In Top Counties, EV Market Penetration Exceeds 30%

Some areas of the United States amaze when in comes to the adoption rate of plug-in electric cars, far exceeding the average level.

According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) data from December 2022 – highlighted by the Department of Energy (DOE)’s Vehicle Technologies Office – in four counties, light-duty all-electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicle market penetration exceeds 30 percent.

All four happen to be in California. The top one is Santa Clara County with a 35 share of rechargeable cars registered among 2022 model year vehicles. The next one is Marin County with 34 percent, followed by Alameda and San Mateo Counties at 32 percent each.

Outside of California, there were a few places where the share exceeded 20 percent. For example, 22 percent was noted in Boulder County, Colorado, and in San Juan County, Washington. That’s a pretty significant market share. It’s far above the average, which is several percent.

Overall, as of the end of 2022, there were only about 100 counties where EV market penetration was 10 percent or higher.

Because we know that the market is growing pretty fast – all-electric cars alone were up by 67 percent year-over-year in the first seven months of the year to over 650,000 registrations – those numbers should gradually increase.

However, when it comes to geographical distribution, there is probably nothing we can do. Electrification is expected to happen much faster in some areas – usually the wealthiest states, with good charging infrastructure and some incentives – than in others.

There is a similar situation in Europe, where the market share is much higher in some countries (Norway is at 90 percent or so) than the average, and at the bottom of the list, some countries are struggling to even get to about a 9 percent share.

It will be interesting to see whether the electrification of pickup trucks will help to spread the high market share across the country later this decade.

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