may have to order your Tesla sight unseen, and in some states, you will have to travel elsewhere to take delivery.
A growing variety of U.S. dealerships may have a Ford Focus Electric or Kia Soul EV on hand. However, outside of CARB states, it's rare. Fortunately, you should be able to order one. Mercedes-Benz is selling the smart fortwo ED throughout the country, but, depending on where you live, you could have trouble finding one. Hyundai also says you can order an IONIQ Electric at any U.S. dealerships.
Let us know in the comments section if you own any of these vehicles and had difficulty acquiring it. Did you purchase it in a non-CARB state? Did you order direct? Please share your experience so that we may all have a better handle on BEVs available nationwide.