That’s 37 percent more than in 2015, according to a report published by EV charging network ChargePoint.
Electric vehicle sales in the U.S. are higher than they’ve ever been, according to a report published by ChargePoint, which operates more than 31,000 electric vehicle chargers in the U.S. Between November 2015 and November 2016, more than 130,000 plug-in hybrid or battery-powered EVs were sold, bringing the total number of EVs on the road in the U.S. to close to 535,000.
Put in context, that’s close to seven times more EVs than the 170,000 that were on the road in the U.S. in 2013. That’s not just concentrated in places like California. While California is still in the lead as the state with the most EVs, Utah is the fastest growing and saw a 60 percent increase in EV registrations.
The Tesla Model S topped the chart with the most vehicles sold between January and November 2016. In the second spot was Chevy Volt with more than 21,000 vehicles, followed by the Tesla Model X and then the Ford Fusion. At the bottom of the list was the Toyota Prius Plug-in — only 52 were sold.
That said, the U.S. is still one of the least uniform in its support for EV technology, according to ChargePoint CEO Pasquale Romano. Wyoming, for example, has both the smallest number of EVs on the road as well as the smallest growth in 2016.
Both the European Union and China are pushing forward the transition to battery-powered and electric vehicles while the U.S. is still seeing just a patchwork of support from states. In fact, 10 percent of ChargePoint’s operating expenses go toward lobbying and policy work in the U.S.
“The U.S. should be a little embarrassed that we don’t have that uniformity,” Romano told Recode.
That may be because little has been done on the federal level to push the adoption of EVs forward save for the strict vehicle fuel efficiency standards the Environmental Protection Agency rolled out in 2012, according to Romano.
But that may be a good thing under President-elect Donald Trump’s administration. It’s not an exactly positive sign that Trump recently appointed Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson to be secretary of state and that part of his infrastructure plan focuses on reinvigorating coal mining in the U.S.
However, Romano said, because the federal government has largely stayed out of the push for electrification there’s still hope that EV adoption will continue to increase in 2017.
“The good news is that the federal government has been generally absent from [the EV movement],” he said. “They haven’t been funding [it]. It’s been largely the purview of the states aside from two factors: The $7,500 vehicle tax credit and the [vehicle fuel efficiency standards].”
So at most, fuel efficiency standards might become more relaxed and the tax credit may go away, but it wouldn’t be a nail in the coffin for electrification, he said.
“At the high end of the market, I don’t think the Tesla owner would change the ownership equation in their head if that credit would go away,” he said.
Interestingly, there is little direct correlation between the rise of gas prices and EV sales according to the report. In other words, the EV buyer isn’t just trying to avoid the cost of gas. Other than the cost savings and the environmental benefits, ChargePoint found that some consumers were looking for the most cutting-edge software hence the popularity of Teslas.