One Study Claims California Isn’t The Best State To Own An Electric Car

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There’s a current public perception that California is the best state in America to own an electric car, and that perception largely comes down to infrastructure. California is equipped to handle a widespread amount of EVs if only because the state has plenty of chargers. But take into consideration other factors of car ownership, one new study alleges, and California has been usurped in the EV game by Washington.

This study comes from Bumper.com, a website that provides vehicle ownership and repair history to anyone that enters their vehicle’s VIN number. In this study, Bumper took into account 10 different metrics of EV buying and ownership to create a broader picture. Five of those metrics were financial:

  • Number of rebates and tax incentives found in each state
  • Recharge cost
  • Average price of gas
  • Mean travel time to work
  • State cost of an EV versus cost of a gas-powered vehicle

The other five are related to infrastructure:

  • Number of new charging stations since 2017
  • Number of charging stations per 100,000 population
  • Number of EVSE ports per 100 charging stations
  • Number of EVSE ports per 100 EV vehicle registrations
  • EV registrations as a percentage of all motor vehicles in the state

With all those factors considered, the top five best states to own an EV — Washington, Utah, Colorado, Massachusetts, and California — are kind of surprising, in large part because of their order. Most folks likely wouldn’t peg Utah as a bastion of EV ownership, but because of its great financial incentives and cheap charging rates, it ranks well.

The five worst vehicles (starting with the absolute worst) aren’t a surprise: Alaska, Alabama, South Carolina, Mississippi, and South Dakota will need some serious work to make them habitable in an electric future.

Bumper also breaks down data in a variety of ways, so you can check out more specific metrics, like the states with the best financial incentives, those with the best infrastructure, and those with the most EV registration.

That latter metric is a really crucial one. We can talk about how California may not be the best place to own an EV, but right now, it accounts for 41.73 percent of all EV registrations in the United States with 425,000 registered EVs. The next closest state, Florida, accounts for 5.71 percent of all registered EVs in the country with 58,000. And despite the large number of California’s EVs, they only account for 1.36 percent of the total vehicles registered in the state.

(Somehow, there are also more registered EVs in Alaska than there are in Montana, Mississippi, West Virginia, South Dakota, Wyoming, and North Dakota. That’s one hell of a stat.)

We can draw a lot of interesting inferences from the data provided by Bumper. For example, we can talk a lot about EVs and make a big deal about how they’re the future, but we’re still talking about a truly small number of vehicles being sold in America. EV sales aren’t going to overtake ICE sales any time soon — but that’s because they still aren’t attractive prospects from financial or infrastructure standpoints in most states outside of California. This dataset, though, can pinpoint exactly where more work needs to be done.

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