10 May 22

The US is barely ready for nationwide EV adoption

The first-ever EV Readiness Index report of the US released by LeasePlan displays a premature market where the charging infrastructure is mainly lacking while offering enormous potential for the industry as the investments increase across the country. 

The report unveils the current view of each US state, underlining three essential facts to be addressed in the future: 

  • Even the leading states in electrification don't appear to be EV ready.
  • Cold weather is a significant disruptive in the US due to longer average distances compared to Europe.
  • It is impossible to rely only on the public charging infrastructure in the long term. 

Nevada is the current most EV ready state based on five criteria to measure EV readiness: legislation and incentives, EV penetration, charger to vehicle ratio, charger availability, and climate sustainability. 

When it comes to local commitment, California is far ahead with 134 legislation and purchasing incentives, followed by New York (42) and Oregon (38). Again, California is leading the EV penetration by having 2.99% of all vehicles in the state all-electric, and Hawaii is second with 2.20%, followed by Washington with 1.80%. The number of EVs on the US roads increased to 434,879 in 2021, representing a remarkable 83% increase from 2020. 

The distribution of chargers per vehicle is most robust in the mid and southern states of the US, while Level 1, Level 2, and DC Fast Chargers are most abundant in the West. 

One of the essential criteria displaying the EV readiness of the states appears to be the charger availability, calculated by the difference between the ratio of the EVs and chargers in a state compared to the country level. Best performance by NY with 2.77%, Massachusetts with 1.95%, Missouri with 1.19%, Georgia with 0.99% and Maryland with 0.88%.  

In contrast, California is at the bottom in this category with -10.70%, falling behind the required charging stations for the increasing EVs. Washington and New Jersey follow California in lacking charger availability, with -1.60% and -1.51%, respectively. California holds 41.73% of the EVs in the US, but chargers' availability compared to the national level is only 31.02%. 

Impact of the cold weather

According to the report, -6 degrees (20 F) can result in a 12% decrease in driving range. Running the in-car heater below this temperature may reduce the range of a fully charged vehicle by 41%, while cold weather may also increase the final charge level by 36%. 

Southern regions of the West and East Coast of the US appear to have the most suitable climates for EVs and the southern states. Adopting countermeasures in states with changing temperatures is crucial, says LeasePlan. 

With favourable climate conditions and commitment to electrification highlighted by the Nevada Electric Highway project, Nevada appears at the top of the Ev readiness index of the US. The second-best in the ranking, Mississippi also offers favourable conditions allowing maximum range for EVs. Mississippi provides 36 public chargers per 100 EVs, having a high ratio of chargers to vehicles. 

While California is on the frontline of electrification in the US, the current EV readiness is low due to the low charger to vehicle ratio (only 8.37 chargers per 100 EVs). And while having the highest amount of EVs in the US, the charge availability score is -10.70%, putting it at the bottom in this classification. 

Huge potential for the future 

The current EV landscape in the US is displaying a vast potential for electrification in the coming years, while local and foreign EV makers are ramping up their investments and collaboration to supply the EVs and charging infrastructure the country needs. 

As LeasePlan points out, the available EV models in the US are increasing each year, meeting the demands of consumers in passenger and commercial vehicle types. Most prominent models to lead the EV market appears as the Ford F-150 Lightning Pro, VinFast VF 8, Cadillac Lyriq, Toyota bZ4X, Nissan Ariya, Ford E-Transit and Volkswagen ID.4. 

The recent developments in the EV industry give a clear sign of improvement for the future: 

  • California Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Project (CALeVIP) has expanded the EV incentive package to install 5,000 Level 2 chargers across the state. CALeVIP plans to put 5 million EVs on Californian roads by 2030.
  • EV maker Rivian has been granted the most extensive ever incentive package provided by Georgia to build a $5 billion plant with an annual production capacity of 400,000 EVs. 
  • The US Department of Energy (DOE) has announced a $3.16 billion investment to support battery manufacturing, processing, and recycling under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which has granted $7.5 billion for improving the domestic EV supply chain. 
  • Vietnamese EV maker VinFast has announced plans to build an EV plant in North Carolina to begin manufacturing in 2024 with an annual capacity of 150,000, under a $4 billion investment.
  • General Motors (GM) has partnered with Honda to produce affordable EVs with a price tag of less than $30,000. GM wants to reach 2 million EV production capacity by 2025.

The current map of EV readiness and recent developments clearly show that the US has embraced collaboration and government support to bolster EV adoption, and there's an enormous potential for the EV industry to expand while tracking the climate challenge. Click here to download the full study.

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Authored by: Mufit Yilmaz Gokmen