Study: Electric Car Promotion & Uptake In Top 25 U.S. Markets

AUG 12 2015 BY MARK KANE 10

This Bridge Must Be Jam Packed With Plug-Ins

This Bridge Must Be Jam Packed With Plug-Ins

The International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) recently released a report titled “Assessment of leading electric vehicle promotion activities in United States cities”.

Highlights of the report includes a very interesting graph with a comparison of the 25 most populous metropolitan areas in terms of EV market share (vertical axis), EV promotional actions (horizontal axis) and charging points per million people (the size of the circles). Every state has a different color.

Why Top 25? Because together those metropolitan areas represent more than 42% of the population, 46% of auto sales, 67% of new electric vehicle registrations, and 53% of the public electric vehicle charging infrastructure in the U.S., as of 2014

Data for the year 2014 comes from IHS Automotive and, as it turns out, the clear market leader is San Francisco.

“Seven cities stand out for their higher electric vehicle sales. San Francisco, Atlanta, Los Angeles, San Diego, Seattle, Portland, and Riverside had 2 to 7 times the electric vehicle uptake of the US average.”

“Across the 25 cities studied, which featured on average a dozen activities to promote EVs, plug-in electric vehicles accounted for 1.1% of new automobile sales in 2014, about 40% more than the nationwide electric vehicle share. “

“What are the key findings? First, government policy is clearly important in driving electric vehicle deployment. Cities with the highest electric vehicle shares tend to be located in states that have joined in the Zero Emission Vehicle program and also have consumer incentives. Various cities are leading in different ways – some with more direct incentives, charging infrastructure, some with more outreach and awareness activity, and other with utility support for electric vehicle users. For example, for Atlanta incentives were the thing; for Portland, public charging and outreach are working; California cities have a more comprehensive package of activities by many actors. Generally we realized that model availability appears to holding back electric vehicle sales in many of the markets.”

The study offers four main conclusions:

  1. Policy is driving accelerated electric vehicle deployment in several cities. Manufacturers are targeting these markets, a wider range of EV models are available, and sales are up as a result.
  2. Cities and regions are leading on electric vehicles in diverse ways, varying their emphasis according to local conditions and needs—from investment in charging infrastructure and outreach (Portland) to consumer incentives and carpool lane access (Atlanta) to a broad array of many electric vehicle promotion actions (California cities).
  3. Best practices are beginning to emerge. This analysis quantitatively supports the conventional wisdom of the “ecosystem approach,” where many stakeholders—state and local, public and private—have key, high-impact roles in enabling the growth of the early electric vehicle market.
  4. Cities are focal points for collaboration among governments, the auto industry, utilities, and advocates on electric vehicles. Continued and increased collaboration among local actors and state and federal agencies (for increased and prioritized public funding), non-profit groups (to leverage outreach and advocate for improved policy), utilities (to co-promote and incentivize electric vehicles), local businesses (to install workplace charging infrastructure), and automakers (to increase model availability and enhance marketing and outreach) is needed.”

Full report: Assessment of leading electric vehicle promotion activities in United States cities

Illustration of public electric charge points, in 25 most populous U.S. cities

Illustration of public electric charge points, in 25 most populous U.S. cities

Illustration of new 2014 plug-in hybrid and battery electric vehicle shares in 25 most populous US cities (2014 electric vehicle registration data provided by IHS Automotive)

Illustration of new 2014 plug-in hybrid and battery electric vehicle shares in 25 most populous US cities (2014 electric vehicle registration data provided by IHS Automotive)

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10 Comments on "Study: Electric Car Promotion & Uptake In Top 25 U.S. Markets"

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storky
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storky

Market penetration requires availability. Many BEV and PHEV models are not sold in the Chicago area. Models from Kia, VW and even Toyota’s PHV Prius are unavailable at Chicago dealerships — not even for test drives.

Brian
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Brian

Same thing with the Cleveland area!

kdawg
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What I find interesting is the map with the blue & red circles. Detroit is the opposite of Atlanta. I guess this makes sense to me.

Detroit = Volt & Energi PHEV sales

Atlanta = Leaf sales thanks to the local tax credit

Speculawyer
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Speculawyer

I suspect the ambient temperature also affects that difference a lot.

Dave K.
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Dave K.

The state tax credit (now gone) did indeed make BEVs much more attractive, in spite of Atlanta having one of the longest average commutes in the country. I expect now that the playing field is more level a lot of PHEVs will sell as people fill the other space in their garage.

Josh
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Detroit is a hometown market, and the PHEVs offered by the big 3 far outnumber the BEVs. Its FFE vs. Energi and Volt.

It is pretty even everywhere else with the exception of Atlanta and Seattle who had BEV only incentives. I wish NJ had a dot on the map to compare with.

Speculawyer
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Speculawyer

West coast is best coast.

Josh
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Houston is such a tiny dot on that map. That will change with the 100+ mile BEVs and/or Model 3. So many commuting miles here.

David
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David

That study should include Raleigh/Durham NC. It has a much higher percentage of EVs than does Charlotte NC.

Nick
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Nick

David, the study clearly states they were only focusing on the top 25 metro areas in the US. I’m sure there are many areas not in the top 25 that have higher percentage of EVs than some that are in the top 25.