Washington ranks #2 in consumer demand for EVs

We’re electric! The Evergreen State had the highest growth in electric car sales in the country in 2023, according to the Electric Power Research Institute. EVs make up more than 20% of new passenger-car purchases in the state, putting Washington second only to California in market demand. Nationwide, plug-in vehicles had 9.4% market share last year.

The first half of 2023 saw new electric vehicle sales at 18%, rising to 23% in the latter half of the year. That’s a promising trend toward the state’s strategy to combat climate change. Washington’s legal mandate to transition to zero-emission vehicles states that 68% of new cars must be pollution-free by 2030, with all pollution-free by 2035. At last year’s rate, 90% of new car sales would be pollution-free by 2030. However, Steven Hershkowitz with the Washington Department of Commerce expects this quick sales pace to slow down as carmakers work to play catch-up in EV sales in the states that are lagging.

With all these EVs on the roads in Washington, however, comes the need for fast chargers. Nationally, Washington ranks 12th in the number of fast chargers per capita, according to climate journalist Michael Thomas. Early adopters, those who were first in line to buy an electric car, were more willing to accept inconveniences, including lack of reliable charging spots. However, as the market sees a shift from these first buyers to mass-market buyers, the infrastructure must keep up to support the customer experience.

Oregon ranks 6th in the country in fast chargers per capita and Portland General Electric is already working to add “neighborhood chargers”— vehicle charging stations that are installed on power poles. Here in Washington, that trend is picking up steam. According to Puget Sound Energy, public chargers on power poles are coming, as well as incentives to homes and workplaces to install their own charging stations. Seattle City Light currently offers 14 curbside charging stations, with plans to install 11 more by the end of spring.

The Climate Commitment Act and federal dollars are helping fund the expansion of the state’s EV charging network. Based on EV sales trends in Washington, this expansion can’t come soon enough.

This post was based on information found on KUOW and GeekWire.



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