A new white paper from the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) examines EV penetration in the 25 most populous US metropolitan areas, together with actions taken by state and local governments and public utilities to promote EVs.
“Assessment of Leading Electric Vehicle Promotion Activities in United States Cities” finds that the top US EV hotspots share several characteristics: more charging infrastructure; greater consumer incentives; progressive promotional activities; and a broader range of available models.
In the 25 cities studied, plug-in vehicles accounted for 1.1% of new auto sales in 2014, about 40% more than the nationwide share. The seven cities with the highest per capita EV sales in 2014 were San Francisco, Atlanta, Los Angeles, San Diego, Seattle, Portland, and Riverside.
Cities and regions are promoting EVs in many different ways – the 25 cities studied featured on average a dozen pro-EV activities – from investment in charging infrastructure to cash incentives to carpool lane access.
Progressive policies seem to create a virtuous cycle. Manufacturers are targeting the markets that promote plug-ins, a wider range of EV models are available there, and sales are up as a result.
The new analysis quantitatively supports the wisdom of the “ecosystem approach,” in which state and local agencies, electric utilities, automakers and other private companies work together.