Plug-in electric vehicles in the United States

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For motor vehicles with a rechargeable battery that cannot be charged from the electric grid, see hybrid electric vehicles in the United States.
The Chevrolet Volt series plug-in hybrid is the top selling plug-in electric vehicle in the U.S. with cumulative sales of over 70,500 units through October 2014.[1]

The fleet of plug-in electric vehicles in the United States is the largest in the world, with a 43% share of global sales as of September 2014. Since 2008, about 260,000 highway legal plug-in electric cars have been sold in the country through the end of September 2014.[2] California accounts for about 40% of all plug-in cars sold in the country, with over 100,000 units sold through August 2014,[3] and not only has more plug-in electric vehicles than any other American state but also more than any other country.[4][5] The American market share of plug-in electric passenger cars increased from 0.14% in 2011 through 0.37% in 2012 to 0.62% of new car sales during 2013.[6][7]

As of November 2014, there are 22 highway legal plug-in cars available in the American market from 12 car manufacturers,[8][9][10] plus several models of electric motorcycles, utility vans and neighborhood electric vehicles (NEVs). As of October 2014, cumulative sales are led by the Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid with 70,531 units, followed by the Nissan Leaf all-electric car with 63,944 units.[1] Ranking next are the Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid with 37,159 units,[11][12][13] and the all-electric Tesla Model S with over 33,150 units.[13][14][15][16]

The Energy Improvement and Extension Act of 2008 granted tax credits for new qualified plug-in electric vehicles.[17] The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) also authorized federal tax credits for converted plug-ins.[18] The federal tax credit for new plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) is worth between US$2,500 and US$7,500 depending on battery capacity.[17] Several states also have established incentives and tax exemptions for BEVs and PHEV, and other non-monetary incentives. The U.S. government also has pledged US$2.4 billion in federal grants to support the development of next-generation electric cars and batteries, and US$115 million for the installation of electric vehicle charging infrastructure in 16 different metropolitan areas around the country. As of March 2013, the United States had 5,678 charging stations across the country, led by California with 1,207 stations (21.3%).[19] In terms of public charging points, there were 19,472 public outlets available across the country by the end of December 2013, again led by California with 5,176 (26.6%) public charging points.[20]

In his 2011 State of the Union address, President Barack Obama set the goal for the U.S. to become the first country to have 1 million electric vehicles on the road by 2015.[21] Considering the actual slow rate of PEV sales, since mid-2012 several industry observers have concluded that this goal is unattainable.[22][23][24] The Governor of California, Jerry Brown, issued an executive order in March 2012 that established the goal of getting 1.5 million zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) on California roads by 2015.[25][26] In September 2014, the Charge Ahead California Initiative set the additional goal to have at least 1 million zero-emission vehicles and near-zero-emission vehicles in California by January 1, 2023.[27]

Government support[edit]

President Bush with A123Systems CEO on the White House South Lawn examining a Toyota Prius converted to plug-in hybrid with Hymotion technology.

In his 2011 State of the Union address, President Barack Obama set the goal for the U.S. to become the first country to have 1 million electric vehicles on the road by 2015.[21] This goal was established based on forecasts made by the U.S. Department of Energy (DoE), using production capacity of PEV models announced to enter the U.S. market through 2015. The DoE estimated a cumulative production of 1,222,200 PEVS by 2015, and was based on manufacturer announcements and media reports accounting production goals for the Fisker Karma, Fisker Nina, Ford Transit Connect, Ford Focus Electric, Chevrolet Volt, Nissan Leaf, Smith Newton, Tesla Roadster, Tesla Model S and Th!nk City.[28] Considering that actual PEV sales have been lower than initially expected, as of early 2013, several industry observers have concluded that this goal is unattainable.[22][23][29] According to a July 2012 study by Pike Research, cumulative sales will reach the 1 million goal set by the Obama Administration only in 2018.[30]

American Recovery and Reinvestment Act[edit]

President Barack Obama pledged US$2.4 billion in federal grants to support the development of next-generation electric vehicles and batteries.[31][32] $1.5 billion in grants to U.S. based manufacturers to produce highly efficient batteries and their components; up to $500 million in grants to U.S. based manufacturers to produce other components needed for electric vehicles, such as electric motors and other components; and up to $400 million to demonstrate and evaluate plug-in hybrids and other electric infrastructure concepts—like truck stop charging station, electric rail, and training for technicians to build and repair electric vehicles (greencollar jobs).[33]

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom at the opening of the public plug-in charging stations in front of San Francisco City Hall in 2009

In March 2009, as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the U.S. Department of Energy announced the release of two competitive solicitations for up to $2 billion in federal funding for competitively awarded cost-shared agreements for manufacturing of advanced batteries and related drive components as well as up to $400 million for transportation electrification demonstration and deployment projects. This initiative aimed to help meet President Barack Obama's goal of putting one million plug-in electric vehicles on the road by 2015.[21][34]

In 2008, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed and Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums announced a nine-step policy plan for transforming the Bay Area into the "Electric Vehicle (EV) Capital of the U.S.".[35] Other local and state governments have also expressed interest in electric cars.[36]

A 2013 study published in the journal Energy Policy explored the relative benefits of a vehicle-charging network and plug-in hybrid vehicles with larger batteries. Across the battery-capacity and charging-infrastructure scenarios examined, the lowest-cost solution is for more drivers to switch to traditional hybrid electrics or low-capacity plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs). Installing charging infrastructure would provide lower gasoline savings per dollar spent than paying for increased PHEV battery capacity. In addition, the study determined that current federal subsidies are "not aligned with the goal of decreased gasoline consumption in a consistent and efficient manner."[37][38]

Tax credits[edit]

New plug-in electric vehicles[edit]

President Barack Obama behind the wheel of a new Chevrolet Volt during his tour of the General Motors Auto Plant in Hamtramck, Michigan in 2010.
Federal incentives

First the Energy Improvement and Extension Act of 2008, and later the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 (ACES) granted tax credits for new qualified plug-in electric drive motor vehicles.[17] The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) also authorized federal tax credits for converted plug-ins, though the credit is lower than for new PEVs.[18]

As defined by the 2009 ACES Act, a PEV is a vehicle which draws propulsion energy from a traction battery with at least 5 kwh of capacity and uses an offboard source of energy to recharge such battery.[17] The tax credit for new plug-in electric vehicles is worth US$2,500 plus US$417 for each kilowatt-hour of battery capacity over 5 kwh, and the portion of the credit determined by battery capacity cannot exceed US$5,000. Therefore, the total amount of the credit allowed for a new PEV is US$7,500.[17]

The new qualified plug-in electric vehicle credit phases out for a PEV manufacturer over the one-year period beginning with the second calendar quarter after the calendar quarter in which at least 200,000 qualifying vehicles from that manufacturer have been sold for use in the United States. For this purpose cumulative sales are accounted after December 31, 2009. Qualifying PEVs are eligible for 50% of the credit if acquired in the first two quarters of the phase-out period, and 25% of the credit if bought in the third or fourth quarter of the phase-out period.[17] Both the Nissan Leaf electric vehicle and the Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid, launched in December 2010, are eligible for the maximum $7,500 tax credit.[39] The Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid, released in January 2012, is eligible for a US$2,500 tax credit due to its smaller battery capacity of 5.2 kWh.[40]

State incentives

Over 25 states have also established incentives and tax or fee exemptions for BEVs and PHEVs, and other non-monetary incentives, such as the free access to high occupancy vehicle lane regardless of the number of occupants.[41] In California, for example, the Clean Vehicle Rebate Project (CVRP) was established to promote the production and use of zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs). Eligible vehicles include only new Air Resources Board-certified or approved zero-emission or plug-in hybrid electric vehicles.[42] Among the eligible vehicles are neighborhood electric vehicles, battery electric, plug-in hybrid electric, and fuel cell vehicles including cars, trucks, medium- and heavy-duty commercial vehicles, and zero-emission motorcycles. Vehicles must be purchased or leased on or after March 15, 2010. Rebates initially of up to US$5,000 per light-duty vehicle, and later lowered to up to US$2,500, are available for individuals and business owners who purchase or lease new eligible vehicles. Certain zero-emission commercial vehicles are also eligible for rebates up to US$20,000.[43][44][45]

A 2014 proposal to increase the maximum tax credit for plug-in electric vehicles to US$10,000, would not apply to luxury vehicles with a sales price of over US$45,000, such as the Cadillac ELR (shown) and the Tesla Model S.
New proposals

Several separate initiatives have been pursued unsuccessfully at the federal level since 2011 to transform the tax credit into an instant cash rebate. The objective of these initiatives is to make new qualifying plug-in electric cars more accessible to buyers by making the incentive more effective. The rebate would be available at the point of sale allowing consumers to avoid a wait of up to a year to apply the tax credit against income tax returns.[46][47][48]

In March 2014 the Obama Administration included a provision in the FY 2015 Budget to increase the maximum tax credit for plug-in electric vehicles and other advanced vehicles to US$10,000, over the current US$7,500. However, the new maximum tax credit would not apply to luxury vehicles with a sales price of over US$45,000, such as the Tesla Model S and the Cadillac ELR, which would be capped at US$7,500. According to the Treasury Department, the proposal intends to transform the existing tax credit into a rebate available at the point of sale that will be claimable by dealers and passed along to the consumers. The proposal also seeks to remove the 200,000 vehicle cap per manufacturer after which the credit phases out over a year. Instead, the incentives would begin to phase out starting in 2019 for all manufacturers, and the credit would be completely phased out by 2022, and fall to 75% of the current credit starting in 2019.[49] President Obama has attempted unsuccessfully to raise the tax credit to US$10,000 in his last three annual budgets.[50]

Charging Equipment[edit]

Until 2010 there was a federal tax credit equal to 50% of the cost to buy and install a home-based charging station with a maximum credit of US$2,000 for each station. Businesses qualified for tax credits up to US$50,000 for larger installations.[39][51] These credits expired on December 31, 2010, but were extended through 2013 with a reduced tax credit equal to 30% with a maximum credit of up to US$1,000 for each station for individuals and up to US$30,000 for commercial buyers.[52][53]

EV Everywhere Challenge[edit]

On March 7, 2012, President Barack Obama launched the EV Everywhere Challenge as part of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Clean Energy Grand Challenges, which seeks to solve some of the U.S. biggest energy challenges and make clean energy technologies affordable and accessible to the vast majority of American households and businesses. The EV Everywhere Challenge has the goal of advancing electric vehicle technologies to have the country, by 2022, to produce a five-passenger electric vehicle that would provide both a payback time of less than five years and the ability to be recharged quickly enough to provide enough range for the typical American driver.[54][55]

DoE graph showing how meeting EV Everywhere targets will significantly lower PEV 5-year cost of ownership (purchase cost plus fuel).[56]

In January 2013 the Department of Energy (DoE) published the "EV Everywhere Grand Challenge Blueprint," which set the technical targets of the PEV program to fall into four areas: battery research and development; electric drive system research and development; vehicle lightweighting; and advanced climate control technologies. The DoE set several specific goals, established in consultation with stakeholders through a series of workshops held during the second half of 2012.[56] The key goals to be met over the next five years to make plug-in electric vehicles competitive with conventional fossil fuel vehicles are:

  • Cutting battery costs from their current US$500/kWh to US$125/kWh
  • Eliminating almost 30% of vehicle weight through lightweighting
  • Reducing the cost of electric drive systems from US$30/kW to US$8/kW

Achieving these goals in the next five years will result in an automotive propulsion battery with five-times the present range capacity, costing one-fifth present lithium-ion batteries. The DoE aim is to level the purchase plus operating (fuel) cost of an all-electric vehicle with a 280 mi (450 km) range with the costs of an internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle of similar size. The DoE expects than even before the latter goals are met, the 5-year cost of ownership of most plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and of all-electric vehicles with shorter ranges, such as 100 mi (160 km), will be comparable to the same cost of ICE vehicles of similar size.[56][57]

Energy Secretary Steven Chu announcing the new Workplace Charging Challenge at the 2013 Washington Auto Show.

In order to achieve these goals, the DoE is providing up to US$120 million over the next five years to fund the new Joint Center for Energy Storage Research (JCESR), a research center led by the Argonne National Laboratory in Chicago. JCESR is a consortium of five DOE national labs, five universities, and four private-sector enterprises, and it is being likened to the Manhattan Project of battery technology.[57][58]

An initial progress report for the initiative was released in January 2014. Four key successes of the first year of the initiative were reported:[59]

  • DOE research and development reduced the cost of electric drive vehicle batteries to US$325/ kWhr, 50% lower than 2010 costs.
  • In the first year of the Workplace Charging Challenge, more than 50 U.S. employers joined the Challenge and pledged to provide charging access at more than 150 sites.
  • DOE investments in EV Everywhere technology topped US$225 million in 2013, addressing key barriers to achieving the Grand Challenge.
  • Consumer acceptance of electric vehicles grew: 97,000 plug-in electric vehicles were sold in 2013, nearly doubling 2012 sales.
Workplace Charging Challenge

In January 2013, during the Washington Auto Show, Secretary of Energy Steven Chu announced an initiative to expand the EV Everywhere program with the “Workplace Charging Challenge.” This initiative is a plan to install more electric vehicle charging stations in workplace parking lots. There are 21 founding partners and ambassadors for the program, including Ford, Chrysler, General Motors, Nissan, Tesla Motors, 3M, Google, Verizon, Duke Energy, General Electric, San Diego Gas & Electric, Siemens, Plug In America, and the Rocky Mountain Institute. The initiative's target is to increase the number of U.S. employers offering workplace charging by tenfold in the next five years. Initially, the DoE will not provide funding for this initiative.[60][61]

U. S. military[edit]

The first six neighborhood electric vehicles delivered to the U.S. Army in January 2009 as part of its plan to lease more than 4,000 of the vehicles.

The U.S. Army announced in 2009 that it will lease 4,000 Neighborhood Electric Vehicles (NEVs) within three years. The Army plans to use NEVs at its bases for transporting people around the base, as well as for security patrols and maintenance and delivery services. The Army accepted its first six NEVs at Virginia's Fort Myer in March 2009 and will lease a total of 600 NEVs through the rest of the year, followed by the leasing of 1,600 NEVs for each of the following two years. With a full eight-hour recharge, the NEVs can travel 30 miles (48 km) at a top speed of 25 mph (40 km/h).[62]

Chevrolet Volt delivered as part of the U.S. Department of Defense and General Services Administration Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles Pilot project.

U.S. Air Force officials announced, in August 2011, a plan to establish Los Angeles Air Force Base, California, as the first federal facility to replace 100% of its general purpose fleet with plug-in electric vehicles. As part of the program, all Air Force-owned and -leased general purpose fleet vehicles on the base will be replaced with PEVs. There are approximately 40 eligible vehicles, ranging from passenger sedans to two-ton trucks and shuttle buses. The replacement PEVs include all-electric, plug-in hybrids, and extended-range electric vehicles. The initiative would not include force protection, tactical and emergency response vehicles. The program is also subject to environmental review. Electrification of Los Angeles AFB's general purpose fleet is the first step in a Department of Defense effort to establish strategies for large-scale integration of PEVs.[63]

By May 2013, it was announced that, as part of a test program created in January 2013, 500 plug-in electric vehicles with vehicle-to-ground (V2G) technology would be in use at six military bases, purchased using an investment of $20 million. If the program succeeds, there will be 3,000 V2G vehicles in 30 bases.[64]

International cooperation[edit]

Building on the first-ever U.S.-China Electric Vehicle Forum in September 2009, US and China unveiled the U.S.-China Electric Vehicles Initiative, which will include developing joint standards, building demonstration projects in more than a dozen cities, creating technical roadmaps, and carrying out public education projects. Both nations said they share an interest in accelerating the deployment of electric vehicles in order to reduce oil dependence, cut greenhouse gas emissions, and promote economic growth.[65]

Operating costs and fuel economy[edit]

The following table shows the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) official ratings for fuel economy (miles per gallon gasoline equivalent) and EPA's estimated out-of-pocket fuel costs for all plug-in electric passenger vehicles rated by EPA in the United States since 2010 up to October 2014.[66]

Fuel efficiency and out-of-pocket fuel costs for all passenger PEVs rated by EPA between 2010 and October 2014(1)
(Fuel economy and operating costs as displayed in the Monroney label and the fueleconomy.gov website for model years 2011 through 2015)
Vehicle Model
year
Operating
mode
(AER)
EPA fuel economy ratings Cost
to drive
25 miles
Annual
Fuel Cost(2)
(15,000 mi)
Notes
Combined City Highway
BMW i3[66][67] 2014 All-electric
(81 mi)
124 mpg-e
(27 kW-hrs/100 mi)
137 mpg-e
(25 kW-hrs/100 mi)
111 mpg-e
(30 kW-hrs/100 mi)
$0.81 $500 The 2014 BMW i3 is the most fuel
efficient EPA-certified vehicle of all
fuel types considered in all years.[68]
Scion iQ EV[69] 2013 All-electric
(38 mi)
121 mpg-e
(28 kW-hrs/100 mi)
138 mpg-e
(24 kW-hrs/100 mi)
105 mpg-e
(32 kW-hrs/100 mi)
$0.84 $500 The iQ EV is only available in limited
numbers for special fleet use, such as
carsharing programs.[70][71][72]
Chevrolet Spark EV[73] 2014 All-electric
(82 mi)
119 mpg-e
(28 kW-hrs/100 mi)
121 mpg-e
(28 kW-hrs/100 mi)
138 mpg-e
(24 kW-hrs/100 mi)
$0.84 $500
Honda Fit EV[74] 2013/14 All-electric
(82 mi)
118 mpg-e
(29 kW-hrs/100 mi)
132 mpg-e
(26 kW-hrs/100 mi)
105 mpg-e
(32 kW-hrs/100 mi)
$0.87 $500
BMW i3 REx[66][67] 2014 Electricity only
(72 mi)
117 mpg-e
(29 kW-hrs/100 mi)
97 mpg-e 79 mpg-e $0.87 $700 The EPA classifies the i3 REx as a
series plug-in hybrid while CARB as a
range-extended battery-electric vehicle (BEVx).[67][75][76]
The 2014 i3 REx is the most fuel efficient
EPA-certified current year vehicle with
a gasoline engine with a combined
EV/gasoline rating of 88 mpg-e
(city 97 mpg-e/hwy 79 mpg-e).[68][77]
Gasoline only
(78 mi)
39 mpg 41 mpg 37 mpg $2.44
Volkswagen e-Golf[78] 2015 All-electric
(83 mi)
116 mpg-e
(29 kW-hrs/100 mi)
126 mpg-e 105 mpg-e $0.88 $550
Fiat 500e[79] 2013/14 All-electric
(87 mi)
116 mpg-e
(29 kW-hrs/100 mi)
122 mpg-e
(28 kW-hrs/100 mi)
108 mpg-e
(31 kW-hrs/100 mi)
$0.88 $550
Nissan Leaf[80] 2013 All-electric
(75 mi)
115 mpg-e
(29 kW-hrs/100 mi)
129 mpg-e 102 mpg-e $0.87 $500
Nissan Leaf[80] 2014/15 All-electric
(84 mi)
114 mpg-e
(30 kW-hrs/100 mi)
126 mpg-e
(27 kW-hrs/100 mi)
101 mpg-e
(33 kW-hrs/100 mi)
$0.89 $550
Honda Accord PHEV[81] 2014 Electricity
and gasoline
(13 mi)
115mpg-e
(29 kW-hrs/100 mi)
- - $1.36 $950 The 2014 Accord is the most fuel
efficient plug-in hybrid in
blended electric/hybrid mode with a
combined rating of 115 mpg-e.
After the first 13 mi the car
functions like a regular hybrid.
Depending on driving style, the
car may use both gasoline and
electricity during the first 13 mi.[66]
The Accord has a rating for combined
EV/hybrid operation of 57 mpg-e.[82]
Gasoline only 46 mpg 47 mpg 46 mpg
Mitsubishi i[83] 2012/13/14 All-electric
(62 mi)
112 mpg-e
(30 kW-hrs/100 mi)
126 mpg-e
(27 kW-hrs/100 mi)
99 mpg-e
(34 kW-hrs/100 mi)
$0.90 $550
Smart electric drive[84] 2013/14 All-electric
(68 mi)
107 mpg-e
(32 kW-hrs/100 mi)
122 mpg-e
(28 kW-hrs/100 mi)
93 mpg-e
(36 kW-hrs/100 mi)
$0.96 $600 Third generation model.
Ratings are costs for both
convertible and coupe models.
Kia Soul EV[85] 2015 All-electric
(93 mi)
105 mpg-e
(32 kW-hrs/100 mi)
120 mpg-e 92 mpg-e $0.96 $600 The Soul EV has the largest all-electric
range in city driving of its class, with
104 mi (167 km).
[86]
Ford Focus Electric[87] 2012/13/14 All-electric
(76 mi)
105 mpg-e
(32 kW-hrs/100 mi)
110 mpg-e
(31 kW-hrs/100 mi)
99 mpg-e
(34 kW-hrs/100 mi)
$0.96 $600
BMW ActiveE[88] 2011 All-electric
(94 mi)
102 mpg-e
(33 kW-hrs/100 mi)
107 mpg-e 96 mpg-e $0.99 $600
Nissan Leaf[89] 2011/12 All-electric
(73 mi)
99 mpg-e
(34 kW-hrs/100 mi)
106 mpg-e
(32 kW-hrs/100 mi)
92 mpg-e
(37 kW-hrs/100 mi)
$1.02 $600
Chevrolet Volt[90] 2013/14 Electricity only
(38 mi)
98 mpg-e
(35 kW-hrs/100 mi)
- - $1.05 $900 The 2013/14 Volt has a combined
EV/gasoline rating of 62 mpg-e
(city 63 mpg-e/hwy 61 mpg-e).[77]
Gasoline only 37 mpg 35 mpg 40 mpg $2.57
Tesla Model S[66][91] 2013/14 All-electric
(208 mi)
95 mpg-e
(35 kW-hrs/100 mi)
94 mpg-e
(36 kW-hrs/100 mi)
97 mpg-e
(35 kW-hrs/100 mi)
$1.05 $650 Model with 60 kWh battery pack
Toyota Prius PHV[92] 2012/13/14 Electricity
and gasoline
(11 mi)
95 mpg-e
(29 kW-hrs/100 mi
plus 0.2 gallons/100 mi)
- - $1.43 $900 After the first 11 mi the car
functions like a regular Prius hybrid

The 2012/14 Prius has a rating for
combined EV/hybrid operation of 58 mpg-e
(city 59 mpg-e/hwy 56 mpg-e).[77]
Gasoline only 50 mpg 51 mpg 49 mpg $1.74
Chevrolet Volt[93] 2011/12 Electricity only
(35 mi)
94 mpg-e
(36 kW-hrs/100 mi)
95 mpg-e
(36 kW-hrs/100 mi)
93 mpg-e
(37 kW-hrs/100 mi)
$1.08 $1,000 Both model year 2011 and 2012 have
the same operating costs, but the
2011 Volt has a rating of 93 mpg-e for
combined driving in all-electric mode.
Gasoline only 37 mpg 35 mpg 40 mpg $2.57
Tesla Model S[94] 2013 All-electric
(139 mi)
94 mpg-e
(36 kW-hrs/100 mi)
93 mpg-e 96 mpg-e $1.08 $650 Model with 40 kWh battery pack.
This model was officially rated by
the EPA but Tesla canceled its
production due to lack of demand.[95]
Tesla Model S[91] 2012/13/14 All-electric
(265 mi)
89 mpg-e
(38 kW-hrs/100 mi)
88 mpg-e
(38 kW-hrs/100 mi)
90 mpg-e
(37 kW-hrs/100 mi)
$1.14 $700 Model with 85kWh battery pack
Ford C-Max Energi[96][97]

Ford Fusion Energi[96][97]
2013/14 Electricity
and gasoline
(20 mi)
88 mpg-e
(37 kW-hrs/100 mi)
95 mpg-e 81 mpg-e $1.36 $1,050 The Energi did not use any gasoline
for the first 20 mi in EPA tests,
but depending on the driving style,
the car may use both gasoline
and electricity during EV mode.
The Energi models have a combined
EV/hybrid operation rating of 51 mpg-e
(city 55 mpg-e/hwy 46 mpg-e).[77]
Gasoline only 38 mpg 40 mpg 36 mpg $2.29
Smart electric drive[84] 2011 All-electric
(63 mi)
87 mpg-e
(39 kW-hrs/100 mi)
94 mpg-e 79 mpg-e $1.17 $700 Second generation model.
Ratings are costs for both
cabriolet and coupe models.
Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive[66][98] 2014 All-electric
(87 mi)
84 mpg-e
(40 kW-hrs/100 mi)
85 mpg-e
(40 kW-hrs/100 mi)
83 mpg-e
(41 kW-hrs/100 mi)
$1.20 $700
Cadillac ELR[99] 2014 Electricity only
(37 mi)
82 mpg-e
(41 kW-hrs/100 mi)
- - $1.23 $1,100 The 2014 ELR has a combined
EV/gasoline rating of 54 mpg-e
(city 54 mpg-e/hwy 55 mpg-e).[77]
Gasoline only 33 mpg 31 mpg 35 mpg $2.89
Toyota RAV4 EV[66][100] 2012 All-electric
(103 mi)
76 mpg-e
(44 kW-hrs/100 mi)
78 mpg-e
(43 kW-hrs/100 mi)
74 mpg-e
(46 kW-hrs/100 mi)
$1.32 $800
BMW i8[66][101] 2014 Electricity
and
gasoline
(15 mi)
76 mpg-e
(43 kW-hrs/100 mi)
- - $2.19 $1,550 The i8 does not run on 100% electricity
as it consumes 0.1 gallons per 100 mi
in EV mode (all-electric range = 0 mi)
The i8 has a rating for combined EV/hybrid
operation of 37 mpg-e.[82]
Gasoline only 28 mpg 28 mpg 29 mpg $3.40
Coda[102] 2012/13 All-electric
(88 mi)
73 mpg-e
(46 kW-hrs/100 mi)
77 mpg-e
(44 kW-hrs/100 mi)
68 mpg-e
(50 kW-hrs/100 mi)
$1.38 $850
Porsche 918 Spyder[103] 2015 Electricity only
(12 mi)
67 mpg-e
(50 kW-hrs/100 mi)
- - $1.50 $2,100
Gasoline only 22 mpg - - $4.33
BYD e6[104] 2012 All-electric
(122 mi)
62 mpg-e
(54 kW-hrs/100 mi)
60 mpg-e
(56 kW-hrs/100 mi)
64 mpg-e
(52 kW-hrs/100 mi)
$1.62 $950
Fisker Karma[105] 2012 Electricity only
(33 mi)
54 mpg-e
(62 kW-hrs/100 mi)
- - $1.86 $1,750
Gasoline only 20 mpg 20 mpg 21 mpg $4.76
Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid[106] 2014 Electricity
and gasoline
(16 mi)
50 mpg-e
(52 kWh/100 mi)
- - $3.49 $1,850 The all-electric range is between
0 to 15 mi.[106]
The S E-Hybrid has a rating for combined
EV/hybrid operation of 31 mpg-e.[82]
Gasoline only 25 mpg 23 mpg 29 mpg $3.81
McLaren P1[66][107] 2014 Electricity
and gasoline
(19 mi)
18 mpg-e
(25 kWh/100 mi)
- - $5.38 $3,200 The P1 does not run on 100% electricity
as it consumes 4.8 gallons per 100 mi
in EV mode (all-electric range = 0 mi)[107]
The P1 has a rating for combined EV/hybrid
operation of 17 mpg-e.[82]
Gasoline only 17 mpg 16 mpg 20 mpg $5.60
Notes: (1) In November 2010, EPA introduced MPGe as comparison metric on its new sticker for fuel economy for the Nissan Leaf and the Chevrolet Volt.[108][109] Before, the EPA rating for on board energy efficiency for electric vehicles was expressed as kilowatt-hour per 100 miles.[110][111] The window sticker of the 2009 Mini E showed an energy consumption of 33 kW-hrs/100 mi in the city and 36 kW-hrs/100 mi on the highway (equivalent to 102 mpg city and 94 mpg on the highway).[110] The 2009 Tesla Roadster was rated 32 kW-hrs/100 mi in city and 33 kW-hrs/100 mi on the highway (equivalent to 105 mpg city and 102 mpg highway).[112]

(2) Based on 45% highway and 55% city driving. Values rounded to the nearest $50. Electricity cost of US$0.12/kw-hr, premium gasoline price of US$3.81 per gallon (used by the Volt, Karma, BMW i3 REx, McLAren P1 and Spyder 918), and regular gasoline price of US$3.48 per gallon (as of 12 March 2014). Conversion 1 gallon of gasoline=33.7 kW-hr.

Air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions[edit]

Electric cars, as well as plug-in hybrids operating in all-electric mode, emit no harmful tailpipe pollutants from the onboard source of power, such as particulates (soot), volatile organic compounds, hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, ozone, lead, and various oxides of nitrogen. The clean air benefit is usually local because, depending on the source of the electricity used to recharge the batteries, air pollutant emissions are shifted to the location of the generation plants.[113] In a similar manner, plug-in electric vehicles operating in all-electric mode do not emit greenhouse gases from the onboard source of power, but from the point of view of a well-to-wheel assessment, the extent of the benefit also depends on the fuel and technology used for electricity generation. From the perspective of a full life cycle analysis, the electricity used to recharge the batteries must be generated from renewable or clean sources such as wind, solar, hydroelectric, or nuclear power for PEVs to have almost none or zero well-to-wheel emissions.[113][114]

EPA estimates[edit]

Several Nissan Leafs, Chevrolet Volts and Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrids charging at a parking lot reserved for plug-in electric vehicles in California.

The following table compares tailpipe and upstream CO
2
emissions estimated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for all series production model year 2014 plug-in electric vehicles available in the U.S. market. Total emissions include the emissions associated with the production and distribution of electricity used to charge the vehicle, and for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, it also includes emissions associated with tailpipe emissions produced from the internal combustion engine. These figures were published by the EPA in October 2014 in its annual report "Light-Duty Automotive Technology, Carbon Dioxide Emissions, and Fuel Economy Trends." All emissions are estimated considering average real world city and highway operation based on the EPA 5-cycle label methodology, using a weighted 55% city and 45% highway driving.[82]

For purposes of an accurate estimation of emissions, the analysis took into consideration the differences in operation between plug-in hybrids. Some, like the Chevrolet Volt, can operate in all-electric mode without using gasoline, and others operate in a blended mode like the Toyota Prius PHV, which uses both energy stored in the battery and energy from the gasoline tank to propel the vehicle, but that can deliver substantial all-electric driving in blended mode. In addition, since the all-electric range of plug-in hybrids depends on the size of the battery pack, the analysis introduced a utility factor as a projection of the share of miles that will be driven using electricity by an average driver, for both, electric only and blended EV modes. Since all-electric cars do not produce tailpipe emissions, the utility factor applies only to plug-in hybrids. The following table shows the overall fuel economy expressed in terms of miles per gallon gasoline equivalent (mpg-e) and the utility factor for the ten MY2014 plug-in hybrids available in the U.S. market, and EPA's best estimate of the CO
2
tailpipe emissions produced by these PHEVs.[82]

In order to account for the upstream CO
2
emissions associated with the production and distribution of electricity, and since electricity production in the United States varies significantly from region to region, the EPA considered three scenarios/ranges with the low end scenario corresponding to the California powerplant emissions factor, the middle of the range represented by the national average powerplant emissions factor, and the upper end of the range corresponding to the powerplant emissions factor for the Rocky Mountains. The EPA estimates that the electricity GHG emission factors for various regions of the country vary from 346 g CO
2
/kWh in California to 986 g CO
2
/kWh in the Rockies, with a national average of 648 g CO
2
/kWh.[82]

Comparison of tailpipe and upstream CO
2
emissions(1) estimated by EPA
for the MY 2014 plug-in electric vehicles available in the U.S. market[82]
Vehicle Overall
fuel
economy
(mpg-e)
Utility
factor(2)
(share EV
miles)
Tailpipe CO
2

(g/mi)
Tailpipe + Total Upstream CO
2
Low
(g/mi)
Avg
(g/mi)
High
(g/mi)
BMW i3 124 1 0 93 175 266
Chevrolet Spark EV 119 1 0 97 181 276
Honda Fit EV 118 1 0 99 185 281
Fiat 500e 116 1 0 101 189 288
Nissan Leaf 114 1 0 104 194 296
Mitsubishi i 112 1 0 104 195 296
Smart electric drive 107 1 0 109 204 311
Ford Focus Electric 105 1 0 111 208 316
Tesla Model S (60 kWh) 95 1 0 122 229 348
Tesla Model S (85 kWh) 89 1 0 131 246 374
BMW i3 REx(3) 88 0.83 40 134 207 288
Mercedes-Benz B-Class ED 84 1 0 138 259 394
Toyota RAV4 EV 76 1 0 153 287 436
BYD e6 63 1 0 187 350 532
Chevrolet Volt 62 0.66 81 180 249 326
Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid 58 0.29 133 195 221 249
Honda Accord Plug-in Hybrid 57 0.33 130 196 225 257
Cadillac ELR 54 0.65 91 206 286 377
Ford C-Max Energi 51 0.45 129 219 269 326
Ford Fusion Energi 51 0.45 129 219 269 326
BMW i8 37 0.37 198 303 351 404
Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid 31 0.39 206 328 389 457
McLaren P1 17 0.43 463 617 650 687
Average gasoline car 24.2 0 367 400 400 400
Notes: (1) Based on 45% highway and 55% city driving. (2) The utility factor represents, on average, the percentage of miles that will be driven
using electricity (in electric only and blended modes) by an average driver. (3) The EPA classifies the i3 REx as a series plug-in hybrid[66][82]

Union of Concerned Scientists[edit]

The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) published a study in 2012 that assessed average greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. resulting from charging plug-in car batteries from the perspective of the full life-cycle (well-to-wheel analysis) and according to fuel and technology used to generate electric power by region. The study used the Nissan Leaf all-electric car to establish the analysis baseline, and electric-utility emissions are based on EPA's 2009 estimates. The UCS study expressed the results in terms of miles per gallon instead of the conventional unit of grams of greenhouse gases or carbon dioxide equivalent emissions per year in order to make the results more friendly for consumers. The study found that in areas where electricity is generated from natural gas, nuclear, hydroelectric or renewable sources, the potential of plug-in electric cars to reduce greenhouse emissions is significant. On the other hand, in regions where a high proportion of power is generated from coal, hybrid electric cars produce less CO
2
-e equivalent emissions than plug-in electric cars, and the best fuel efficient gasoline-powered subcompact car produces slightly less emissions than a PEV. In the worst-case scenario, the study estimated that for a region where all energy is generated from coal, a plug-in electric car would emit greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to a gasoline car rated at a combined city/highway driving fuel economy of 30 mpg-US (7.8 L/100 km; 36 mpg-imp). In contrast, in a region that is completely reliant on natural gas, the PEV would be equivalent to a gasoline-powered car rated at 50 mpg-US (4.7 L/100 km; 60 mpg-imp).[115][116]

The study concluded that for 45% of the U.S. population, a plug-in electric car will generate lower CO
2
equivalent emissions than a gasoline-powered car capable of combined 50 mpg-US (4.7 L/100 km; 60 mpg-imp), such as the Toyota Prius and the Prius c. The study also found that for 37% of the population, the electric car emissions will fall in the range of a gasoline-powered car rated at a combined fuel economy of 41 to 50 mpg-US (5.7 to 4.7 L/100 km; 49 to 60 mpg-imp), such as the Honda Civic Hybrid and the Lexus CT200h. Only 18% of the population lives in areas where the power-supply is more dependent on burning carbon, and the greenhouse gas emissions will be equivalent to a car rated at a combined fuel economy of 31 to 40 mpg-US (7.6 to 5.9 L/100 km; 37 to 48 mpg-imp), such as the Chevrolet Cruze and Ford Focus.[116][117][118] The study found that there are no regions in the U.S. where plug-in electric cars will have higher greenhouse gas emissions than the average new compact gasoline engine automobile, and the area with the dirtiest power supply produces CO
2
emissions equivalent to a gasoline-powered car rated at 33 mpg-US (7.1 L/100 km).[115]

The following table shows a representative sample of cities within each of the three categories of emissions intensity used in the UCS study, showing the corresponding miles per gallon equivalent for each city as compared to the greenhouse gas emissions of a gasoline-powered car:

Regional comparison of full life cycle assessment
of greenhouse gas emissions resulting from charging plug-in electric vehicles
expressed in terms of miles per gallon of a gasoline-powered car with equivalent emissions[115][117][118]
Rating scale
by emissions intensity
expressed as
miles per gallon
City PEV well-to-wheels
carbon dioxide equivalent
(CO
2
-e) emissions per year
expressed as mpg US
Percent reduction in
CO
2
-e emissions
compared with
27 mpg US average
new compact car
Combined EPA's rated
fuel economy and
GHG emissions
for reference
gasoline-powered car[119]
Best
LowestCO
2
-e emissions
equivalent to
over 50 mpg-US (4.7 L/100 km)
Juneau, Alaska 112 mpg-US (2.10 L/100 km) 315% 2012 Toyota Prius/Prius c
50 mpg-US (4.7 L/100 km)
San Francisco 79 mpg-US (3.0 L/100 km) 193%
New York City 74 mpg-US (3.2 L/100 km) 174%
Portland, Oregon 73 mpg-US (3.2 L/100 km) 170% Greenhouse gas emissions (grams/mile)
Boston 67 mpg-US (3.5 L/100 km) 148% Tailpipe CO
2
Upstream GHG
Washington, D.C. 58 mpg-US (4.1 L/100 km) 115% 178 g/mi (111 g/km) 44 g/mi (27 g/km)
Better
Moderate CO
2
-e emissions
equivalent to between
41 mpg-US (5.7 L/100 km) to
50 mpg-US (4.7 L/100 km)
Phoenix, Arizona 48 mpg-US (4.9 L/100 km) 78% 2012 Honda Civic Hybrid
44 mpg-US (5.3 L/100 km)
Miami 47 mpg-US (5.0 L/100 km) 74%
Houston 46 mpg-US (5.1 L/100 km) 70% Greenhouse gas emissions (grams/mile)
Columbus, Ohio 41 mpg-US (5.7 L/100 km) 52% Tailpipe CO
2
Upstream GHG
Atlanta 41 mpg-US (5.7 L/100 km) 52% 202 g/mi (125 g/km) 50 g/mi (31 g/km)
Good
Highest CO
2
-e emissions
equivalent to between
31 mpg-US (7.6 L/100 km) to
40 mpg-US (5.9 L/100 km)
Detroit 38 mpg-US (6.2 L/100 km) 41% 2012 Chevrolet Cruze
30 mpg-US (7.8 L/100 km)
Des Moines, Iowa 37 mpg-US (6.4 L/100 km) 37%
St. Louis, Missouri 36 mpg-US (6.5 L/100 km) 33% Greenhouse gas emissions (grams/mile)
Wichita, Kansas 35 mpg-US (6.7 L/100 km) 30% Tailpipe CO
2
Upstream GHG
Denver 33 mpg-US (7.1 L/100 km) 22% 296 g/mi (184 g/km) 73 g/mi (45 g/km)
Source: Union of Concerned Scientists, 2012.[115]
Notes: The Nissan Leaf is the baseline car for the assessment, with an energy consumption rated by EPA at 34 kWh/100 mi or 99 miles per gallon gasoline equivalent (2.4 L/100 km) combined.
The ratings are based on a region's mix of electricity sources and its average emissions intensity over the course of a year. In practice the electricity grid is very dynamic, with the mix of
power plants constantly changing in response to hourly, daily and seasonal electricity demand, and availability of electricity resources.

In September 2014 the UCS published an updated analysis of its 2012 report. The 2014 analysis found that 60% of Americans, up from 45% in 2012, live in regions where an all-electric car produce fewer CO
2
equivalent emissions per mile than the most efficient hybrid. The UCS study found several reasons for the improvement. First, electric utilities have adopted cleaner sources of electricity to their mix between the two analysis. The 2014 study used electric-utility emissions based on EPA's 2010 estimates, but since coal use nationwide is down by about 5% from 2010 to 2014, actual efficiency in 2014 is expected to be better than estimated in the UCS study. Second, electric vehicles have become more efficient, as the average model year 2013 all-electric vehicle used 0.325 kWh/mile, representing a 5% improvement over 2011 models. The Nissan Leaf, used as the reference model for the baseline of the 2012 study, was upgraded in model year 2013 to achieved a rating of 0.30 kWh/mile, a 12% improvement over the 2011 model year model rating of 0.34 kWh/mile. Also, some new models are cleaner than the average, such as the BMW i3, which is rated at 0.27 kWh by the EPA. An i3 charged with power from the Midwest grid would be as clean as a gasoline-powered car with about 50 mpg-US (4.7 L/100 km), up from 39 mpg-US (6.0 L/100 km) for the average electric car in the 2012 study. In states with a cleaner mix generation, the gains were larger. The average all-electric car in California went up to 95 mpg-US (2.5 L/100 km) equivalent from 78 mpg-US (3.0 L/100 km) in the 2012 study. States with dirtier generation that rely heavily on coal still lag, such as Colorado, where the average BEV only achieves the same emissions as a 34 mpg-US (6.9 L/100 km; 41 mpg-imp) gasoline-powered car. The author of the 2014 analysis noted that the benefits are not distributed evenly across the U.S. because electric car adoptions is concentrated in the states with cleaner power.[120][121]

Environmental footprint[edit]

In February 2014, the Automotive Science Group (ASG) published the result of a study conducted to assess the life-cycle of over 1,300 automobiles across nine categories sold in North America. The study found that among advanced automotive technologies, the Nissan Leaf holds the smallest life-cycle environmental footprint of any model year 2014 automobile available in the North American market with minimum four person occupancy. The study concluded that the increased environmental impacts of manufacturing the battery electric technology is more than offset with increased environmental performance during operational life. For the assessment, the study used the average electricity mix of the U.S. grid in 2014.[122] In the 2014 mid-size cars category, the Leaf also ranked as the best all-around performance, best environmental and best social performance. The Ford Focus Electric, within the 2014 compact cars category, ranked as the best all-around performance, best environmental and best social performance. The Tesla Model S ranked as the best environmental performance in the 2014 full-size cars category.[123]

Charging infrastructure[edit]

As of March 2013, the United States had 5,678 charging stations across the country, a third of which were located in the three westernmost continental states. Deployments are led by California with 1,207 stations (21.3%), Texas with 432 stations (7.6%), Florida with 352 (6.2%), Washington with 326 (5.7%), and Oregon with 310 stations (5.5%).[19] In terms of public charging points, there were 19,472 public outlets available across the country by the end of December 2013, led by California with 5,176 charging points (26.6%), followed by Texas with 1,599 (8.2%), and Washington state with 1,325 (6.8%).[20] There are 592 CHAdeMO quick charging stations across the country by April 2014.[124]

Top fifteen states ranked by number of public charging points
available in the United States (as of December 2013)[20]
State Number
of points
% Total State Number
of points
% Total
California 5,176 26.6% New York 693 3.6%
Texas 1,599 8.2% Maryland 553 2.8%
Washington 1,325 6.8% Massachusetts 546 2.8%
Florida 996 5.1% Illinois 527 2.7%
Oregon 915 4.7% North Carolina 524 2.7%
Tennessee 866 4.4% Georgia/Virginia 370 1.9%
Michigan 721 3.7% Hawaii 351 1.8%
Arizona 710 3.6% Total U.S. 19,472
Note: The U.S. DoE Alternative Fuels Data Center counts electric charging units or points, or EVSE,
as one for each outlet available, and does not include residential electric charging infrastructure.
Number of public charging points as of as of 25 December 2013.[20]

Markets and sales[edit]

Highway legal plug-in electric vehicles[edit]

As of September 2014, the United States has the largest fleet of highway-capable plug-in electric vehicles in the world, with about 260,000 plug-in electric cars sold since 2008.[2] Sales are led by California with over 100,000 plug-in electric vehicles delivered between December 2010 and August 2014, representing about 40% of all plug-in cars sold in the country.[3] National sales increased from 17,800 units delivered in 2011 to 53,200 during 2012, and reached 97,100 in 2013, up 83% from the previous year.[125] Between January and September 2014 plug-in electric car sales totaled 87,949 units, up 29.8% year-on-year.[126] The market share of plug-in electric passenger cars increased from 0.14% of new car sales in 2011 to 0.37% in 2012 and reached 0.62% of new car sales during 2013.[6][7] During the first nine months of 2014 the plug-in car market share was 0.71%.[126]

Historical trend of U.S. plug-in electric vehicle cumulative sales by month by type of powertrain from December 2010 up to September 2014.[127][128] Cumulative plug-in electric car sales since 2008 reached the 250,000 unit milestone in August 2014.[129]

As of October 2014, cumulative sales are led by the Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid with 70,531 units, followed by the Nissan Leaf electric car with 66,533 units. Both PEVs were released in December 2010.[1] Launched in the U.S. market in February 2012, the Prius PHV ranks as the third top selling plug-in electric car with 37,159 units,[11][12][13] followed by the all-electric Tesla Model S, released in June 2012, with about 33,150 units,[13][14][15][16] the Ford C-Max Energi plug-in hybrid, launched in October 2012, with 16,658 units delivered,[6][10][130] and the Ford Fusion Energi, released in February 2013, with 16,098 units through October 2014.[10][130]

During 2013 sales were led by the Chevrolet Volt with 23,094 units, followed by the Nissan Leaf with 22,610 cars, and the Tesla Model S with almost 18,000 units.[16] In 2013 the Model S was the top selling car in the American full-size luxury sedan category, ahead of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class (13,303), the top selling car in the category in 2012, and also surpassing the BMW 7 Series (10,932), Lexus LS (10,727), Audi A8 (6,300) and Porsche Panamera (5,421).[16] During the first quarter of 2014, plug-in car sales captured a 3.0% market share of the luxury vehicle segment, of which, the Model S represented 94% of the plug-in sales.[131]

The best monthly PEV sales volume on record ever was achieved in May 2014, with over 12,000 units delivered, representing a market share of 0.78% of new car sales.[132][133] The highest-ever market share for plug-in vehicles was achieved in October 2013 with 0.85% of new car sales.[134] Sales during the first half of 2014 sales were led by the Nissan Leaf with 12,736 units, followed by the Prius PHEV with 9,300 units, the Volt with 8,615, the Model S with an estimated 7,400 units, and the Fusion Energi with 6,235 units.[135]

As of September 2014, the U.S. is the world's leader in plug-in electric car sales with a 43.0% share of global sales, followed by Japan (15.8%), China (12.8%), the Netherlands (6.8%), France (6.4%) and Norway (6.3%).[2] When sales are broken down by type of powertrain, the United States was the leader in plug-in hybrid sales in 2012 with a 70% share of global sales, while Japan was the leader in pure electric car sales with a 28% share, closely followed by the U.S. with 26%.[136] The American-built Chevrolet Volt was the world's top selling PEV in 2012, with more than 30,000 units sold including its sibling Ampera sold in Europe.[137]

During 2011, all-electric cars (10,064 units) oversold plug-in hybrids (7,671 units), but increased Volt sales, together with the introduction of the Prius PHV and the Ford C-Max, allowed plug-in hybrids to take the lead over pure electric cars during 2012, with 38,584 PHEVs sold versus 14,251 BEVs.[127][138] As of early March 2013, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) reported that owners of 9,559 all-electric vehicles and 8,842 plug-in hybrids had applied for the state's Clean Vehicle Rebate since January 2011. However, CARB noticed that approximately 2,300 Chevy Volt’s were sold in California before the Volt became eligible for the rebate in February 2012. These figures show that plug-in hybrid electric vehicles were also outselling pure electric vehicles in California.[139][140] Despite this trend, during the first half of 2013, all-electric vehicle sales outsold plug-in hybrids in California, out of 15,444 new plug-in electric vehicles sold in the state, plug-in hybrids represented a market share of 0.7% of new vehicle sales, while battery electric vehicle market share was 1.1%.[141][142]

Cumulative sales of new PEVs are doing better than sales of HEVs in the United States over their respective 24 month introductory periods.[56]

Several industry forecasts agree that plug-in hybrids will continue to outsell pure electric cars in the United States at least until 2020, as the longer driving range of PHEVs is expected to be more attractive to consumers.[143][144] According to a June 2013 forecast by Navigant Research, the U.S. and Canada are the only markets anticipated to have significantly higher sales of plug-in hybrids than pure electric vehicles, at a 1.5:1 sales ratio.[145] Nevertheless, during 2013, sales of pure electric cars (about 47,600 units) were almost even with plug-in hybrids (about 49,000 units), due to large sales of the Tesla Model S and Nissan Leaf during 2013.[146] As of August 2014, cumulative sales of plug-in electric vehicles in the U.S. since December 2010 are led by plug-in hybrids, with 136,378 units sold representing 55.3% of all plug-in car sales, while 110,048 all-electric cars (44.7%) have been delivered to retail customers.[127] In another forecast made in a white paper by Navigant Research published in January 2014, the firm predicted that the stock of plug-in electric vehicles on the U.S. roads by the end of 2014 will be over 304,000 units. Of these, Navigant forecast that 170,000 will be plug-in hybrids (55.9%) and 134,000 all-electric cars (44.1%).[147]

Sales of series production PEVs during its first two years in the U.S. market have been lower than the initial expectations.[22][23][29][144][148] According to a July 2012 study by Pike Research, about 410,000 PEVs will be sold between 2011 and 2015 in the United States, with cumulative sales reaching the 1 million goal set by the Obama Administration only in 2018.[30] However, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, combined sales of plug-in hybrids and battery electric cars are climbing more rapidly and outselling by more than double sales of hybrid-electric vehicles over their respective 24 month introductory periods, as shown in the graph at the right.[56] A more detailed analysis by the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy over the same two-year introductory periods found that except for the initial months in the market, monthly sales of the Volt and the Leaf have been higher than the Prius HEV, and the Prius PHEV has outsold the regular Prius during its 8 months in the market. Over the first 24 months from introduction, the Prius HEV achieved monthly sales of over 1,700 in month 18, the Leaf achieved about 1,700 units in month 7, the Prius PHEV achieved nearly 1,900 sales in month 8, and the Volt achieved more than 2,900 sales in month 23.[149]

An analysis by Scientific American found a similar trend at the international level when considering the global top selling PEVs over a 36 month introductory period. Monthly sales of the Volt, Prius PHV and Leaf are performing better than the conventional Prius during their respective introductory periods, with the exception of the Mitsubishi i-MiEV, which has been outsold most of the time by the Prius HEV over their 36 month introductory periods.[150] According to Peak Research, global sales of PEVs will surpass 1 million per year in 2017, after 7 years in the market and almost half the time it took hybrid electric vehicles to reach that sales threshold.[151]

Regional markets[edit]

During 2013 the top selling all-electric car markets at the state level in terms of their market share of new light-vehicle registrations were Washington (1.4%), California (1.28%) and Hawaii (1.21%), while the U.S. average was 0.32%. During the first half of 2014 the leading states were Georgia (1.6%), California (1.41%) and Washington (1.13%), and the national average remained at 0.32%.[152] In the 12 months between April 2013 and March 2014, the top selling pure electric car metropolitan markets in terms of market share were San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose (3.33%), Atlanta (2.15%), Seattle-Tacoma (1.83%), Honolulu (1.71%), and Monterey-Salinas (1.51%).[153]

The following table summarizes the ten states and metropolitan areas leading all-electric car adoption in terms of their market share of new light-vehicle registrations or sales.

Top ten selling all-electric vehicle (BEV)
states and metropolitan areas by market share of new car sales
Rank
2014(1)
State[152] Market share(2)
2014 CYTD(1)
Rank
2013
State[152] Market share(2)
2013
Rank Metro Area[153] Market share
2013-2014(3)
1 Georgia 1.60% 1 Washington 1.40% 1 San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose 3.33%
2 California 1.41% 2 California 1.28% 2 Atlanta 2.15%
3 Washington 1.13% 3 Hawaii 1.21% 3 Seattle-Tacoma 1.83%
4 Hawaii 1.04% 4 Georgia 0.94% 4 Honolulu 1.71%
5 Oregon 0.67% 5 Oregon 0.89% 5 Monterey-Salinas 1.51%
6 Utah 0.31% 6 Washington, D.C. 0.52% 6 San Diego 1.34 %
7 Colorado 0.27% 7 Colorado 0.33% 7 Santa Barbara-Santa Maria-San Luis Obispo 1.29%
8 Arizona 0.20% 8 Utah 0.31% 8 Portland 1.25%
9 Tennessee 0.19% 9 Tennessee 0.28% 9 Los Angeles 1.08%
10 Connecticut 0.19% 10 Illinois 0.25% 10 Eugene 0.86%
U.S. average 0.32%[152] 0.38%[154]
Notes: (1) CYTD: current year-to-date sales as of 30 June 2014 (2) New all-electric vehicle (BEV) registrations as % of total new registrations of light-vehicles only.
(3) Sales of new all-electric vehicles as % of total new light-vehicle sales between April 2013 and March 2014.

A total of 52% of American plug-in electric car registrations from January to May 2013 were concentrated in five metropolitan areas: San Francisco (19.5%), Los Angeles (15.4%), Seattle (8.0%), New York (4.6%) and Atlanta (4.4%).[155][156] From January to July 2013, the three cities with the highest all-electric car registrations were all located in California, Atherton and Los Altos in the Silicon Valley, followed by Santa Monica, located in Los Angeles County.[157][158]

California[edit]
Several plug-in converted hybrids charging at the public charging station in front of San Francisco City Hall.

California is the largest American car market and also the leading PEV market in the country with about 40% of all new plug-in electric vehicles sold nationwide during 2011 and 2012, while the state represents about 10% of all new car sales in the country.[159] As of August 2014, and with 102,440 units sold, California still accounted for about 40% of total plug-in electric car sales in the U.S.[3][160] As of August 2014, California not only has more plug-in electric vehicles than any other American state but also more than any other country.[4][5] According to Navigant Research, the Los Angeles metropolitan area is the world's largest PEV city market, with over 15,000 PEV sales expected in 2014, and Navigant forecasts its PEV stock will grow from over 36,000 in 2014 to over 250,000 by 2023.[161]

Goals

Governor Jerry Brown issued an executive order in March 2012 that established the goal of getting 1.5 million zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) in California by 2015.[25][26] In addition, in September 2014, Governor Brown signed into law bill SB 1275 that created the Charge Ahead California Initiative, and set the goal of placing at least 1 million zero-emission vehicles and near-zero-emission vehicles on the road in California by January 1, 2023. He expects the initiative will help the state to reach the initial goal set for 2025.[26][27] California's ZEV regulation was first adopted in 1990 as part of the Low Emission Vehicle Program, and it has been modified several times over the years. The ZEV program is under the responsibility of the California Air Resources Board (CARB).[162] The program goal is to reduce the pervasive air pollution affecting the main metropolitan areas in the state, particularly in Los Angeles, where prolonged pollution episodes are frequent.[113]

Sales

Annual registrations of plug-in electric vehicles in California increased from 6,984 units in 2011 to 20,898 in 2012, and reached 42,198 units in 2013.[163] During the first quarter of 2014, plug-in car sales represented 5% of new passenger vehicle sales in California.[164] The following table presents annual registrations and market share of new car sales for all-electric and plug-in hybrids sold in California since 2010.

Annual new plug-in electric vehicle registrations and market share in California
by type of plug-in (2010-August 2014)
Year California[160][165] United States[6][7][166][167] CA share
of U.S.
PEV
sales(3)
Ratio
CA/US
market
shares
All-electric BEV
market
share(1)
Plug-in hybrid PHEV
market
share(1)
Total
PEV
California
PEV
market
share(1)
Total
PEV
sales
PEV
market
share(2)
2010 300 0.0% 97 0.0% 397 0.0% 345 0.003% 100% -
2011 5,302 0.4% 1,682 0.1% 6,984 0.5% 17,821 0.14% 39.2% 3.57
2012 6,197 0.4% 14,701 1.0% 20,898 1.4% 53,392 0.37% 39.1% 3.78
2013 21,963 1.3% 20,235 1.2% 42,198 2.5% 96,602 0.62% 43.7% 4.03
2014(4) 15,251 1.4% 16,239 1.7% 31,490 3.1% 78,609 0.71% 40.1% 4.37
Total 49,013 n.a. 52,954 n.a. 101,967 n.a. 250,609[129] n.a. 40.7% n.a.
Notes: (1) Market share of total new car registrations in California. (2) U.S. market share of total nationwide sales.
(3) California's market share of total nationwide registrations. (4) CYTD registrations through August 2014.

California is the leading Volt market and accounted for almost 23% of Volt sales during the second quarter of 2012, followed by Michigan with 6.3% of national sales. The leading regional markets in California were San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego, all metropolitan areas notorious for their high congestion levels and where free access to high-occupancy lanes for solo drivers has been a strong incentive to boost Volt sales in the state.[168] As of November 2011 over 60% of the Leafs sold in the U.S. were bought in California.[169] San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose, Los Angeles, San Diego and Sacramento were among the top selling markets for Leaf sales during the first eight months of 2013. Nissan noted that in San Francisco the Leaf is among the ten top selling vehicles regardless of powertrain.[170]

Tesla Model S charging at a Supercharger station at Harris Ranch, California.

California is the largest American market for the Tesla Model S.[171] In March 2013, Tesla Motors reported the delivery of the 3,000th Model S in California, representing around 50% of total Model S sales in the U.S.[172][173] According to Edmunds.com, between January and August 2013 the Model S achieved a high market share of new car sales among the U.S. most expensive ZIP codes, as rated by Forbes. Among the top 25 wealthiest ZIP codes, the highest Model S market shares are all found in California, with Atherton ranking first in the U.S. with a 15.4% share, followed by Los Altos Hills with 11.9%, and Portola Valley with 11.2%. Edmunds' analysis also found that during this period the Model S was the most registered passenger car in 8 of the 25 most expensive American ZIP codes.[174]

The Model S, with 8,347 units sold, ended 2013 as the third best selling luxury car in California after the Mercedes-Benz E-Class and BMW 5 Series sedans,[175] and captured a 9.8% market share of the Californian luxury and sports segment.[163] During the first half of 2014, with 2,487 units registered, the Model S market share fell to 5.7% of the luxury and sports segment in California.[165] As of November 2013, with the Model S available nationwide, California continued to lead U.S. sales with a 48% share of national sales.[176]

Incentives
Several BMW i3s with California's HOV lane access stickers. The i3 with range-extender has the green sticker while the pure electric i3 displays the white sticker.

California has been a leader in the promotion of plug-in electric vehicles as the state has in place several financial and non-financial incentives. In addition to the existing federal tax credit, PEVs are eligible for a purchase rebate of up to US$2,500 through the Clean Vehicle Rebate Project (CVRP).[45] Also, battery electric vehicles and initially, the first 40,000 applicants that purchase or lease a plug-in hybrid meeting California’s Enhanced Advanced Technology Partial Zero Emission Vehicle (Enhanced AT PZEV), are entitled to a clean air sticker that allows the vehicle to be operated by a single occupant in California's carpool or high-occupancy vehicle lanes (HOV). The white access sticker is reserved for zero-emissions vehicles, while plug-in hybrids use the green sticker.[177] As of 9 May 2014, the 40,000 green stickers available had been issued.[178] The green sticker limit was increased to 55,000 units beginning July 1, 2014, through the budget trailer bill SB 853.[178][179] In September 2014, law AB 2013 raised the cap for the green stickers from 55,000 to 70,000 new plug-in hybrids.[26][27] As part of the package of bills signed into law by Governor Brown in September 2014, through SB 1275 the California Air Resources Board was mandated to draft a financial plan to meet California's goal of 1 million vehicles on the road while making sure that disadvantaged communities can participate. For this purpose CARB has to change the Clean Vehicle Rebate program to provide an extra credit for low-income residents who wish to purchase or lease an electric car. CARB also should provide assistance to carsharing programs in low-income neighborhoods and install charging stations in apartment buildings in those communities. Under SB 1275, low-income residents who agree to scrap older, polluting cars will also get a clean vehicle rebate on top of existing payments for junking smog-producing vehicles.[26][27]

Another bill signed into law in September 2014, AB1721, grants clean air vehicles free or reduced rates in high-occupancy toll (HOT) lanes. Drivers of clean vehicles already enjoyed discounted rates in some facilities, such the toll to cross the San Francisco Bay Area bridges and to use the State Route 91 Express Lanes in Orange and Riverside Counties.[26][180] AB 2565 facilitates access to charging stations by requiring commercial and residential property owners to approve installation if the charging station meets requirements and complies with the owner’s process for approving a modification to the property. The law makes a term in a lease of a commercial property, executed, renewed, or extended on or after 1 January 2015, void and unenforceable if it prohibits or unreasonably restricts the installation of an electric vehicle charging station in a parking space.[26][180]

Clean Vehicle Rebate Project

As of 10 March 2014, a total of 52,264 clean vehicle rebates have been issued, for a total of US$110,222,866 disbursed, with only US$3.8 million remaining for fiscal year 2013-2014. The distribution of the rebates issued correspond to 27,210 zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs), including both battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and fuel cell vehicles (FCVs); 24,657 plug-in hybrids (PHEVs); 49 commercial zero-emission vehicles (CZEVs); 210 zero-emission motorcycles (ZEMs); and 138 neighborhood electric vehicles (NEVs).[181] The Clean Vehicle Rebate Project notes their figures do not capture all plug-in electric vehicles sold in California because not every PEV owner applies for the rebate. Also, about 2,300 Chevrolet Volts were sold in California before the Volt became eligible for the rebate in February 2012, and therefore, these sales are not accounted in the CVRP database. In terms of market share, plug-in hybrids represented 47.2% of all clean vehicle rebates, while ZEVs, predominantly all-electric cars, represented 52.11% of all rebates issued since January 2011 through early March 2014. Accounting for sales of the 2,300 Volts, the distribution becomes 49.9% for ZEVs and 49.4% for PHEVs.[181]

The following table presents the geographical distribution of the rebates by county and by type of vehicle (ZEV or PHEV) for the top 15 counties, which together represent 93% of all rebates issued by early March 2014.[181] Based on the CVRP database, Southern California is the leading region in plug-in electric vehicle adoption, with over 28,500 rebates issued for PEVs, while the San Francisco Bay Area has benefited with more than 18,300 rebates. Southern California has captured 54.7% of all rebated issued. The top five counties in the state by early March 2014 are Los Angeles (14,420), Santa Clara (7,735), Orange (6,182), San Diego (4,659), and Alameda (3,870). In Southern California plug-in hybrids (15,201) are outselling all-electric cars (13,200), while in the Bay Area electric cars (10,992) are outselling plug-in hybrids (7,249).[181]

California Clean Vehicle Rebate Project (CVRP)
beneficiaries by county with over 500 rebates issued as of 10 March 2014[181]
County Total
rebates(1)
ZEVs
(BEV/FCV)
PHEVs(2) Rebate
funding
% State
Top counties Southern California
Los Angeles 14,420 6,277 8,015 $29,117,973 27.6%
Orange 6,182 2,537 3,622 $12,109,099 11.8%
San Diego 4,659 3,060 1,563 $10,827,189 8.9%
Riverside 1,308 501 804 $2,512,933 2.5%
Ventura 1,083 488 593 $2,214,494 2.1%
San Bernardino 943 337 604 $1,780,950 1.8%
Top counties SoCal 28,595 13,200 15,201 $58,562,638 54.7%
Top counties San Francisco Bay Area
Santa Clara 7,735 4,630 3,080 $16,957,252 14.8%
Alameda 3,870 2,291 1,552 $8,354,469 7.4%
San Mateo 2,123 1,419 657 $4,865,466 4.1%
Contra Costa 1,951 985 959 $4,027,554 3.7%
San Francisco 1,082 681 371 $2,557,025 2.1%
Marin 845 536 305 $1,907,300 1.6%
Sonoma 781 450 325 $1,695,800 1.5%
Top counties Bay Area 18,387 10,992 7,249 $40,364,866 35.2%
Other top counties
Sacramento 1,062 634 427 $2,272,609 2.0%
Santa Cruz 542 330 204 $1,193,900 1.0%
Total Top 15 counties 48,586 25,156 23,081 $102,394,013 93.0%
Total California(3) 52,264 27,210 24,657 $110,222,866 100%
Notes:
(1) Total includes ZEVs (both BEVs and FCVs), PHEVs, CZEVs, ZEMs and NEVs. (2) About 2,300 Chevrolet Volts sold in
California before the car became eligible for the rebate in February 2012 are not included. (3) Not all plug-in electric vehicles
sold in California are captured in the CVRP database as not every PEV owner applies for the rebate.
Georgia[edit]

Georgia ranked second in the U.S. after California in terms of total plug-in electric vehicles on the road by mid 2014 .[182] During the first half of 2014 Georgia ranked as the top selling all-electric car market in the U.S. at the state level with a 1.6% share of new light-vehicle registrations, ahead of California (1.41%), and up from 0.94% during 2013.[152] As of August 2014, there were about 12,000 electric vehicles registered in the state, of which, about 80% are registered in metro Atlanta’s five core counties.[183] In the 12 months between April 2013 and March 2014, metro Atlanta was the second top selling all-electric car metropolitan market in the U.S., with a market share of 2.15% of total new light-vehicle sales in the state, 5.6 times the national average share of 0.38%.[154] Savannah ranks second in the state after Atlanta, with a market share of 0.13% of total new light-vehicle sales.[153]

Between August 2013 and May 2014, Atlanta was the top U.S. metropolitan market for the Nissan Leaf for eight out of the 10 months,[154] and until July 2013, Atlanta was the third largest Leaf market behind San Francisco and Los Angeles.[184] Leaf sales are favored by Georgia's law, which caps sales of electric vehicles sold direct by a manufacturer to 150, setting a restrictive limit to Tesla Model S sales, and the law excludes plug-in hybrids for eligibility to the state's tax credit.[154]

Tax credits

The State of Georgia considers alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs) those that run solely on alternative fuel and do not run on regular gasoline. AFVs includes vehicles that operate using battery electricity, propane, natural gas, and hydrogen fuel cell.[185] As incentives to accelerate all-electric vehicle adoption, in addition to the existing US$7,500 federal tax credit, Georgia offers an income tax credit of 20% of the vehicle cost up to US$5,000 for the purchase or leasing of a zero emission vehicle (ZEV). Plug-in hybrids are not eligible for this incentive because sometimes they are powered by electricity from their on-board combustion engine. There is also a 10% tax credit up to US$2,500 for the purchase and installation of qualified electric vehicle charger. This tax credit applies only to non-retail business enterprises and chargers installed at homes do not qualify.[186]

Tesla Roadster with Georgia's Alternative Fuel Vehicle (AFV) license plate, which allows access to high occupancy vehicle lanes (HOV) regardless of number of passengers.

An income tax credit for the purchase of a new commercial medium-duty or heavy-duty AFVs will go into effect on July 1, 2015. Medium-duty hybrid electric vehicles also qualify. Eligible medium-duty AFVs with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) between 8,500 to 26,001 lb (3,856 to 11,794 kg) qualify for a credit of up to US$12,000, while heavy-duty AFVs with a GVWR over 26,001 lb (11,794 kg) qualify for a credit of up to US$20,000. The credit is capped at US$250,000 per taxpayer. Qualified AFVs must be purchased before June 30, 2017, remain registered in Georgia for at least five years, and accumulate at least 75% of their annual mileage in Georgia. Up to US$2.5 million in total credits will be available each fiscal year.[187]

Access to HOV lanes

The definition of alternate fuel vehicle for the purposes of an AFV License Plate in Georgia is different from the one for tax credit purposes. The Official Code of Georgia Annotated defines an AFV as a vehicle that has been certified by the EPA in accordance with the Federal Clean Air Act, therefore, both all-electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids are eligible for Georgia's AFV license plate.[188] All vehicles displaying a GA alternative fuel license plate are allow to use high occupancy vehicle lanes (HOV) regardless of number of passengers. Alternative fuel vehicles displaying the proper alternative fuel license plat may obtain a Peach Pass electronic tag that grants them toll-free access to all Peach Pass controlled high occupancy toll lane (HOT) lanes.[189]

Time-of-use electricity rates

Georgia Power, the primary utility in Atlanta, offers a time-of-use electric vehicle plan designed for plug-in charging. As of September 2014, the plan has about 1,500 customers statewide.[190] For a monthly fee of US$10, the utility lowers the overnight rate to 1.3 cents per Kilowatt hour (kWh) while raising the peak rate, from 2-7 p.m. from June through September, to 20.3 cents per kWh. There is also a shoulder rate of 6.2 cents per Kwh in between those times.[190] The average U.S. rate is 11.88 cents per kWh.[154]

Charging infrastructure

As of April 2014, Georgia had 238 charging stations with 548 public outlets available across the state.[20] Of these, about 120 public charging stations are located in metro Atlanta, with only about half of these located inside the city limits of Atlanta. Considering the rapid growth of electric cars in the city, there is a shortage of charging infrastructure relative to supply of electric vehicles.[183]

The city of Atlanta is considering legislation to attend the needs of electric car owners and others who want to provide electric vehicle charging at their business, multifamily dwelling or private home. The measure aims to remove a major barrier to owning an electric vehicle by encouraging office and residential landlords to install electric vehicle chargers and reserved parking. Under the proposal, each electric vehicle charging station would be counted as one parking space, and the minimum parking requirement for developers and builders would be reduced by one space for each charging station provided, allowing up to a 10 percent reduction in minimum parking requirements. The city also wants to simplify the process required to obtain a permit to install electric vehicle chargers and make the spaces more identifiable.[183]

A public electric car charging station in Kaka'ako, Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii.
Hawaii[edit]

Hawaii has a high potential for mass adoption of plug-in electric vehicles due to the limited driving range imposed by the island geographies, and its high fuel costs, with gasoline prices, as of September 2013, ranging between US$4.25 and US$5.00 a gallon.[191][192] The number of registered plug-in electric vehicles increased from 581 units in 2011, to 967 in 2012,[193] and reached 1,551 units in June 2013.[194] As of August 2014, a total of 2,821 plug-in highway legal plug-in electric cars have been registered in Hawaii.[195]

In terms of EV adoption, Hawaii ranked in 2013 as the state with the third highest all-electric car market share with 1.21% of new car sales, and during the first half of 2014 ranked fourth with a 1.04% market share.[152] Accounting for sales of pure electric cars between April 2013 and March 2014, the Honolulu metropolitan area ranks as the fourth top selling BEV metro market in the United States, with 1.71% of new car sales.[153]

In January 2011 the state implemented a purchase rebate of up to US$5,000 available for both the purchase of a plug-in electric car purchase and a charging station, but limited to US$4,500 for the vehicle.[196] The rebate ended in May 2012 as high consumer demand depleted the fund. More than 450 rebates were issued totaling about US$2 million. Several efforts to add more funds were unsuccessful.[197]

New York[edit]

The stock of plug-in electric vehicles in New York climbed from 1,000 units in early 2012, to over 10,000 plug-in vehicles by mid-September 2,014. The state of New York set the goal to deploy up to 3,000 EV charging stations in public and workplace locations across the state by 2018. As of September 2014, there are about 1,000 charging stations.[198]

Plug-in electric vehicles and hybrid electric vehicles with a combined fuel economy rating of at least 45 mpg-US (5.2 L/100 km; 54 mpg-imp) and that also meet the California Air Resources Board SULEV emissions standard, are eligible for the Clean Pass Program. Eligible vehicles which display the Clean Pass vehicle sticker are allowed to use the Long Island Expressway HOV lanes, regardless of the number of occupants.[199] Drivers of qualified vehicles may also receive a 10% discount on established E-ZPass accounts with proof of registration.[200] In New York state there are no purchase incentives.

Oregon[edit]

As of November 2013, there were about 3,500 plug-in electric vehicles registered in Oregon.[201] In 2013 the state was the fifth top selling all-electric car market in the U.S. at the state level with a 0.89% market share of new light-vehicle registrations, more than twice the national average share of 0.32%. During the first half of 2014 Oregon BEV share fell to 0.67% but continued to rank in the fifth place among the top selling states.[152]

In the 12 months between April 2013 and March 2014, two metropolitan areas in Oregon ranked among the top ten selling all-electric car metropolitan markets in the U.S. Portland ranked eighth with a 1.25% market share of total new light-vehicle sales, ahead of Los Angeles metropolitan area, and Eugene ranked in number 10 with a market share of 0.86%. The national average share during this period was 0.38%.[153]

Electric Avenue charging stations at Portland State University.
Incentives

A US$1,500 tax credit for the purchase of a new all-electric vehicle is no longer available.[201][202] There is a tax credit up to US$750 to cover 25% of the cost of purchasing and installing an electric vehicle charger station, and 35% for business owners. Beginning January 1, 2015, business owners that purchase two or more all-electric vehicles may be eligible for a tax credit of 35% of eligible costs for the incremental cost of purchasing the vehicles. This incentive ends on December 31, 2018.[189]

Electric Avenue

Electric Avenue is a joint research and development initiative of Portland State University (PSU), Portland General Electric (PGE), and the City of Portland. The Electric Avenue was launched in August 2011 to learn about the interaction and performance of charging stations and a variety of electric vehicles. The initiative also aimed to understand the charging preferences and travel patterns of electric vehicle visitors. The charging infrastructure includes quick chargers and both Level 1 and Level 2 charging stations powered by 100% renewable energy from PGE, and offers charging at standard city parking rates. The site comprises eight on street parking spaces with seven available charging stations located along an entire block. The Electric Avenue is located in the south end of downtown Portland, at the PSU’s campus adjacent to Portland’s Sixth Avenue Transit Mall where light rail trains, electric street cars, buses, cars, bikes, and pedestrians share a well-integrated personal and public transit corridor.[203]

Texas[edit]

Texas is the second largest light-duty vehicle market in the U.S. after California, with over 20 million passenger and light truck vehicles registered at the end of 2013.[204] As of May 2014, there were about 5,000 plug-in electric vehicles registered in the state.[205] Accounting for sales of new all-electric vehicles between April 2013 and March 2014, the top three selling metropolitan markets in Texas in terms of market share of total new light-vehicle sales were the Austin metropolitan area with 0.47%, followed by Dallas-Ft. Worth with 0.21% and Houston area with 0.15%.[153] The national average share for the period was 0.38%, with Austin ranking in 15th place, and together with metro Atlanta, the only two cities in the top 15 that are not located on the West Coast.[154]

In November 2013 the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality approved a rebate program to provide financial incentives up to US$2,500 for the purchase or lease of new eligible vehicles powered by compressed natural gas (CNG), liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), or plug-in electric drive with battery capacity larger than 4 kWh.[205] The rebate amount for leasing depends on the lease term, only 4-year lease terms are eligible for the full US$2,500, just like new car purchases.[206] Total funding for the program is US$7.7 million, and the maximum number of vehicles allowed is 2,000 units for each plug-in electric drive and natural gas/propane vehicles for the length of the program.[205][206] Only purchases made on or after May 13, 2014 are eligible to apply for a rebate, and the program ends June 26, 2015 or until funding ends. As of 22 September 2014, there were US$6,7 million remaining in the rebate fund.[207]

Nissan Leaf charging in Houston, Texas.

Among plug-in cars sold nationwide, the Tesla Model S is not eligible for the rebate because only new PEVs purchased or leased from a dealer or leasing company licensed to operate in Texas may qualify. Tesla Motors is not authorized to sell its vehicles in the state due to its direct-sales business model.[205][208][209]

Texas River Cities Plug-In Electric Vehicle Initiative

Despite the low penetration of plug-in electric vehicles in the state, the Texas River Cities Plug-In Electric Vehicle Initiative (TRC) is one of the most comprehensive plans for electric vehicles and their infrastructure aimed to increase the long-term success of PEV adoption. The TRC initiative encompasses two major metropolitan areas in and around Austin and San Antonio.[210] Austin Energy, one of the project partners, had deployed 239 utility-operated publicly accessible charging stations in the TRC region by 2012. The utility company is the recipient of the U.S. Department of Energy funding for this initiative. The TRC region is projected to have 4,259 PEVs in 2015 and 17,336 in 2020.[211]

Pecan Street demonstration project

This demonstration project is run by the Pecan Street Inc., a University of Texas based research consortium of research and industry partners focused on developing and testing advanced technology, business model, and customer behavior surrounding energy management systems. The project is supported by a US$10.4 million smart grid demonstration grant from the U.S. Department of Energy and more than US$14 million in matching funds from the project partners. The demonstration project began in 2010 and is taken place with volunteer residents at the Mueller neighborhood, a planned green community in Austin. The Pecan Street hosts an electric vehicle research program and provides incentives to participants with rebates of US$3,000 and US$7,500 to lease or purchase a PEV that is in addition to the federal tax credits. Through the research program, Pecan Street is studying grid load and monitoring home energy use through management equipment. As a result of the incentive program, Mueller has more plug-in electric vehicles per capita than any other U.S. neighborhood.[212][213][214]

General Motors is a sponsor of the Pecan Street demonstration and is supporting the project to learn the charging patterns of plug-in electric car owners, and to study how a residential fleet of electric vehicles might strain the electric grid if all owners try to charge them at the same, which is what the preliminary monitoring found when the plug-in cars return home in the evening. As of June 2013, the community had nearly 60 Chevrolet Volt owners alone thanks to GM's commitment to match the federal government's US$7,500 rebate incentive, which halves the purchase price of the Volt.[215]

Washington[edit]

As of 31 July 2014, there were 9,745 electric vehicles registered in Washington, consisting of 6,798 are all-electric vehicles and 2,947 plug-in hybrids.[216] Washington was the top selling all-electric car market in the U.S. at the state level in 2013 with a 1.40% market share of new light-vehicle registrations, ahead of California (1.28%). Washington PEV share in 2013 was more than four times the national average share of 0.32%.[152] Washington fell to third place with a market share of 1.13%, behind Georgia (1.6%), California (1.41%).[152]

The City of Seattle operates the Nissan Leaf are part of its fleet.

As of July 2014, the Seattle metropolitan area concentrated 74.2% of the state PEV registrations, with 5,420 plug-ins in King County (55.6%), where the city of Seattle is located, 1,011 in Snohomish County (10.4%), and 804 in Pierce County (8.3%). Otuside the metro area, Clark County has the largest number of PEV registrations with 516 units (5.3%).[216] In the 12 months between April 2013 and March 2014, Seattle-Tacoma metro ranked as the third top selling all-electric car metropolitan market with a 1.83% market share of total new light-vehicle sales, only behind San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose (3.33%) and Atlanta (2.15%).[153]

Incentives

New passenger cars, light-duty trucks, and medium-duty passenger vehicles that operate exclusively on electricity, hydrogen, natural gas, or propane are exempt from state motor vehicle sales and use taxes. Qualified vehicles must also meet the California motor vehicle emissions standards, and comply with the rules of the Washington Department of Ecology. The sales tax exemption expires July 1, 2015.[217]

Puget Sound Energy (PSE) provides a $500 rebate to the first 5,000 qualified customers for the purchase and installation of Level 2 electric vehicle charging station (EVSE). Eligible applicants must be PSE residential electric schedule 7 customers, must be the registered owner of an electric vehicle, and must install the charging station within a specified timeframe. PSE expects the rebate program to remain available until November 1, 2016, depending on available funds.[218][219]

Sales by model[edit]

As of November 2014, there are 22 highway-capable plug-in cars available in the American market for retail sales from 12 car manufacturers: BMW, Daimler AG, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Ford Motor Company, General Motors, Honda, Kia Motors, Mitsubishi Motors, Nissan, Tesla Motors, Toyota, and Volkswagen.[8][9][10] As of November 2014, only the Chevrolet Volt, Nissan Leaf, Tesla Model S, BMW i3, Mitsubishi i, Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid, Cadillac ELR, and Ford’s C-Max and Fusion Energi plug-in hybrids are available nationwide. Several models, such as the Toyota RAV4, Fiat 500e, Honda Fit EV, and Chevrolet Spark EV, are compliance cars sold in limited markets, mainly California, available in order to raise an automaker’s fleet average fuel economy to satisfy regulator requirements.[220][221][222][223]

The following table presents key features and cumulative sales of highway-capable plug-in electric cars launched in the American market since 2008 through October 2014.

Key features and sales of series-production plug-in electric cars
available for retail sales or leasing in the United States (as of October 2014 )
Model Type
of PEV
All-electric
range
Market
launch
Production/Sales
2011 Chevrolet Volt NRMA cropped.jpg
Chevrolet Volt
Plug-in hybrid 35 mi (56 km) December 2010 70,531 units sold through October 2014.[1]
The Volt is the top selling plug-in electric car in the United States.[224]
Nissan Leaf on Cross Island Parkway cropped.jpg
Nissan Leaf
Electric car 73 mi (117 km) December 2010 66,533 Leafs sold through October 2014.[1]
The Leaf is the top selling all-electric car in the United States.
Messe i-Mobility 2012-by-RaBoe-111.jpg
Smart ED
Electric car 63 mi (101 km) January 2011 3,380 units registered through October 2014
(includes 2nd and 3rd gen models).[6][11][10][225]
Deliveries of the third generation model began in May 2013.[226]
Mitsubishi i-MiEV -- 07-11-2012.JPG
Mitsubishi i
Electric car 62 miles (100 km) December 2011 1,863 units sold through October 2014.[227]
2012 Ford Focus Electric 2011 LA Auto Show.jpg
Ford Focus Electric
Electric car 76 mi (122 km)[228] December 2011 4,151 units sold through October 2014.[6][10][11][229]
Deliveries to retail customers began in May 2012.
Availability is limited to New York, New Jersey and California.[230][231]
Prius Plug-in Hybrid-11-09-04-iaa-by-RalfR-108.jpg
Toyota Prius PHV
Plug-in hybrid 11 mi (18 km)[232] February 2012 37,159 units sold through October 2014.[11][12][13]
Available only in 15 states.[233]
Gibraltar G1 Tesla Motors Model S.jpg
Tesla Model S
Electric car 265 mi (426 km)
(85 kW·h battery)

208 mi (335 km)
(60 kW·h battery)
June 2012 About 33,155 units sold through October 2014.[14][15][16][11][13]
Honda Fit EV blue, Cars and Croissants.jpg
Honda Fit EV
Electric car 82 mi (132 km) July 2012 1,030 units delivered through October 2014.[6][11]
Production is limited to 1,100 units over the first three years.
Initial availability is limited to California and Oregon.[13][234]

In July 2014 Honda announced the end of production of the Fit EV
for the 2015 model, together with the Honda Insight hybrid and the
Honda FCX Clarity hydrogen fuel-cell car.[235]

Toyota RAV4 EV with badge WAS 2012 0791 copy.jpg
RAV4 EV
second generation
Electric SUV 103 mi (166 km) September 2012 2,352 units sold through October 2014.[6][11][13]
Available only in California.[236]
Production is limited to 2,600 units. The battery supply deal
between Toyota and Tesla is set to conclude by the end of 2014.[237]
Ford C-Max Energi with badge WAS 2012 0597 copy.jpg
Ford C-Max Energi
Plug-in hybrid 20 mi (32 km) October 2012 16,658 units sold through October 2014.[6][10][130]
2014 Honda Accord Plug-In Hybrid Sedan trimmed.jpg
Honda Accord PHEV
Plug-in hybrid 13 mi (21 km) January 2013 869 units sold through October 2014.[11][13]
Ford Fusion Energi SEL with badge WAS 2012 0583.jpg
Ford Fusion Energi
Plug-in hybrid 20 mi (32 km) February 2013 16,098 units sold through October 2014.[10][130]
2013-03-05 Geneva Motor Show 7861.JPG
Chevrolet Spark EV
Electric car 82 mi (132 km) June 2013 1,492 units sold through October 2014.[11][13]
Initial availability limited to California and Oregon.
2013-03-05 Geneva Motor Show 8283 Fiat 500e.jpg
Fiat 500e
Electric car 87 mi (140 km) July 2013 About 1,933 units sold through October 2014.[10][11]
IAA 2013 Porsche Panamera S e-hybrid (9834184944).jpg
Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid
Plug-in hybrid 16 mi (26 km) October 2013 877 units sold through October 2014.[10][11]
2014 Cadillac ELR trimmed.jpg
Cadillac ELR
Plug-in hybrid 35 mi (56 km) December 2013 1,043 units sold though October 2014.[11][10]
BMW-i3-Front.JPG
BMW i3
Electric/REx 81 mi (130 km) May 2014 4,263 units sold through October 2014.[10]
Porsche 918 Spyder at 2014 NY Auto Show.jpg
Porsche 918 Spyder
Plug-in hybrid 12 mi (19 km) June 2014 37 units sold through October 2014.[238]
2013-03-05 Geneva Motor Show 8094.JPG
Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive
Electric 87 mi (140 km) July 2014 255 units were sold through October 2014.[10]
BMW i8 in Berlin trimmed.jpg
BMW i8
Plug-in hybrid 15 mi (24 km) August
2014
271 units delivered through October 2014.[10]
Kia Soul EV SAO 2014 0318.JPG
Kia Soul EV
Electric car 93 mi (150 km) October
2014
109 units delivered in October 2014.[239]
VW e-Golf (VII) – Frontansicht, 19. Juni 2014, Düsseldorf.jpg
Volkswagen e-Golf
Electric car 83 mi (134 km) October
2014
Junt 1 unit delivered during its first month in the U.S. market.[10]
Out-of-production plug-in electric cars
that were available for retail sales or leasing in the United States since 2008
Tesla Roadster--DC.jpg
Tesla Roadster
Electric car 245 mi (394 km) March 2008 About 1,800 units through December 2011.[240][241][242]
Production ended in January 2012.[243]
MINI E WAS 2010 9053.JPG
Mini E
Electric car 100 mi (160 km) June 2009 500 units leased for field testing that ended in December 2011.[244][245]
Think City EDTA DC 04 2011 1814.jpg
Th!nk City
Electric car 100 mi (160 km) Late 2010 About 100 units sold mostly in Indiana through March 2011[246]
After Think Global filed for bankruptcy in June 2011,[247]
the remaining 150 cars in stock in the U.S. were put on sale
at a discounted price.[248]
Wheego Whip all electric WAS 2010 9052.JPG
Wheego Whip LiFe
Electric car 100 mi (160 km) April 2011[249] 34 units sold by March 2012.[250]
Fisker at speed in the fog trimmed.jpg
Fisker Karma
Plug-in hybrid 32 mi (51 km) November 2011 1,635 units were sold through December 2013.[11][251][252]
Production was suspended in November 2012.[253]
Fisker Automotive filed for bankruptcy in November 2013.[254]
BMW ActiveE DriveNow Matthew (2013-07-15 20.41.18).jpg
BMW ActiveE
Electric car 94 mi (151 km)[255] January 2012 673 units were leased in the U.S. through December 2012.[134]
Limited production available only for leasing as part of
a demonstration program.[244][256]
CODA sedan WAS 2012 0835.JPG
Coda
Electric car 88 mi (142 km) March 2012 117 units were delivered in California through April 2013.[257]
By September 2013, a total of 50 cars left in stock and 100 gliders
were available for sale at a discounted price in the U.S. and abroad.[258]

Future trends[edit]

According to a 2011 study by Pike Research, annual sales of plug-in electric vehicles in the U.S. were predicted to reach 360,000 vehicles by 2017. The study projected that the highest sales between 2011 and 2017 would take place in California, New York and Florida.[259] In 2012, and as sales have fallen short of projections, Pike Research projected that annual sales of plug-in electric vehicles in the U.S. will reach 400,073 units in 2020, with California as the state with the highest PEV sales over the remainder of this decade, with nearly 25% of all PEVs sold in the United States between 2012 and 2020. In terms of market share, California will be followed by New York, Florida, Texas, and Washington, but Hawaii is expected by 2020 to have the highest penetration rate of PEVs as a percentage of all light duty vehicle sales. California is predicted to have four of the top ten metropolitan areas for PEV sales: Los Angeles–Long Beach, San Francisco Bay Area, Silicon Valley, and Greater Sacramento. Pike Research forecasts that cumulative sales of PEVs in the largest 102 American cities will reach more than 1.8 million from 2012 through 2020, with a share of more than 25% of all annual sales concentrated in the top five metropolitan areas for PEV sales: New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, and Portland.[260][261][262]

In a separate analysis published in September 2013, Navigant Research forecasts that PEVs will represent a 2.4% market share of total new vehicle sales in the United States in 2022. Navigant also predicted that Hawaii will have the highest concentration of plug-in electric vehicle sales in the U.S., with 10.1% of total Hawaiian new light-duty vehicle sales in 2022; followed by Northern California with 9.7%, California as a whole will be 6.0%, and Oregon with 5.8%.[263] Hawaii has a high potential for mass adoption of plug-in electric vehicles due to the limited driving range imposed by the islands size and its high fuel costs.[191][192] In an updated report published in April 2014 Navigant forecasts that the United States will remain the largest national market for light-duty plug-in electric vehicles during the next 10 years, with the PEV segment growing at a compound annual growth rate of 16.3% between 2014 and 2023, predicting that annual PEV sales in the U.S. will exceed 514,000 in 2023.[264]

According to forecasts made by Pike Research in January 2013, the United States will continue to be the largest market for PEVs in 2020, but the European market is anticipated to have a higher market penetration (4.0% market share) due to its higher gasoline prices and supportive government policies, while Japan is expected to become the largest market for hybrid electric vehicles.[144][265] A similar trend is predicted by Navigant Research in a geographical forecast published in April 2014. Navigant predicts that by 2023 the fleet of light duty plug-in electric vehicles in use in Oslo is expected to represent 10.7% of the city's total registered light-duty fleet, 7.7% in Amsterdam, and 2.5% in Paris. Navigant also predicts that by 2020 annual PEV sales in the Greater Tokyo Area will surpass Los Angeles, currently the city with the largest PEV market. The PEV fleet in Tokyo is expected to reach a market penetration of 2.3% of the city's light-duty stock in 2023, and become the world's largest PEV city market with a PEV stock of around 260,000 in 2023, while Los Angeles is expected to have a stock of over 250,000 PEVs.[161]

Neighborhood electric vehicles[edit]

The chart and table are based on Department of Energy tables.[266] (Table V1 and the Historical Data.) Figures for electric vehicles do not include privately owned vehicles, but do include Low-Speed Vehicles (LSVs), defined as "four-wheeled motor vehicles whose top speed is ...20 to 25 mph (32 to 40 km/h) ... to be used in residential areas, planned communities, industrial sites, and other areas with low density traffic, and low-speed zones."[267] LSVs, more commonly known as neighborhood electric vehicles (NEVs), were defined in 1998 by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 500, which required safety features such as windshields and seat belts, but not doors or side walls.[268][269][270]

The GEM is one of the best selling low-speed neighborhood electric vehicle in the U.S.
Electric Cars
in the United States
Year Number
1992 1,607
1993 1,690
1994 2,224
1995 2,860
1996 3,280
1997 4,453
1998 5,243
1999 6,964
2000 11,830
2001 17,847
2002 33,047
2003 47,485
2004 49,536
2005 51,398
2006 53,526
2007 55,730
2008 56,901
2009 57,185
Average annual growth 26.0%

Since 1998 Global Electric Motorcars (GEM), the market leader in North America, has sold more than 50,000 GEM battery-electric vehicles worldwide as of mid 2014.[271]

Modern production timeline[edit]

The General Motors EV1 was one of the first PEVs introduced in 1996 as a result of CARB's zero-emissions vehicle mandate.
Navistar eStar all-electric van
Smith Newton delivery truck

This is a list of all highway-capable plug-in electric vehicles available for retail customers in the U.S. for sale or leasing since the early 1990s.

1990-2003[edit]

2008-2014[edit]

2008
2009
  • Mini E (demonstration program ended in 2011)
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014

Future cars[edit]

Market launch scheduled between 2014 and 2016

U.S. electric vehicle organizations[edit]

  • CalCars (The California Cars Initiative)

Drive Oregon

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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