My neighbor’s 2023 Tesla Model X. Lindon, Utah. December 17, 2023. Photo courtesy of owner.

EV Penetration in My Utah Neighborhood

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Those of us who follow electric vehicle sales know that fully electric vehicles accounted for more than 80% of Norway’s auto sales in 2023, and that 100% electric vehicles already make up more than 24% of the total fleet there. We also know that in China, which has about half of all worldwide EV sales, sales penetration of BEVs was at about 25% in 2023. However, EVs still made up less than 5% of the total fleet in China by the end of the year.

In California, 25% of all cars sold in the last quarter of 2023 were EVs — it’s the biggest EV market in the US by far. However, EVs made up just ~4% of the total California light vehicle fleet at the end of 2022. Even though 1 in 4 new cars sold in California last quarter were EVs, it’s going to take a long time before a significant part of the light vehicle fleet is EVs.

US plugin vehicle sales were only ~8% in 2022 (9.4% in 2023) and the total percentage of the fleet was only 1.3% by the end of the year.  On the other hand, older cars tend to sit in the garage while new ones are driven more. This is particularly true of EVs vs. gas cars. In my house, everyone wants to drive the EV. The gas car is definitely the last option to be exercised.

How does this compare to EV penetration in my Northern Utah neighborhood?

When I retired from NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland in 2005, we moved to Lindon, Utah, 30 miles south of Salt Lake City, to be near our kids and grandchildren. We picked a house with a beautiful view of Utah Valley and Utah Lake. After living for 65 years in regions where Mormons (members of our faith) were a tiny minority, we were shocked to learn that of the 120 families in our neighborhood, approximately 115 were active Mormons and regularly attended our ward (congregation) in our local chapel building. This is the story of EV uptake in our ward.

In 2014, four of our ward members, including me, bought Nissan LEAFs for the killer lease price of $200/month. Two of the members didn’t renew the leases. I, however, was hooked on EVs. I also leased a 2016 Nissan LEAF and then purchased a 2018 Nissan LEAF.

1) On October 19, 2019, I made the big jump and traded the LEAF in for a white, dual-motor, 310-mile range Tesla Model 3 which I still own.

My wife and I taking delivery on our 2019 Tesla Model 3 Long Range in Salt Lake City, Utah. October 21, 2019.

2) At about the same time, a member of our ward purchased a red performance version of the 2019 Tesla Model 3 (see picture below).

Ward member’s red 2019 Tesla Model 3 Performance. Lindon, Utah. December 17, 2023. Photo by Fritz Hasler.

The real EV pioneer of the ward had started with an EV conversion of his Triumph sports car back in 2012, but it wasn’t very successful. More recently, he has purchased a 3) Chevy Volt and a 4) Chevy Bolt (see picture below).

Ward member’s Chevy Volt and Chevy Bolt. Lindon, Utah. December 17, 2023. Photos by Fritz Hasler.

5) Also, my neighbor just across the street then purchased a Chevy Volt.

For the next 3 years, nothing! However, 12 months ago, one of the early LEAF owners in my ward purchased 6) a yellow Ford Mustang Mach-E (see below). He likes the sexy yellow color but is quite disappointed because he doesn’t think the technology is quite up to the standards of Tesla.

Neighbor with yellow Ford Mustang Mach-E in my driveway. Lindon, Utah. December 23, 2022. Photo by Fritz Hasler

7) Then, the second early LEAF owner bought the gorgeous Tesla Model X shown below.

My neighbor’s 2023 Tesla Model X. Lindon, Utah. December 17, 2023. Photo courtesy of owner.

I also just found out that another ward member purchased 8) a beautiful white Rivian pickup truck. It’s the featured vehicle on the Drop Detailing (Murray, Utah) website. He made a cross-country trip recently and was not impressed with the CCS fast-charging infrastructure at this point. The other day, 9) a beautiful red Tesla Model X drove by my house. It was purchased by another of the four early LEAF owners who had finally decided to go permanently electric.

My neighbor’s Rivian electric pickup truck. Pleasant Grove, Utah. January 8, 2023. Photo by Fritz Hasler.

Coming out of our neighborhood church starting a few weeks ago, there was 10) a white Tesla Model Y parked in the lot. (See picture below.)

Tesla Model Y. LDS church parking lot. Lindon, Utah. December 17, 2023. Photo by Fritz Hasler.

As you can see, the dam has broken and we are well on our way to EVs taking over the automobile market in my neighborhood here in Utah. Also, remarkably, all four ward members who tried EVs in 2014 are now permanent EV owners. Unfortunately, it’s not nearly enough, and on inversion days here in the Wasatch Front region, the polluted air is deadly. (See picture further down below.) As recently as 2021, there have been 62 mandatory bad air alert days per year on the Wasatch Front. Thus, even if you don’t believe or care about global warming, driving electric is important. Even if you are aware that most of the electricity in Utah still comes from burning coal, that coal is burned far way and we have plenty of motivation for switching to EVs here.

That makes a total of 10 EVs in my neighborhood (congregation) of 120 families. That would be an EV penetration of ~8%. Compared to the US total fleet penetration of 1.3%, we are doing pretty well. However, if we figure that each family owns an average of two cars, that would drop the penetration to about 4% — about the same as the whole state of California. It’s interesting that we are doing as well here in my neighborhood as California is doing, the state leading the US in EV adoption by a large margin.

10 EVs in the neighborhood is a big deal! EVs are no longer just owned by two of us EV evangelists going green. They have become mainstream and we may get many more EV sales soon in the neighborhood.

View of Utah’s Wasatch Front pollution. Little Cottonwood Canyon, Utah. Courtesy of Snow Brains.

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Arthur Frederick (Fritz) Hasler

Arthur Frederick (Fritz) Hasler, PhD, former leader of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization & Analysis Laboratory (creator of this iconic image), and avid CleanTechnica reader. Also: Research Meteorologist (Emeritus) at NASA GSFC, Adjunct Professor at Viterbo University On-Line Studies, PSIA L2 Certified Alpine Ski Instructor at Brighton Utah Ski School.

Arthur Frederick (Fritz) Hasler has 123 posts and counting. See all posts by Arthur Frederick (Fritz) Hasler