Electric Car Market Mostly Based on West Coast
Electric cars are a relatively common sight in a few cities in the United States, and a rarity in most regions. That’s the takeaway of new data published by Polk, an auto industry market data firm.
The top 15 metropolitan areas accounted for 41 percent of all US electric vehicle registrations through the first 10 months of 2012. Los Angeles and San Francisco alone accounted for more than 25% of all electric vehicle sales nationally during the same time period. That adds up to nearly 2,600 EVs on roads in L.A. and San Francisco—and more than 10,000 electric vehicles throughout the top 15 markets. Nearly all of the remaining top markets are on the west coast of the U.S.
Meanwhile, in the 15 lowest ranked market areas, there were only 98 EVs sold during the first 10 months of 2012. The markets where electric vehicles are least popular are generally located in the central region of the U.S.
These findings match what Edmunds.com, working with Polk, releases in November. At the time, Edmunds.com reported that California, the country’s largest market, also ranks first for EVs, with 32 percent of all registrations. But on the other end of the scale, Michigan is ranked 20 for EV sales, although it’s 9th in overall auto registrations. Among the states for which data was released, only Louisiana ranked lower—with 0.4 percent of auto registrations represented by electric cars.
Based on the latest Polk data, and numerous surveys and studies, the rate of electric car adoption in the United States is likely to continue to be largely based on geography. EVs will make gains in dense urban environments with short commutes, adequate public charging, mild weather and a population that includes relatively wealthy, educated, conservation-minded consumers. And in cities and states characterized by sprawl, as well as apathy about green alternatives, electric cars will remain a small sliver of new car sales.
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