Published on August 19th, 2013 | by Nicholas Brown


Over 50% Of Electric Cars Sold In US Are In 5 Cities

August 19th, 2013 by  

You have probably heard of certain cities which have particularly high electric car ownership rates, often due to their generous incentives. Can you name which five cities have over 50% of the electric cars sold in the US?

los angeles

Image Credit: Los Angeles via Shutterstock

Here’s the list:

  1. Los Angeles, California
  2. San Francisco, California
  3. New York City
  4. Seattle, Washington
  5. Atlanta, Georgia

Georgia offers a tax credit for electric vehicles that is equal to 20% of the vehicle’s cost, up to a maximum amount of $5,000. California has many charging stations, which might have contributed to its presence in the list above, but it also offers a $2,500 incentive for electric vehicles. (The charging stations may just be in place due to the high electric car ownership in the state… it’s that whole chicken & egg question again.)

New York City has its own EV policies that surely helped stimulate EV adoption a bit, but the fact that it is the largest city in the US (by far) is also surely a factor.

Image Credits: San FranciscoLos Angeles via Shutterstock

Check out our new 93-page EV report, based on over 2,000 surveys collected from EV drivers in 49 of 50 US states, 26 European countries, and 9 Canadian provinces.

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About the Author

writes on CleanTechnica, Gas2, Kleef&Co, and Green Building Elements. He has a keen interest in physics-intensive topics such as electricity generation, refrigeration and air conditioning technology, energy storage, and geography. His website is:

  • okie


  • okie

    left out cost of replacing battery and desposing of $$$$$$

    • Bob_Wallace

      Batteries are lasting very well. It’s not clear if battery replacement will be a serious issue. If you’ve got a 100,000 mile car that still drives 80% of its original range you might still be fine. Or you might decide to trade it in for an even better car and let your lower range one go to someone who doesn’t need the range.

      Furthermore, battery prices are dropping very fast. By the time most people hit the 80% range point a replacement battery will cost about the same as an engine or transmission replacement for a gasmobile.

      Plus, utility companies want to buy your used battery. They can get years of grid performance out of it. And then it goes off to be recycled. The recycling process has already been worked out.

      • conservative hispanic

        So you’re OK with plunking $3-4,000 every 4-5 years? I’m not.

        • Bob_Wallace

          Let’s do some simple math…

          To use us a set of EV batteries in 5 years would mean driving at least 20,000 miles a year, 100,000 miles total.

          In a 25 MPG gasmobile you’d spend $14,360 for gas at $3.59/gallon.

          In a 50 MPG hybrid you’d spend $7,180 for gas at $3.59/gallon.

          100,000 miles in an EV would cost you $3,900 for electricity at $0.13/kWh.

          So $3,280, minimum, more for fuel for a hybrid. Add in 20? oil changes at $30, $600? And an extra brake rebuild along with all the other routine maintenance costs for the gasmobile and you’re well over $4,000.

          High mileage drivers, people who put on more than the average 13k per year are the ones who really benefit from driving electrics.

          • conservative hispanic

            Oh, please. Knock it off already. I’ll NEVER buy a POS EV, unless they can give me 420 miles per charge (which my car USED to before the ethanol mandate), and I can charge it in 5 minutes, like I can do with my gas-powered car.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Well, no one is going to force you to give up your gasmobile.

            If you’d rather spend more money per mile, that’s your decision. If you’d rather stop at gas stations to fill up than plug in at night or park over a wireless charger, again, your decision.

            None of us really care what you drive. You and burn piles of $100 bills if it makes you happy. Everyone needs a hobby.

          • conservative hispanic

            The solution to $3.50 gas is simple: open up our oil and natural gas reserves. THAT will make everybody’s life better. Not trying to foist a pile of junk on everybody.

          • Bob_Wallace

            We could flood the market with oil and gas which might bring down prices for a little while. But we’ve pretty much run out of cheap to extract and refine oil. All we would do would be to enjoy cheaper prices for a while and then zoom to much higher prices.

            You are correct that right now, at this specific point in time, you can drive all day in a gasmobile with only a single stop for fuel. You can do the same only in the Tesla EV and you’ll have to take a longer time to recharge. But that’s not likely the future of EVs.

            We soon should have ~180 mile range EVs that will recharge 90% in < 20 minutes. That means the ability to drive over 500 miles with two modest stops. About the same number one is going to take driving a gasmobile. (One for fuel, one for food.)

            If someone drives 500 miles every day that extra charging time might be something they wouldn't want to do. But for most people the much lower 'per mile' cost of driving an EV would more than make up for the slight inconvenience.

            If you're saving thousands of dollars on fuel and maintenance then stopping a bit more for charging, or even renting a gasmobile, is a reasonable tradeoff.

            Perhaps you aren't old enough to remember the 1980s and early personal computers. They were amazing slow and horribly expensive compared to today's computers. The same holds for cell phones, digital cameras, and other new technologies. They start out limited and expensive and they improve as their prices drop.

            It's valid for you to say that none of today's EVs meet your needs. None of them meet mine. But to assume that tomorrow's EVs won't be better and cheaper would be setting yourself up for failure.

          • conservative hispanic

            180 mile range???? And 20 minutes stops? Thanks, but no thanks. Call me in 20 years, when you’re no longer peddling junk.

          • Bob_Wallace

            20 years from now we’ll just wave as we drive by in our EVs and you’re walking along the side of the road with an empty gas can looking for one of the last few gallons of fuel on the market…. ;o)

            GM is currently testing an EV battery that should give 180 mile or better range. If it continues to test well we’re looking a short time to great range. And there are other batteries coming out of the lab.

            <20, 90% recharging is already what happens in a Level 3 charger. Can't rapid charge the last 10% without damaging the battery.

          • conservative hispanic

            Blah, blah, blah… me when you have something I can use. Until then, get lost.

          • Dan Hue

            The Chevy Volt does what you want. EV mode for daily commuting (~40 miles, * 2 if you recharge at work) and unlimited range on the ICE extender, without compromising performance.

          • conservative hispanic

            The Volt is just another overpriced piece of junk. Buzz off.

  • jdwilliams

    EVs are the carbon offsets of the automotive industry and it’s only a matter of time before the law of unintended consequences catches up with the same thing that WA state experienced… the massive loss of gasoline tax revenues.

    • Dan Hue

      In the list of all of humanity’s problems, this one ranks near the bottom. I wish that was all we had to worry about.

    • Bob_Wallace

      Sure. At some point EVs will need to pay a road use fee.

      What should happen in a fair world is more of the road use fee put on heavy vehicles such as large trucks which do the damage. Cars pay more than their fair share now.

  • carrabelle

    I would bet that a very high percentage of these EV reside as status symbols in the garage while the owners drive their SUV on a daily basis.

    • Dan Hue

      Why would anybody drive an SUV when they also have an EV? Makes no sense. When it comes to driving experience, an EV outclasses everything else on wheels, in the same segment. Ask Jay Leno.

    • conservative hispanic

      Typical libturd: drives a hybrid/EV to the airport where he/she jumps into a private corporate jet, which guzzles more gas in a one way coast to coast trip than a full sized SUV does in a year.

  • JetBlast

    Who pays for the electricity at the charging stations? Do the car owners put in quarters or dollar bills like at a car wash or do the local taxpayers pick up the tab for this?

    • nonsenseyousay

      And if it takes an hour to charge you have to sit around until it is done?

      • Bob_Wallace

        Naw, you can talk a walk, a nap, check your message, play Angry Birds.

        Heck, you could even spend the time in meditation on how to be a better person….

        • conservative hispanic

          I’d rather keep on driving.

    • Bob_Wallace

      Tesla provides free charging for their cars. It’s part of the luxury package.

      If you want to use a charger while you’re away from home you can either use one that you pay for with a card swipe or you can charge for free at some retailers who find it good business to give away a few pennies worth of electricity for ‘customer acquisition’.

      You can even charge at an RV park by paying the normal hook-up fee that they charge. The first coast to coast Tesla S driver did part of his charging at RV sites. And some in hotels which furnish charging (for a fee).

  • Arminius

    Huh. Fascinating.

    Perhaps coincidentally, at least four of the five cities mentioned have among the highest proportions of self-absorbed, culturally intolerant, condescending d*****bag liberals in the entire country.

    Imagine the coincidence.

  • conservative hispanic

    Can’t wait to see an EV in MT,MN,WY,WI,ND,SD,ID or AK in the middle of winter! How long would these POS run? How long will they keep you warm when it -20F or worse and the wind is howling? Anybody? Bueller? Bueller?…………..

    • Bob_Wallace

      Well, you could check on the web and read reports from people who are driving EVs in cold places.

      If you did then you might be a little bit smarter and not end up looking like a total buffoon.

    • aniptofar

      Air conditioning reduces range by 40%. Not going to be many in the deep south.

      • conservative hispanic

        Yeah, and using the heater is even worse, from what I’ve read.

        • Chris Ar

          You’ve read wrong. IC cars use heat created by the engine, electrics have to actually produce it. Heating an IC car requires no extra energy outside a fan.

      • Dan Hue

        The 40% figure is not for cooling, which in my experience does not affect range all that much. Heating is another matter. Resistance heating is not efficient at all, and hurts range pretty badly. That much is true. That said, the 40% is as bad as it can get, and that is if you really like it toasty in your car in the depth of winter in a very cold state/country. Heated seats and steering wheel help. So does pre-conditionning. There are also better technologies, like heat pumps that improve overall efficiency. Finally, ER-EV (that use a small ICE) eliminate the problem entirely.

        • aniptofar

          That is from the EPA on electric cars.

    • Bob_Wallace

      Clearly it takes energy to run a heater or AC unit. And that does cut down on EV range. Stop and go with the heater on drops the LEAF range from 76 to 62 and the AC can drop highway range to 70 miles.

      Since the average commute is about 30 miles RT that makes the LEAF a very usable commute car for more than half of all drivers.

      Running the average 25 MPG car on $3.50/gallon gas costs 15c/mile. Plus higher maintenance costs.

      Running a 50 MPG hybrid on $3.50/gallon gas costs 7c/mile. Plus higher maintenance costs.

      Running a EV on 13c/kWh electricity costs 4c/mile. Few, if any, maintenance costs.

      It’s fairly simple math. Even most high school dropouts could do it.

      • conservative hispanic

        Ok. Call me when you have an EV than can drive me from Miami to Jacksonville (360 miles) with the AC at full blast in one charge. And one that I can recharge in 5 minutes, like my gas-powered car. And that can buy for less than $20,000 with the same level of comfort I enjoy now. Until then, get lost.

      • JJ_Chester

        If after driving my Leaf to and from work, my wife were to tell me that we were out of milk and I had to go to the grocery, which happens to be 6 miles away, I might not make it back home in time for dinner. Unless it was May or October.

        • Bob_Wallace

          Well, you’d be in a hell of a fix, wouldn’t you?

          Assuming you arrived home with zero miles left in your batteries (which no wise person would do) you’d have to plug in for about an hour or so to charge up to go to the store.

          That would teach you to call home to see if you need to pick up some milk on your way.

          • conservative hispanic

            That, right there, shows why EVs are junk. An hour to charge. Piece of garbage.

          • Dan Hue

            conservative hispanic, your ability to analyze an issue, boil it down to its essence, and deliver your verdict is amazing. Keep it up!

          • conservative hispanic

            Thanks. At least 3 comments of mine have been deleted since last night, since I’m not an EV zombie. Shows how “tolerant” the scumbags running this site really are.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Comments that have something to do with the conversation are left.

            Comments that are not related to the conversation are often tossed in the trash by the housekeeper.

            The housekeeper is also not tolerant of all-caps posts and gratuitous name calling.

          • conservative hispanic

            In other words, he’s a thin-skinned fascist.

          • Bob_Wallace

            If you would like to hang out here and discuss cleantech issues you are welcome.

            If you want to play bad-boy and engage in name calling you will be banned.

          • conservative hispanic

            You can’t take the heat. End of story.

          • Ivor O’Connor

            Actually Bob isn’t a thin-skinned fascist. Just smart and able to discern details that allude many…

          • hljmesa

            People said that about cell phones too. 🙂

      • DC555

        How easy it is to drop a context to and twist around your facts, even for a simple high school graduate like you. The cost of an electric car is much, much higher than a conventional car — buyers of such cars pay huge at the purchase of such a vehicle,including all taxpayer subsidies around them. The true cost of an EV is probably 50% more, with very doubtful reliability. These cars are not here to stay and will not survive long. They are simply not feasible for the consumer and a loss for the manufacturer.

        • Bob_Wallace

          Actually, over the lifespan of a car an EV is cheaper to purchase and operate than a gasmobile. Do the math. It’s not very complicated, you just need to write a few basic formulas on a spreadsheet.

          You do pay more up front for an EV, but then you save a lot of money on fuel and maintenance. Insurance is even cheaper.

        • Ivor O’Connor

          Actually these cars would make wonderful taxis if their base were next to a supercharger. Unlimited free mileage for 8 years under a 100% warranty.

    • Nothing wrong with vehicles that work in some regions and not others; you don’t see a lot of tuktuks in Chicago or Detroit, although they work great in Bangkok.

      The tax breaks are a bigger issue, which are a subsidy for the “1%” who buys Teslas.

  • sandy222

    That’s the entire article.

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