Around 400,000 plug-in electric cars were sold to date in California, which is nearly half of the almost 850,000 sold in U.S., but sales are not consistent within the state.

Chevrolet Bolt EV

Chevrolet Bolt EV

According to the latest ICCT report, three metropolitan areas - San Jose, San Francisco, and Los Angeles are responsible for more than 250,000 sales.

Within these three metropolitan areas, three cities noted plug-ins market share of more than 20%. Nine cities were above 15%, while 30 cities were above 10%.

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On the other hand, there are cities within the top metropolitan areas, like Bakersfield, Riverside, and Sacramento, that are below the state average.

"Uneven progress reveals great potential for more marketing, increased local action, and incentives to grow the electric vehicle market. There is great variation in electric vehicle shares across major auto markets. Whereas many cities in the San Francisco Bay area have sales shares above 10%, other major cities such as Bakersfield, Riverside, and Sacramento have electric vehicle shares below the state average. To grow the market, lagging markets would benefit from more city actions (e.g., electric vehicle-ready building codes, expanded public parking and charging for electric vehicles), broader automaker marketing, and continued use of the consumer incentives will also remain important."

The same disproportion is seen between the automakers - some generate plenty of ZEV credits, while others not so much.

"Several industry leaders are greatly outperforming policy goals. The auto industry has over-complied with the ZEV regulation requirements, with several times more ZEV credits than required through 2016. Several leading companies have already transitioned their fleets to greater electric vehicle shares than what is required for the fleet to meet California’s 2025 regulation. However, many companies have much lower electric vehicle shares, and most of the companies have not yet begun to make similar electric vehicle deployment efforts outside California."

ICCT notes that achieving the goal of 5 million plug-in electric cars by 2030 in California will require more action:

More aggressive policy will be needed to achieve California’s long-term goals. California has set ambitious goals for 5 million electric vehicles by 2030 and all zero-emission vehicle sales by no later than 2050 to meet its air quality and climate objectives. This will require sales of electric vehicles to rise substantially over the next decade, perhaps to half of all new vehicle sales by 2030. The clearest way to ensure this outcome is with stronger regulations requiring that a much greater share of new vehicles have zero emissions by 2030, along with sustained purchasing incentives, consumer awareness campaigns, and infrastructure deployment.

Source: ICCT