What Are the Best Places to Buy and Own an EV

People who live in other places may think electric cars are for other people. Many EVs are not even available in every state, and buying one can position you on a political and cultural spectrum that conventional cars are less representative of.

I receive surveys that claim to reveal the 'best places to own an EV,' but S&P Global Mobility predicts that California, Florida, Texas, and New York will still have the most plug-in cars in 2030 thanks to their large populations.

An interesting aspect of the 'best place' question is that the next and much larger wave of EV-curious shoppers will look at the realistic implications of owning one of these cars.

If it's difficult to own, afford, or service and repair an electric car, they may switch to a more efficient gas engine car. EVs' low total-cost-of-ownership advantage means little to the buyer who anticipates daily hassles with the device.

In order to make EVs more user-friendly, charging stations must be perceived positively, especially by EV intenders who do not own a home they can equip with charging equipment.

EV charging stations are not installed in the US, nor in New Mexico or Colorado; they are installed at Main St. & 7th, says Mark Boyadjis, global technology leader of the Automotive Advisory Team at S&P Global Mobility, underscoring the EV friendliness that is very local. 

Beyond public charging locations, regional home charger incentives, utility rate schemes, and local penetration of residential solar provide a more nuanced picture of EV appetite than any simple tally of charging locations can reveal.

Currently, plug-in cars are most common in a lopsided collection of states. Every Austinite will tell you that there are few Teslas in their metro area, where several manufacturers rely heavily on the sale of traditional full-sized gas and diesel trucks.

According to predictions, the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area will have the fastest growth in plug-in adoption in the country. In Silicon Valley, Teslas are swarming like locusts, but in vast stretches of the state's north, they might have to be towed.

'Most people still feel there is an inadequate charging infrastructure where they live,' says Boyadjis, although in many of the places where respondents say charging is scarce, 'what is already on the ground is adequate for the number of vehicles that are there. But it may not be where they want to be.'

Fueling an electric car does not require the same amount of time as gas fueling does. Had gas-engine cars been fueled by walking around the aisles of a mini-mart for 30 minutes, the history might have been very different.

In long-legged places like the West, where so much is an hour or two drive away, even owning a home that can be equipped with Level 2 charging gear is a major breakthrough.

There is clearly a lumpy EV friendliness in these early days, as evidenced in US EPA data, which shows that the number of charge ports has grown much faster than the number of locations offering them.

Thus, it appears that growth is occurring in places that already have charge stations and that many EV owners install their own chargers at home, but not so much in areas without any charge stations.

Fueling has been ubiquitous for decades, as well as service and repair for all but a few exotic cars: Car buyers used to have to think very hard about whether they lived in an area that supported owning a car. In addition, each state has a dealer network that has been able to align locations and inventory with demand for makes and models for decades.

Electric vehicles will get to that point in the next decade, but we'll see auto adoption history unfold for just the second time in a very long time.

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