Infographic: Top 10 Plug-In Growth Regions In America

FEB 26 2014 BY JAY COLE 20

By now, many of us are familiar with the top markets in the US for selling plug-in cars – places like San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle, Atlanta, Portland, Honolulu.  But which regions are the fastest growing from the 3rd quarter to the 4th in 2013?

It Is Hard To Not Notice That The Locations Of Major Auto Shows

Many Fast Growing Regions For EV Growth Are Also Home To Major Auto Shows Featuring Plug-In Cars (BMW’s i3 ride and drive at the LA Auto Show above)

Outside of Atlanta…which is a gimmie considering Nissan almost 1,000 EV sales in just December alone thanks to Georgia’s $5,000 state incentive, the list does have a couple different faces on it.

According to ChargePoint, who compiled the data, and who also operates the largest charging station network in America, places like Detroit and Chicago are now coming on strong.

In addition to the graphic, ChargePoint says that the Los Angeles region still logged the most EV sales between October 1st and December 31st of last year at more than 5,000 plug-ins sold.  Atlanta finished 2nd with over 3,000.

Naturally ChargePoint has a EVSE-related slant on the numbers:

“Popularity is increasing because drivers know there is a robust network to charge their cars and nearly every major automaker is coming out with a cool new EV,” said Pasquale Romano, CEO of ChargePoint. “The electric vehicle market is no longer just growing in California’s metropolitan areas – EV adoption is happening across the nation. We’re well on our way to having twice the number of EVs on the road by the end of 2014.”

Top 10 Growth Expressed as Percentages Q4 over Q3:

The Nissan LEAF Has Been Selling Like Crazy in Atlanta, But A Proposed Elimination Of Georgia's $5,000 EV Incentive Would Certainly Drop The Region Off The List For Good

The Nissan LEAF Has Been Selling Like Crazy in Atlanta, But A Proposed Elimination Of Georgia’s $5,000 EV Incentive Would Certainly Drop The Region Off The List For Good

  1. Atlanta – 52%
  2. Washington D.C. – 21%
  3. Portland – 19.4%
  4. Los Angeles – 19%
  5. Bay Area – 18%
  6. San Diego – 17%
  7. Chicago – 16%
  8. Seattle – 14.4%
  9. Miami – 14%
  10. Detroit – 13%

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20 Comments on "Infographic: Top 10 Plug-In Growth Regions In America"

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I’m surprised to see Denver not on the list given the state tax credit of over $5k for purchases. I suspect the reasons Denver really hasn’t taken off include: 1) The lack of a signature LEAF or Volt dealer in the metro area. By that I mean a dealer known for moving large volume at significant standard discounts. In fact most dealers are not much below list price for purchases and tend to saddle leases with all kinds of add-ons. 2) The complexities of the state tax credit. Although it is “up to $6k” in practice the amount is less for all but the Tesla – and the formula for determining the amount is very complex. For leases, the amount is in the $1k-$2k range but you have to be an advanced-degree accountant to figure out the exact credit based on your lease. 3) Just possibly range is a bigger issue here because of the outdoors culture and the habit of frequent weekend trips into the mountains. But you’d think the Volt would solve that being an EREV. OTOH the Volt was excluded from the state tax credit for about a year – corrected only with an update to state… Read more »

Given the outdoor culture, and trips to the mountain, I would think that the Volt would be unpopular due to its size and possibly its lack of AWD. Other areas with lots of outdoor enthusiasts tend to love large vehicles with AWD to lug their equipment.

Maybe – but when I go to trail heads I see lots of smaller cars, albeit often with bike racks. Not everyone thinks they “need” a big 4WD to deal with a bit of mud or snow – and those are the cars that could be replaced by a Volt or LEAF or Ford Focus (which, together with the Tesla, are the only EVs sold here despite rumors of i-Miev having been available in the distant past). Those are also the sort of drivers who are likely to switch to an EV. I think it may also be lack of critical mass/word-of-mouth. When I’m in Northern CA I see LEAFs everywhere and everyone is aware of them, even, if they aren’t interested. Most people here aren’t aware. A few months ago I picked up my LEAF at Canopy Parking at the airport and asked the shuttle driver to tell them to leave it plugged in (it was pre-heating the car). The others in the shuttle overheard me and asked me a lot of questions about it – at least two were seriously interested but weren’t aware that EVs were a real possibility just yet. After I mentioned the tax credits… Read more »

Fair enough. I was just extrapolating from what I see in the Northeast. At our outing hot spots (e.g. Catskills, Adirondacks, Green Mountains), it is rare to see smaller cars at the trail heads. Most lots are packed with cars like Jeeps, Subarus and Tahoes. My little hybrid tends to be the odd one out every time. And the equipment I’m referring to ranges from backpacking gear to kayaks/canoes, to snow shoes / XC skis. I wasn’t even thinking about ATVs, snowmobiles, etc.

And yes, even here in flat (but snowy) Syracuse, people thing they “need” 4WD/AWD. All I said is that these people seem to love their large AWD cars/SUVs. But I easily zip past them in my FWD compact because I actually buy snow tires.

Interesting to hear that. Colorado is Subaru’s top market – or at least it used to be – but even in conservative Colorado Springs (near where I live) you’ll find lots of smaller non-AWD cars all over the place, and experienced locals aren’t afraid to drive them onto maintained unpaved roads.

There was a study done by Fleet Karma and the rough numbers are:
Leaf at different temps:
76 m. at 65 degrees
64 m. at 32 degrees
60 m. at 25 degrees or 78.9%
49 m. at -15 degrees

Volt at similar temps:
44 m. 65 degrees
26 m. at 32 degrees
22 m. at 25 degrees or 50%
(ERDTT kicks in below this temp so no colder temps recorded.)
I was surprised that a battery with pack management would have a larger decrease in range than an essentially un managed pack, but I can aver that my Volt only gets around 24-28 miles at 20 degrees so my experience isn’t too far off from these numbers.

Perhaps it’s the energy used by the pack management function that reduces range?

That is the only thing I could think of, but I would have thought that a 50 watt heater would keep the pack relatively warm (I mean, you only have to keep the pack around 45 degrees it doesn’t have to be toasty), but the Volt diminution in range was pretty marked. More than I experienced but then maybe I just had a mild winter compared to some.
I don’t know.

Uh, no. There are more 3/4 and 1 ton trucks as well as more Subaru’s in the mountain towns and cities with big outdoor culture. However, a lot of people who enjoy the outdoors don’t love large vehicles. In fact, many that love the outdoors also like the idea of taking care of the Earth and would prefer to have something that wasted and polluted less. There a different ways people enjoy the outdoors. Sure, some feel they need to haul 5th wheels, campers or toy haulers to enjoy the outdoors, but they tend to have other vehicles besides their towing rig. Also, many realize good tires are more important than awd and 4wd.

True about the tires. A couple years ago I was able to compare two minivans of the same brand – one with 2WD and snow tires, one with AWD and all seasons – and the 2WD/snow tires version was much better in the snow. First, traction was comparable in all situations, but breaking and general handling were better with the snow tires car (AWD doesn’t help with those).

Unfortunately, a lot of people have been conditioned to think that AWD is a requirement. It really wasn’t that long ago that we Coloradoans were driving on more dangerous mountain passes (think Wolf Creek about 20 years ago) with rear wheel drive cars without ABS or traction control – and with care and skill we were able to handle it. Sure, I wouldn’t trade what we have today for those old cars, but the point is AWD is not essential for driving in the snow.

See my reply above. I was simply extrapolating from the cars I see parked at the trailheads. The last time I went hiking, my compact Insight was the only car there smaller than a midsized SUV. And that’s pretty typical.

So… we already know that cold weather affects range. But has anyone done an analysis of snowy road conditions?

I remember many days driving in Denver snow conditions and your wheels are making more revolutions than they should due to slippage… 😉

Oh, we Colorado LEAFers already can tell you that snow impacts range significantly. And if you’ve spent time here you know we have another weather condition that can really kill range – high winds.

OTOH, the LEAF is an excellent snow car when you add snow tires (but they also cut range about 10%). The weight distribution gives excellent traction and the regenerative brakes really help going now slippery grades. Another nice feature too many cars don’t have is that you can turn off traction control. When stuck in snow with traction control often one wheel has sufficient friction but the traction control computer is putting all the power to the other wheel as it spins.

Maybe Nissan and Chevy will push marketing and inventory their soon. Less likely that Chevy will market it will there, but if they did they could probably sell a lot more. If plug in can sell as well as they do in Portland with no credit, you’d figure they’d be able to sell a decent chunk in Denver.

Leaf marketing is really strong in PDX. Do you live in the Denver area, and if so what is the marketing like there?

How does Chargepont get their data from the DMV’s?

Regions or cities? From the map it looks like for example that the whole state of Illinois is buzzing with new EVs whereas it is indicated that specifically Chicago is experiencing the growth. Similarly Washington DC is indicated as rapidly growing however the two underlying states MD and VA are not shaded. VA I understand, however MD including the Baltimore area are doing great.

Isn’t Georgia going to soon reduce their super-generous tax-credit and thus there is a mad rush of (smart) people buying EVs now while they can get the tax-credit?

Comparison of Q4 to Q3 makes very little sense. Each quarter is different, and for EVs the seasonal variations are particularly large. Moreover, it’s too small and volatile a sample to start blowing up into huge statements and infographics.

A far more instructive graphic would have been of Q4 vs. Q4 of 2012 – or better still, 2013 vs. 2012.

Yeah I agree. Totals for each year would be good to see. Q4 will be strongest where the credits are highest.

This report is just PR fluff! Publishing percent increases Q over Q, but no raw data is presented is misleading. (“more than 5,000 plug-ins sold”, “over 3,000” … seems suspicious?). If ChargePoint has Q3 and Q4 numbers, why just share percentage changes and not “actual” numbers of all states? eg: an increase of 40 in a 200 (20%) volume market vs. 600 in 5000 (12%) market doesn’t mean much. More significant would be seeing data over the year with sustained, or increasing growth? Markets that already have high volume EV sales are not listed as volume is high but quarters. Examples I know of are Hawaii (about 3-4x national average), Colorado (2-3x national average). Note: that Californa and Washingon are lower down this list as the are more developed than emerging market like Georgia. This type of data is totally worthless. eg: Seattle is listed as 14.4% for Q3-Q4, but had over 47% growth for Q2-Q4. Was Q3 better than Q4? Think about that for a minute before you say ‘why’ it was better. 😉 A reference for actual numbers: We have no idea the number of EVs was were sold in Q2-Q3 vs. Q3-Q4 for each of the… Read more »