Electric vehicle market accelerating in U.S. cities

A new report shows that city action is revving the engine of the early electric vehicle market. The report – born from a collaboration between C40, the International Council on Clean Transportation, the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, and the 11th Hour Project –catalogues actions cities, states and regions are taking to promote electric vehicle in an effort to better understand which practices are linked to electric vehicle sales.

Broadly, the study finds that city action is key to boosting electric vehicle sales in a particular location. In fact, in the 25 metro areas studied, where action was taken to promote electric vehicles, EV sales as a share of all new vehicles were more than 40% higher than in the US overall. Two-thirds of all new electric vehicles in the US in 2014 were sold in just these 25 metropolitan areas.

These metropolitan areas take a number of approaches to electric vehicle promotion, including:

  • San Francisco, with a variety local, state, and utility promotion actions, has seen an electric vehicle share of new vehicle sales that is seven times the US average. This provides one template for a comprehensive portfolio of electric vehicle promotion activities to help accelerate the market.
  • Portland has among the more extensive public charging infrastructure networks and strong consumer outreach activities – and has seen battery electric vehicle uptake of three times the US average without state subsidies. This helps show the importance of many of the non-financial promotion and awareness actions that local and state governments can take.
  • Many other cities, like Boston, Washington, and Houston have more recently implemented systems of state, city, and other incentives and promotion, which are helpful for understanding what other actions can be taken.

And it’s not just US cities that are taking action to push electric vehicle sales – cities around the world are recognizing low- and zero-emissions vehicles as a way to cut carbon emissions. Oslo, for instance, claims to be the electric vehicle capital of the world. Another great example is the West Coast Electric Fleets initiative, which consists of more than twenty cities, agencies, and utilities committing to increase their electric vehicle procurement. At the same time, London and other cities are demonstrating that electric buses are on the rise as well.

C40 will continue to engage its Low Emission Vehicles network with webinars and targeted meetings to discuss the emerging best practices among the cities to support the market for electric vehicles. In the process we’ll continue to learn from what’s working and how to build from all the early success.

To view the whole report, click here.

For more on the Low Emission Vehicles network, click here.