Hybrids and EVs Experience Strong Regional Growth, 35% of EVs Are Sold in California

TTAC Staff
by TTAC Staff
hybrids and evs experience strong regional growth 35 of evs are sold in california

Analyzing data from Polk, Melissa Burden of the Detroit News reports that more than 35% of all new electric vehicle sales in the United States through June of this year have been in registered in the Los Angeles and San Francisco metropolitan regions and that a majority of EVs are being sold in just five cities. Joining LA and San Francisco on the list where EVs are popular are the Seattle, Atlanta and New York City areas.

EV market share in California climbed from 0.4% to 1.1% year to date, with over 9,700 deliveries. “A lot of the manufacturers have targeted California for the launch of their electric vehicle product,” said Brian Maas, president of the California auto dealers’ association, said. “Our consumers are cutting-edge and early adopters in this area.”

Polk attributed EV’s success in the Golden State to its residents’ reputation for being environmentally friendly. Also, EVs are permitted to use carpool lanes in the state and they are eligible for state incentives on top of the federal tax credit for hybrid and electric cars. California also has more of an infrastructure for charging electric cars. About 1,400 of the 6,440 U.S. charging stations are in California, according to the U.S. Dept. of Energy.

Nissan reports that San Francisco and Los Angeles are also their top two markets, but that it is seeing growth in other regions, mentioning Honolulu, Nashville (the Leaf is assembled in Tennessee), St. Louis, Chicago, Denver and Dallas as among the top 15 markets for the Leaf.

Another factor for EV’s apparent popularity in California is that some automakers only sell their EVs there, like the Fiat 500e. The 2014 Spark EV from Chevolet is only sold in California and Oregon. GM gives charging infrastructure, a reputation for being early adopters, financial and carpool incentives and the mandate of selling a certain number of zero-emission vehicles as reasons for focusing on those states.

California’s zero-emission vehicle regulations mandate penalties for car makers unless 15.4% of the cars they sell in the state by 2025 are powered by electric, hybrid or fuel cells. Oregon laws in this regard follow California’s lead. Honda’s Fit EV is available for lease only in California, Oregon, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maryland and Rhode Island, states with mandates, favorable incentives, or a charging infrastructure. The Ford Focus EV is sold nationwide, but almost half of its sales in 2013 are in California, with Washington also doing well.

Sales of EVs in general are up this year. Tesla reports over 10,000 Model S cars sold through July, and Nissan Leaf sales are up 230% year to year over the same period, with 11,703 Leafs sold.

Hybrids and EVs are expected jointly take about a 4% market share this year, up form 3.4% in 2012. Price cuts and cheap leases on vehicles like the Leaf and Chevy Volt have spurred interest in battery powered and hybrid cars. Like the battery powered vehicles, demand for hybrids is localized with a third of new hybrids being registered in Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, Washington, D.C., and Chicago, according to Polk. The Toyota Prius is California’s best selling vehicle so far in 2013, and hybrids have a 7% market share in the state.

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  • Brian P Brian P on Sep 05, 2013

    I can say that in Toronto, with our somewhat-adverse climate and a tendency for long commuting distances (and a reasonably decent public transit system for those commuting within Toronto proper), and with a big percentage of the population living in condo buildings with no realistic way of recharging, the pure-EV market share is within a rounding error of zero. On the road in this area, I've seen a couple of Leafs, a couple of iMiEVs, and five or six Teslas total, ever.

    • SCE to AUX SCE to AUX on Sep 05, 2013

      Here in western PA, I didn't see another EV for 7 months after getting my Leaf. It was lonely, and remains so.

  • Krhodes1 Krhodes1 on Sep 05, 2013

    Don't forget too, that California is a pretty ideal place for EVs, particularly in LA and SF. VERY mild weather. Commutes are relatively low-speed, and often fairly short in distance, though not in time. Contrast this with Maine, where it is cold, wet, and dark 1/2 the year, there is no traffic so people drive 80mph, and distances for commutes can be quite long. Someone on here said it very well that a Tesla is an ideal vehicle in which to sit in traffic on a sunny day and look cool. As for luxury cars, Tesla is kind of like Apple in computers (not tablets), they make a big splash, are the new shiny, and may be the biggest selling individual brand, and in SOME places you see a ton of them, but their slice of the total highly fragmented market is quite small. But good for them, I hope they actually make real money out of the cars someday!

  • Tassos ask me if I care.
  • ToolGuy • Nice vehicle, reasonable price, good writeup. I like your ALL CAPS. 🙂"my mid-trim EX tester is saddled with dummy buttons for a function that’s not there"• If you press the Dummy button, does a narcissist show up spouting grandiose comments? Lol.
  • MaintenanceCosts These are everywhere around here. I'm not sure the extra power over a CR-V hybrid is worth the fragile interior materials and the Kia dealership experience.
  • MaintenanceCosts It's such a shame about the unusable ergonomics. I kind of like the looks of this Camaro and by all accounts it's the best-driving of the current generation of ponycars. A manual 2SS would be a really fun toy if only I could see out of it enough to drive safely.
  • ToolGuy Gut feel: It won't sell all that well as a new vehicle, but will be wildly popular in the used market 12.5 years from now.(See FJ Cruiser)