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ChargePoint ranks US metro areas for EV friendliness; SF Bay Area still on top

ChargePoint—the world’s largest electric vehicle (EV) charging network—released a list of the top 10 friendliest metropolitan areas in the US for EV drivers. The San Francisco Bay Area (including San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose) led the nation, followed by Los Angeles, Seattle, San Diego and Honolulu.

Equating for population differences, ChargePoint scored the cities based on the number of EVs on the road and the number of charging stations available on the ChargePoint network as of 31 December 2014. The regions are core based statistical areas as defined by the US Census.

Although Los Angeles leads the nation in terms of registered EVs (nearly 57,000), the San Francisco Bay Area takes top billing after accounting for population differences (more than 48,000 EVs). Austin fell to the number-six ranking after having held the number-four spot on the 2013 list; Washington, DC and Boston, MA fell from the ninth and tenth spots, respectively, while EV infrastructure growth and registrations propelled Atlanta and Denver into the top 10.

Top 10 EV friendly metro areas
Rank 2014 2013
1 San Francisco Bay Area, CA San Francisco Bay Area, CA
2 Los Angeles, CA Seattle, WA
3 Seattle, WA San Diego, CA
4 San Diego, CA Austin, TX
5 Honolulu, HI Honolulu, HI
6 Austin, TX Los Angeles, CA
7 Detroit, MI Portland, OR
8 Atlanta, GA Detroit, MI
9 Denver, CO Washington, DC
10 Portland, OR Boston, MA

Although the West Coast continues to lead the nation in EV friendliness, the fact that cities like Atlanta and Denver broke into the top 10 demonstrates that this is not regional trend, but that our nation is quickly transitioning from gas powered cars to EVs.

—ChargePoint CEO Pasquale Romano



"that our nation is quickly transitioning from gas powered cars to EVs"
That might be a bit of an exaggeration.
Still, getting people out of polluting cars is a good way to reduce urban pollution.

The question is how do you do it - by getting rid of the very worst cars and trucks, or by offering extra incentives to already well off people to buy electric cars.

The problem of getting rid of the very worst trucks and cars is that the people who own them are the least able to afford newer cleaner ones (not necessarily EVs, either).

Then, if you give a large enough bonus to people with very old cars, you risk very large subsidy bills, + people might actively seek out old smokers to get the scrappage bonus.

Maybe you could do it like: if you have owned the car for over 2 years and it is > say 10 years old or gets > a certain pollution score, and you replace it with a car that gets < a certain pollution score, you get a scrappage amount of Y.

(a bit early for the details but you get the drift - try to eliminate as much pollution with as little cost and causing as little hardship to lower income car people).


Scrappage schemes don't make sense. If a banger is scrapped for a new car then there is an incentive. If a banger is scrapped for a used car, bought from someone who buys a new car then no incentive is handed out. The net results on the car park are the same but not the incentive.

A friend scrapped a five year old one litre car to gain the scrappage bonus. Does not make environmental sense because any marginal gain in fuel efficiency does not overcome the energy ued in building the new car.

I tend to favour fuel duties as the way to reward owners of high efficiency cars. However the life time cost of fuel may not be such a salient factor for the purchaser of new cars especially if they're only thinking of owning for a couple of years. So moving some of that duty from the fuel to the initial purchase would make sense - and be unpopular and political suicide.


DavidJ: Fuel duties will not help the poor to buy EV's. It will just keep them poorer and probably out of the market. You are probably correct about initial purchase. If there were political will to do a bonus/malus program, at least those who buy new cars every year would fill the used car pipeline with more efficient cars eventually.


The poor aren't going to buy Evs any time soon.
They are too expensive - they will probably buy ICEs (as they do now).

Next, you have to define what you are trying to achieve - lower urban pollution, lower CO2 or lower fuel imports.

For instance, in Europe, some time ago, they pushed low CO2 cars. The carmakers duly obliged by making loads of diesel cars. CO2 will have gone down, as will fuel imports, but urban pollution went up.

This is what happens when you let the greens define transport policy. Obviously, you need a more general pollution metric which would combine CO2, carbon monoxide, NOx, particulates etc. into a single number. (you can argue about the mix, but a single number is very easy for people (and manufacturers) to deal with).
Then, you add taxes based on this number.
You can also tax fuel as it tends to keep people "keen" on efficient cars.
Electric cars will have to be taxed on the Co2 they generate based on each nation's CO2/KwH mix, but all other pollutants (NOX etc.) would be zero.
(Pandering to people with PV panels isn't worth the trouble, just use the national level).

[ If you are generating most of your power from coal or lignite, you are probably better off with a hybrid. ]

The advantage of an up front tax on cars is that it affects a decision which will have implications for 10 or so years.

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