Here’s a Look At The Plug-In Electric Car Market Share In The Top 30 U.S. Cities


Cities in California, Washington, Georgia, Oregon and Hawaii mostly dominate this chart, which shows the Top 30 U.S. cities for market share for plug-in electric cars.

Outside of the 5 states listed above, only Colorado makes a showing with Boulder.

The premise behind the International Council On Clean Transportation source article is that the electric car future has already arrived, at least in some cities.  ICCT states:

“We’ve been looking at data from U.S. cities, and here’s one very noticeable finding: distribution of EV sales is very uneven across the top 30. The chart below shows the top 30 metropolitan areas in the US, based on the share of new light-duty vehicles that are plug-in electric (including plug-in hybrid electric and fully battery electric vehicles). California cities dominate the list, with 18 of top 30 US cities. San Jose is far out in front, with about 1 in 10 new vehicles being plug-ins. After California, Washington, Oregon, Georgia, and Hawaii come next with multiple high-EV-uptake cites. The top 10 cities have from 4 to 13 times the electric vehicle uptake of the national US average.”

ICCT concludes:

“We could very well be seeing the future of transportation in the leading California, Oregon, and Washington cities. If we continue to learn from and embrace what’s working (and discard what’s not), the progress toward an electric fleet could continue – more quickly and more evenly.”

Source: ICCT

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29 Comments on "Here’s a Look At The Plug-In Electric Car Market Share In The Top 30 U.S. Cities"

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Almost 10% of new vehicles in San Jose have a plug? Amazing. Given the fact that you can probably see the TESLA factory from parts of San Jose, I guess that makes sense.

Amazing indeed. On the one hand, San Jose is the epicenter of Silicon Valley, so it makes sense that EVs would sell well. On the other hand, it is a large city (larger than San Fran) with a correspondingly large car market. 10% of a large market is a whole lot of sales!

I don’t think we’ll ever see a city in the Northeast on this list. It is quite kind of GA to offer enough incentives to bring some sort of east-coast showing.

“is kind of Georgia” -> *was*

Their incentives expire end of this month. The new anti-EV sentiment among Republicans has finally caught up (back in late 1990s when GA incentives were started, it was still a nonpartisan issue).

Sad but true. I guess the East coast will just go back to dino-juice.

They are already on dino juice. So is CA for that matter. In the best showing for BEVs, only 5% of the San Jose market does not use dino juice, which means 95% uses at least some. It’s going to be a while, folks.

Republicans are not so much anti EV as they are PRO BIG OIL. The Koch bros own that party and they sell oil and other heavy industrial products. They are also pro large banks and corporations at the expense of the American middle class. Put simply if the Koch Bros sold electric cars… the Repubs would be for them and all the Red states would have the best charging infrastructure of any.

Republicans are neither anti EV or pro big oil. Nor are democrats. People just buy what they can afford. The vast majority of Republicans don’t even know who the Koch brothers are, nor do they care. Please stop classifying all Republicans as part of some vast right wing big oil conspiracy.

Well, if he is talking about the politicians he is correct to a good degree. That can be verified by looking at the campaign donations. “All estimates of America’s oil and natural gas reserves indicate an incredible bounty for the use of many generations to come. At a time when unemployment has been above 8 percent for 42 consecutive months, the longest stretch since the Great Depression, and some 23 million Americans are either unemployed, underemployed, or have given up on finding work, we should be pursuing our oil and gas resources both on and offshore. It is nonsensical to spurn real job creation by putting almost all of our coastal waters off limits to energy exploration, while urging other nations to explore their coasts. We call for a reasoned approach to all offshore energy development on the East Coast and other appropriate waters, and support the right of States to a reasonable share of the resulting revenue and royalties. We support opening the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) for energy exploration and development and ending the current Administration’s moratorium on permitting; opening the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) for exploration and production of oil and natural gas; and allowing for more oil and natural gas exploration on federally owned and controlled land. We support this development in accordance with applicable… Read more »

Not only does the GA incentives expire June 30, but they have added on a $200 yearly fee for electric drivers. I figured my actual state yearly gas road tax at around $34.00 (7.5 cents per gallon) for a full size car and 10,000 miles/year. The rest of the state gas tax is actually sales tax.

Are these lawmakers the same ones that gave tax breaks to Hummers?

GA resident

San Jose also gets a higher percentage because it is a wealthy brain trust of the US. Most of the smartest folks in the country live in the San Francisco Bay Area Metro area which really includes SFO, OAK San Jose, Santa Rosa and Sacramento.

Most of the smartest folks in the country live in the San Francisco Bay Area? Really? You certainly have a way with hyperbole!

I’m not amazed at all. I can’t swing a dead cat without hitting a plug-in car. This is Silicon Valley and it is filled with electrical engineers that appreciate the power of electricity.

Actually, it’s 10% of NEW registrations in San Jose. We can’t tell from this what % PEVs are of the total installed base, but assume it to be way, way smaller. I followed the thread to the ICCT blog post where IEV got the data. Turns out it is for CY 2014. The source of the underlying data, BTW, is IHS (Polk). Good stuff.

Two metrics I would like to see in addition are hybrid cars – and another graphic with the mean gross average income of car buyers in those cities.

When Seattle is mentioned, I wonder if this is really meaning King County. Microsoft and many tech companies, populated by tech-savvy, left-leaning individuals dominate those demographics – but it is the Eastside: cities like Bellevue, Kirkland, Redmond and Woodinville where I see the bulk of Model S, i3 and LEAF drivers. More Volts there than in Seattle proper, also.

Traditional hybrids are pretty useless. So there is no need or reason whatsoever to put them on in a sentence or on a gragh for plugins.

Once plug-in SUVs hit the market in the $30k – $40k price range, the list of cities will probably get some more variety. These will be big sellers in the ‘burbs.

I wonder why there aren’t more Colorado cities on here They have a strong incentive for both BEV and PHEV, don’t they?

Fresno being on this list surprised me. It’s the only town in the southern San Joaquin Valley that made the list. There’s very little EV charging infrastructure in the valley, and there was almost none at all until the past six or eight months. Also, it’s a heavily conservative/Republican area for the most part, with a fair bit of disparagement of EVs. The only real positive is that in addition to the California $2500 rebate and the federal tax credit, there’s a Valley Air District rebate of $3000 for most BEVs. The fact that Fresno made the list in spite of some hurdles gives me hope. Or maybe money talks louder than politics or ideology.

“money talks louder than politics or ideology.”

+1. The most important thing is to reach same price as ICEs. Not TCO but at the dealer label, after that EVs will sogar.

* will soar. Damn autcorrect.

That BEV/PHEV ratio for Atlanta might flip flop once 1 July rolls around.

Eureka’s high rank is very interesting … I assume that includes Arcata. On the one hand, I can see the culture there being generally receptive to EVs. On the other hand, this pretty much restricts you to the flatlands around Humboldt Bay; they’re isolated up there. But maybe it makes it more practical; the car might be adequate for all of your local driving.

Hey, it’s the Eureka-Arcata-McKinnleyville-Bayside-Fortuna-Hydesville metroplex! I’m from Eureka, and while I’m glad to see it on the list, I agree with you. With a population of ~135k in the entire county, it wouldn’t take too many sales to be a high percentage of new car sales. That said, it’s proves the point that EVs aren’t just for Silicon Valley types.

I look at the list and what I see is that areas where a variety of electric cars are actually available and supported by strong incentives, they sell.

For people like me who do not live in CA, we have little options besides the Leaf & Volt. Can you now {or anytime in the past} buy or lease in the Southeast US a: Honda Fit EV, Toyota RAV 4 EV, Fiat 500e, Chevy Spark EV? Has anyone in the Southeast ever seen {without travelling outside the southeast} a Golf EV or smart EV? I’m not suprised at all that if you don’t offer EV’s to the customers, you can’t sell them.

This study is flawed in that it only looked at “city” data for new vehicles and not the surrounding suburbs. A better study would follow methods like the census and measure using zip-code areas. This ensures all regions are included.

The other flaw is there is no reference to number of vehicles, or population per region. Expect the the population of San Francisco, or New York to own fewer vehicles per person than areas with less developed public transportation systems. Each city has a different ratio of people per vehicle(s).

The ICCT notes states that these are “metropolitan” area numbers (probably county level), so suburbs are indeed included.

Vallejo, CA is a city of <120k that is about 30 miles outside of San Francisco. I'm not sure if you consider that a suburb or not.

One interesting stats is that cities with large BEV/PHEV ratio are all locations with extremely high BEV incentives comparing with PHEVs… (GA, CA Central Valley and WA/OR/HI)

Now, with HOV stickers gone, I assume next years the remaing CA cities will also favor BEVs over PHEVs as well…