If you live in California, electric vehicles are a part of everyday life, so much so that you might forget the same isn’t true everywhere. It’s common knowledge that California leads the way for electric drivers, but statistics show that the difference is staggering. Approximately 367,000 electric vehicles were newly registered in the United States in 2018, and nearly half (49 percent) were registered in California, according to data from the Alternative Fuels Data Center. That’s 179,600 new electric vehicles registered in one year, and the numbers since then are only growing. After California, Washington ranked second, registering 19,900 electric vehicles in 2018-- about 5.4 percent of the national total. Washington could have registered nine times as many electric vehicles and still wouldn’t have caught California.
This market domination occurs across the board, not just for registrations. In regard to sales, data from EVAdoption shows that 153,422 electric vehicles were sold in California in 2018; New York came in second with fewer than 16,000. Charging infrastructure is more prevalent in California as well-- there are over 26,000 public charging outlets in the state. New York comes in second here as well, with fewer than five thousand public charging outlets.
That’s a lot of numbers, and they clearly show that the electric vehicle bubble in California is real. They might also make you think that the bubble is unbreakable, but it is well documented that this expansion is happening nationwide. Data from the International Energy Agency shows there were 180,000 electric vehicles on the road in 2013, compared to 1.12 million in 2018. While California is a substantial part of that growth, drivers around the country are beginning to recognize electric vehicles as a feasible alternative to gas-powered vehicles. This shift could have a positive impact on our environment, especially if other states around the country begin shifting more aggressively toward electric.
But how can we move closer to that point? One of the challenges electric drivers outside the California bubble face is a lack of options for public charging. Data from the International Energy Agency shows that while 1.6 million electric vehicle charging outlets were installed in 2018, more than 90 percent of them were for private use. Range anxiety is a common concern for potential buyers, and it’s understandable-- no one wants to run out of power and end up stranded. That’s why building an expansive network of public charging stations is crucial for the growth of the electric vehicle industry, and Volta is helping to do just that.
One Volta user, Alex, tells us about how he utilizes the free, public charging service from Volta to fuel family visits. "I have family up in Sacramento, which is about 90 miles from where I live, also well within the range of my vehicle. I know of Volta charging locations up at Arden Fair, a shopping center there. So I always plan my visit around a visit to the shopping center so I can re-up on charge for the journey home."
Volta’s charging network already spans the United States, with stations from Boston to Hawaii and many cities in between. We cover major metropolitan hubs like Chicago, our second-largest market with 176 stations. Volta also has a presence in smaller towns like Waterbury, Connecticut, allowing electric drivers to expand their travel possibilities. And we’re not done yet; Volta has plans to double our presence in Washington D.C., and our expansion into Atlanta yielded 54 active stations with more on the way. Improved public charging infrastructure is an important piece of the electric vehicle puzzle, and Volta is helping to solve it. It may take time to break the bubble and make electric vehicles a staple nationwide, but we’re already well on the way.