With a market share of around 6%, progress toward mass adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) in the US has proceeded at a much slower rate than many other countries, especially those in northern Europe. Norway, where EVs represented 2.9% of new vehicle sales just a decade ago and now represent close to 80%, has become a model for the rest of the world. Thanks to generous national incentives, EVs have achieved price parity with heavily taxed gasoline and diesel vehicles, and today Norway leads the globe in adoption rates.
What’s become clear is that adoption in the US will vary widely on a state level, as the federal government hasn’t yet provided the same support that countries like Norway have. To that end, VDX.tv built a model to predict which US states will continue to lead the way in terms of EV adoption, and which ones will lag for years to come. To inform the model, state-level variables were included, such as current EV share, household income, state-level tax incentives, fuel prices, charging infrastructure, and solar installations per capita. Several research studies, including one from EVAdoption.com, allude to these variables as correlated to EV adoption on a state level, hence their inclusion.
Notably, some of these variables are volatile, such as fuel prices and state-level incentives, while others are growing at a steady rate, such as charging infrastructure. The below predictions for the top and bottom five US states in terms of EV adoption over the foreseeable future assume the level of federal involvement and these variables stay roughly the same over the next few years .
#5: Maryland. Maryland benefits from a highly educated and affluent population, ranking first in terms of household income and in our top ten for incentives and charging infrastructure. The “Old Line State” also offers a rebate of 40% of the cost of EV charging equipment and installation.
#4: New York. On the strength of its public charging infrastructure, ranked second to only California in terms of total charging stations, the Empire State cracks the top four for future EV adoption. The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) provides rebates of up to US$2,000 for the purchase or lease of a new eligible EV, and New York also ranks highly in terms of household income (14th), fuel prices (10th), and solar installations (9th), rounding out its credentials as a top state for future EV adoption.
#3: Illinois. The Prairie State announced a US$4,000 rebate for any new or used all-electric (no hybrids) vehicle purchased (no leasing) from a state-licensed dealer back in July of 2022, and the rebate is expected to last a decade pending further funding. The state also ranks ninth in terms of fuel price, seventh for solar installs, 12th for charging infrastructure, and 17th for income, adding up to a top three ranking in the VDX.tv future adoption forecast.
#2: Colorado. The Centennial State ranked first on the list for state level incentives, which begin at US$2,000 for the purchase and US$1,500 for the lease of a light-duty EV and can reach up to US$8,000 for purchases of heavy-duty electric trucks. Colorado also boasts a robust charging infrastructure (ranked seventh), as well as strong rankings for income (11th) and solar installations (12th), cementing its status as a state primed for rapid EV growth in the coming years.
#1: California. The Golden State consistently has the highest fuel prices in the country, has by far the most robust public infrastructure, and is ranked second on our list for both state-level incentives (US$2,000 for EV’s, US$1,000 for PHEV’s up to a certain income threshold), and for solar installations. While it ranks eighth in terms of household income, many of its highest areas of adoption such as San Jose, San Francisco and Los Angeles boast some of the highest average incomes in the country.
Rounding out the top ten were Massachusetts (ranked sixth), followed in order by Washington, Hawaii, Utah, and Oregon at number ten. It’s likely no coincidence that seven out of those ten states are part of the ZEV programme, which promises to phase out the sales of non-EV vehicles by 2035.
The bottom five states of Mississippi, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Kentucky (ranked 50-46, respectively) will likely require significant levels of federal support before they see EV adoption rates approaching that of the US median of 6%, as each of them are driving less than 0.50% EV market share at the end of 2022.
While the US may not witness EV adoption rates rivalling that of Norway anytime in the foreseeable future, there are positive signs from several US states that can serve as a model right here at home. The only remaining question is whether the federal government will provide the boost those states lagging far behind desperately need in order to catch up.
About the author: Jim Johnson is Lead of Industry Solutions, Automotive, at VDX.tv