07/16/14 :

Americans Plug-In to the Electric Car Market

The American EV market is growing rapidly.

Good news, car buyers! Recent data from the Electric Drive Transportation Association (EDTA) show the number of plug-in vehicles on American roads has doubled since June 2013. The year-over-year trends are very encouraging and reflect the increasing energy efficiency of the electric car market. The transportation sector in the United States accounts for 30% of the country’s carbon emissions, 60% of which come from light-duty vehicles. This underscores the fact that efficient cars offer great potential for decreasing our country’s emissions.

Infrastructure

With the rapid rate of electric vehicle adoption, so too comes the responsibility of developing the appropriate charging infrastructure. A recent Forbes article points to the potential challenges of drivers getting “locked in” to particular car company networks, limiting charging options. However, since we’re in the early days of mass EV adoption, there are ample opportunities for developing charging networks that can keep up with growing fleets. We’re off to a good start -- the EDTA report finds there are currently 8,389 public charging stations for a total of 20,420 outlets in the United States.

Why It Matters

The EDTA numbers are particularly important because the car plays such a large role in American lives. Without a doubt, public transportation is a very efficient commuting option. However, a recent transportation visualization from MIT shows that even in cities with well-established transit systems, it’s often faster to hop in a car than it is to catch the subway. “Choice-riders,” or people who have options for getting from point A to point B, often decide to drive.

Emily Badger of the Washington Post explains,

           “These maps illustrate why people make rational calculations to drive so much of the time, 
           
even in cities where decent transit does exist... So often we make travel decisions with a
            time budget in mind, not a financial one.”

While there are many ways our transit systems can and should be improved to mitigate this issue, such analyses place further importance on vehicle efficiency.

We’re heartened to see such positive trends in the plug-in market. If people are choosing to drive at least let it be efficient, zero-emissions cars. As the 19 currently available plug-in models expand to 39 models by 2016, we only expect this upswing to continue.