What are the best cities to live in if you own or want to own an electric vehicle? Some of the urban centers on our list seem like typical havens for EV owners, while others may come as a shock.
According to a Car Max survey, 26% of EV owners live in 3 states—California, Oregon, and Washington. Those who don’t have to deal with snow and ice are also more likely to own an EV. In fact, 50% of EVs are sold in the 17 states with the highest average temperatures.
Some locations are a lot more surprising, however, including cities in the heart of vehicle manufacturing and oil country that still make owning an EV a breeze.
Home of the Silicon Valley, where cutting-edge technology is considered a necessary luxury, San Jose tops our list of best cities for EV drivers. An average of 9% of cars on the road in San Jose are electric, 13 times the national average. There are over 955 individual charge points and over 1,400 charging stations at workplaces around the city, including brand new Blink IQ 200 charging stations, which are the fastest networked Level 2 product on the market.
Federal tax credits stand at $7,500 per vehicle, and state tax credits for EV ownership are up to $2,500, so a consumer could put as much as a whopping $10,000 back in their pocket after purchasing an EV. Other benefits include preferential parking, lower electric rates, and access to high-occupancy vehicle lanes.
More than 70% of Portland’s electricity comes from clean and renewable resources, and at less than a nickel per kWh during off-peak hours, electricity is far less expensive in Portland than higher-priced west coast cities.
According to The International Council on Clean Transportation, Portland also has the highest per capita concentration of charging stations among the 25 largest U.S. cities. There are also some rebates and incentives offered throughout Oregon that EV drivers can use to purchase a Blink HQ residential charging station for their homes.
The heart of oil country seems an unlikely place to find an EV-friendly city, but Austin features 555 level 2 chargers within 15 miles of the city center. According to Austin Energy.com, “Austin Energy’s Plug-In EVerywhere™ program offers EV owners in its service area a rebate of 50% of the cost of the purchase and installation of a Level 2 charging station.” The Plug-In EVerywhere program already features 110 charging stations with 100% renewable energy.
Austin Energy customers may also be entitled to a rebate for home-charging stations of up to $1,200.
With neither year-round warm weather, nor a location on the west coast, New York is still a city you would expect to find on our list because of its friendliness to environmental causes. New York’s Clean Drive Rebate can be used at point of sale for up to $2,000. Combining the rebate with the federal tax credit can bring savings to $7,500.
Drivers can use the HOV lane on the Long Island Expressway and save up to 10% on tolls, as well as insurance savings for green driving.
The home of traditional car manufacturing in a state with some of the worst winters on record, Detroit is certainly the least likely city to be EV friendly. EVSE infrastructure is virtually non-existent, there have been few or no city or state financial incentives to buy an EV; in fact, the state just imposed an additional registration fee for EV drivers to make up for lost gas taxes, and EVs can experience a high level of range loss keeping up with the frigid temperatures.
It may seem counter-intuitive for Detroit drivers to purchase EVs, but Detroit still ranks eighth in EV sales! Despite the lack of support from local and state governments, sales continue to soar. With gas prices 10% higher than the national average, and electricity rates a third of the national average, Detroit may have accidentally provided its own motivation for drivers to go green and save green at the same time.
Overall, the future for EVs in the United States of America is very bright. With more charging stations and more electric cars on the roads than ever before, we are starting to see EVs becoming a mainstream mode of transportation. California, Washington, and Oregon lead the path to the EV future, and other states can use it as a guiding point to jump on board and make sure that their residents and businesses can benefit from everything electric cars can offer.