Published on September 29th, 2013 | by Zachary Shahan


Massive Growth Of Electric Cars In US, + Who Drives Electric Cars (Infographic)

September 29th, 2013 by  

We’ve already covered much of this, but I think there are some new stats here, and it’s always interesting to see these stats about the massive growth of electric cars in the US. So, enjoy this EV Obsession repost!

The Wall Street Journal (which I just railed on the other day for a horrible post about solar energy) has actually published a pretty interesting infographic on who drives electric cars. Granted, I saved myself the probable pain of reading the related article — but maybe it was actually a decent piece as well. If you read it, let me know.

The infographic, reposted below, highlights several interesting facts, which I’ll real quickly note here in text for those of you who prefer straight text:

  • 100% electric and plug-in hybrid electric cars grew tremendously in the US in 2011, and then again in 2012. And they are going to far eclipse 2012 sales in 2013. 2010 sales = 345; 2011 sales = 17,735; 2012 sales = 52,835; 2013 = an even much higher number.
  • Over 30% of 2013 US electric car and plug-in hybrid sales have occurred in San Francisco and Los Angeles.
  • About 77% of new Leaf and Volt owners have household incomes over $100,000 per year. That compares to about 33% of all new-car buyers in 2012.
  • Plug-in car owners drive these cars less than average Americans drive — about 9,000 miles vs 13,500 miles. (Notably, this research didn’t include Tesla Model S owners.)
  • Volt owners drive their Volts an average of 41 miles a day, while Leaf owners drive their Leafs an average of 30 miles a day.
  • The most popular time for charging EVs is in the hours just after midnight, thanks to surplus electricity supply and thus lower electricity rates (or no charge at all) in those hours.

Here’s the full infographic:

who drives electric cars

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

is tryin' to help society help itself (and other species) with the power of the typed word. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor, but he's also the president of Important Media and the director/founder of EV Obsession, Solar Love, and Bikocity. Zach is recognized globally as a solar energy, electric car, and energy storage expert. Zach has long-term investments in TSLA, FSLR, SPWR, SEDG, & ABB — after years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in these particular companies and feels like they are good cleantech companies to invest in.

  • Vatcha

    Another statistic I would be interested in is the total number and type of vehicles in the household.

    • Bob_Wallace

      Average miles driven per year is somewhere around 8,000 vs. 13,000 for the US.

      Average fuel mileage is 40 MPG vs. about 25 MPG for US cars.

      That works out to 200 gallons per year vs. 520 per year.

      I see one source stating $5.57/gallon in Germany vs. $3.59/gallon in the US.
      $1,114/year vs. $1,867/year.

      Europe has had high fuel costs for a long time and that has created efficiency. More efficient vehicles and vastly better public transportation.

      • Oy, German public transit & trains — something to truly envy!

  • It’s interesting the average daily Leaf miles driven is only 30….


    • Bob_Wallace

      That’s pretty close to the US average per day mileage.

      13,000 / 365 = 35.6

      • I figured Leaf drivers would be destination commuters… meaning driving more than average…


        • Bob_Wallace

          It makes the most economic sense for people who drive furthest (but within range limits) to buy them.

          But if you look at the income levels of buyers I would say that people with lots of money are “taking a chance” on electrics. They’re being conservative, buying well within their driving range and not pushing the range limits.

          • According to the chart, I guess I’m the 2%. LOL

          • Bob_Wallace

            I’d bet that some people in that income range wouldn’t be able to benefit from the $7,500 subsidy. Let’s see….

            According to a tax estimator page –

            $50,000, family of four, two children. Fed income tax $438.

            $50,000, family of two, no children. Fed income tax $3,608

            That could well be depressing sales at lower incomes.

          • I didn’t get the benefit of Bush’s EV tax credit but I spend $300 per month net less on fuel vs my SUV… looking back, I can’t believe I bought an SUV 10 years ago… stupid.

  • Ivor O’Connor

    The written words in the WSJ were about as we all expected. Hopelessly wrong. Here is an example of them contradicting the data they collected:

    ” EV Project data show that owners of electric vehicles tend to cluster in the same neighborhoods and plug in at similar times—usually in the evening. This can increase the load on a single transformer significantly, and lead to the equipment aging more quickly, as well as to power outages.”

    • You would never hear that if everyone got central air-conditioning…lol.

    • Yep, I really wasn’t in the mood to even go there. Almost clicked over for a second, but held myself back. 😀

      • Ivor O’Connor

        Yes. It’s a tough judgement call. You don’t want to fight in the muck yet you don’t want others to step in it either.

        • Exactly… and i was just sort of burnt out on that this week. 😀

  • Ivor O’Connor

    Apparently the WSJ got the information from the Electric Drive Transportation Industry, EDTA, at yet the site appears not to have an RSS feed or the information used by the WSJ anywhere easily visible.

  • Ivor O’Connor

    I think I’m missing something here. Where in the world is electricity free after midnight?

    “The most popular time for charging EVs is in the hours just after midnight, thanks to surplus electricity supply and thus lower electricity rates (or no charge at all) in those hours.”

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