A new white paper from the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) assesses which policy actions are behind the regional leading markets in the US for electric vehicles. The white paper identifies the areas with the highest shares of EVs and catalogues the actions that support EV uptake. The assessment includes promotion actions by state policy (e.g., regulation, purchasing incentives), local policy (e.g., parking and lane access incentives, building codes), utility actions (e.g., charging infrastructure incentives, preferential charging rates), and public charging availability.
The base regional unit for the study was the metropolitan statistical area (MSA). The authors defined regions as the Midwest, Mountain, Northeast, South, and West, based on the US Census (2016). Within the West region, they considered California separately because the state’s long-time focus on emissions regulations and electric vehicles makes it an outlier and benchmark for the rest of the country. In each region, the authors identified the four leading metropolitan areas with the highest electric vehicle share in each region. Only areas with populations of more than 50,000 were included in the study.
The ICCT authors found that many of the leading market share MSAs have more than 10 electric vehicle promotion actions in place. Four of the areas—Portland, San Jose, San Francisco, and Santa Cruz—have 20 or more actions in place.
State consumer financial incentives play a prominent role. These typically range from $1,000 to $3,000 per battery electric vehicle in most states, and they are typically about half as much for plug-in hybrid vehicles due to their lesser all-electric driving capability. Colorado has the highest incentive: as much as $5,000 per vehicle.
|Regional electric vehicle share and regionally leading metropolitan areas. Click to enlarge.|
There are substantial purchase incentives in California, Colorado, Connecticut, North Carolina, and Washington. The Georgia rebate was revoked in July 2015, and a Texas incentive was limited in its availability throughout the year.
State regulations also play a key role. California and nine other states have adopted a Zero-Emission Vehicle (ZEV) regulatory program requiring an increasing percentage of new vehicles sales from now through 2025 to be electric-drive. Of the 26 metropolitan areas in this study, the four in California, four in the Northeast, and two in Oregon are in ZEV states.
Twelve of the 26 metropolitan areas have six or more city-level actions in place to promote electric vehicles: Ann Arbor, Indianapolis, Boulder, Fort Collins, Atlanta, Austin, Nashville, Seattle, Portland, San Jose, Santa Cruz, and San Francisco. Eleven of the metropolitan areas in this study have four or more major utility actions in place: Holland, Bridgeport, Atlanta, Athens, Austin, Honolulu, Kahului, San Jose, Santa Cruz, San Francisco, and Eureka.
The white paper provides a table detailing all the actions across the MSAs.
Based on their findings, the authors made a number of conclusions:
Regulatory policy, in particular the Zero-Emission Vehicle program, is a key driver for the early market.
Most of the region-leading electric vehicle markets benefited from state-level financial incentives.
Offering local parking perks for electric vehicles, progressively integrating electric vehicles into municipal fleets, and implementing electric-vehicle-ready building codes are increasingly common among the leading metropolitan areas for electric vehicle penetration. Many of the leading areas for electric vehicle uptake around the country also implemented electric vehicle readiness plans and multi-stakeholder groups (e.g., city governments, regional governments, local businesses, utilities, nonprofits) that were working together on outreach, coordination on charging infrastructure, and other local measures.
The regional electric vehicle share leaders tended to have greater public charging infrastructure than their regional average.
Many regional electric vehicle share leaders had proactive electric power utilities supporting electric vehicles with outreach activities, preferential charging rates, and deployment of public charging infrastructure.
These growing electric vehicle markets across the United States might signal an increased awareness in these communities regarding the emerging electric vehicle technology. Further support for the new market will require continued re-examination as electric vehicle adoption expands from early adopters to fast-following consumers, especially with the coming next generation of electric vehicles. The leading electric vehicle markets identified here are a collection of larger high-technology cities, as well as smaller university towns. The exact underlying characteristics of these types of communities, whether they have more proactive governments, more nonprofit activities, more progressive dealer actions, or other demographic characteristics, warrant further investigation. From this analysis it seems clear that the electric vehicle market is emerging, albeit concentrated within pockets. Widespread adoption of actions like those in place in the leading electric vehicle markets will continue to encourage broader expansion of the market.—Kwan et al.
Irene Kwan, Nic Lutsey, Peter Slowik, and Lingzhi Jin (2016) “Identifying the leading regional electric vehicle markets in the United States” ICCT Working Paper 2016-20