As states begin to open markets after the coronavirus pandemic, there are three areas we are watching closely to determine impacts on consumer electric vehicle purchases and usage. What will happen to funding for EV subsidies/tax relief and the ability of states to enact tighter than federal standards? Why are these incentives important in key metropolitan areas? Will state and metropolitan areas continue to invest in charging infrastructure?
States, cities, and utilities continue to develop comprehensive electric vehicle policy packages.
Various state and local authorities are reducing consumer purchase barriers with policy, incentives, infrastructure buildout, and awareness campaigns. States adopting California’s ZEV regulations catalyze the market, expand model availability, and provide assurance for charging infrastructure investments. In 2018 and 2019, Colorado is adopting similar ZEV regulations, and New Jersey and Washington State have signaled their commitment to electric vehicles by joining the International Zero Emission Vehicle Alliance. Markets like Atlanta, Austin, Columbus, Denver, New York, Portland, Seattle, Washington, DC, and those in California continue to construct and implement their own electric vehicle promotion policies to help reach their emission-reduction goals.
Consumer incentives remain important.
Electric vehicle prices have greatly decreased even as their electric ranges have increased. Yet, incentives remain important to reduce electric vehicles’ upfront cost. Consumer incentives, typically worth $2,000 to $5,000, were available through 2018 in nine of the 11 major metropolitan areas with the highest uptake. The exceptions are Seattle, where the state incentive expired in May 2018, and Washington, DC, where some drivers benefit from nearby Maryland’s state incentive. Incentives like carpool lane access and preferential parking policies benefit electric vehicle drivers in Nashville, Phoenix, Raleigh, Salt Lake City, and many areas in California. As the federal $7,500 electric vehicle tax credit begins to phase out for some manufacturers, continued state, city, and utility incentives will remain important.
Electric vehicles and the charging infrastructure network grow in tandem.
Even though most charging occurs at home, electric vehicle market shares are typically larger where there is greater availability of public regular, public fast, and workplace charging infrastructure. Markets with high electric vehicle uptake have at least 400 public charge points per million people. By contrast, half of the U.S. population lives in markets with charging infrastructure at least 60% below this benchmark. In the top electric vehicle markets, about 10 to 25% of the available public charging is fast charging. The top electric vehicle markets also typically have at least 150 workplace charge points per million people, and San Jose, with the highest electric vehicle share in 2018, had about 9-times this value.