California Leading the Nation in Electric Vehicles

California Leading the Nation in Electric Vehicles

Home to Hollywood, Silicon Valley and an ever-present green movement California is America’s natural habitat for electric vehicles. Residents of the Golden State buy them in far greater numbers than any other people in the U.S.

So far this year Californians have registered more than 9,700 EVs. That represents a “shocking” 1.1 percent of auto sales in the West-Coast state. Last year electrics accounted for a measly 0.4 percent of sales.

California consumers are known for being early adopters when it comes to technology, and EVs are no exception. Manufacturers are targeting the state for their electric-vehicle launches.

022013fiat500e.jpgInterestingly California is the only state some EVs are sold in. The Fiat 500e for instance is only available there. Additionally, the amped-up version of Chevrolet’s itsy-bitsy Spark city car is limited to the Golden state and Oregon.

Another reason for this west-coast focus is California’s zero-emissions mandate. By the year 2025 15.4 percent of all new vehicles sold there are required to be electric, hybrid or fuel cell. If automakers fail to meet that goal they face stiff penalties. For this reason and others electric vehicles will likely see slow but continued growth going forward.

Hybrids and EVs accounted for 3.7 percent of U.S. light-vehicle sales through July, though they’re expected to hit 4 percent this year and grow from there.

Of course it’s not always about saving the environment and trying something different. EV drivers in California are granted access to the state’s coveted carpool lanes and are eligible for special money-saving incentives.

To date there are more than 6,440 public electric vehicle charging station across the U.S., and nearly 1,400 of them are in California. Roughly 700 more are located in neighboring states of Oregon and Washington.

California is leading the nation when it comes to electric vehicles, something that probably won’t change in the years ahead as automakers scramble to the stringent federal fuel-economy standards.

Source: The Detroit News