When it comes to the adoption of EVs, availability, along with infrastructure, is the name of the game. Currently, coastal states like California lead the way total EV sales share as a result of its green initiatives. However, this will change as more mainstream electric vehicles become available nationwide, in addition to federal incentives and the growth of the charging infrastructure.
In data collected by S&P Global Mobility, the 22 heartland states currently account for only 15.5 percent of total EV share, yet also account for more than a quarter of all vehicle sales. In terms of BEV (battery electric vehicles) share, the heartland states are dwarfed by California, where Los Angeles and San Francisco alone cover almost 30 percent of total EV sales. Indeed, this data demonstrates a huge gap between inland and coastal areas in the acceptance of electric vehicles.
So what contributes to this discrepancy? The lack of charging stations is certainly an influence, as well as the availability of models that customers would actually buy.
“There was no real option in terms of family friendly, moderately priced CUVs,” said James Martin, associate director of consulting for S&P Global Mobility. “And some models, such as the Hyundai Kona EV, were initially not available in midwestern states – based on OEMs deciding to focus on Section 177 (CARB) states where automakers could accumulate credits. Now automakers are beginning to produce more mainstream electric vehicles. Availability of these vehicles will most likely be a factor in spurring installation of more charging infrastructure.”
This is good news to an automaker like GM, as its portfolio of all-electric vehicles is steadily heating up. Mainstream models about to launch include the Chevy Silverado EV, GMC Sierra EV, Chevy Equinox EV and Chevy Blazer EV. Additionally, production of the Cadillac Lyriq is already under way.
The acceptance and increase of EV sales in heartland USA is rising, albeit at a slower pace than excepted. Experts believe it will take more time, and increased availability of these mainstream models, before electrification is embraced nationwide.
“The adoption of BEVs is a long-term process that needs to reach an inflection point similar to the adoption, or acceptance, of Asian-sourced vehicles in the US,” said Tom Libby, associate director of Loyalty Solutions and Industry Analysis at S&P Global Mobility. “That inflection point is when the product becomes generally accepted and it usually occurs when volume and exposure reach a level that influences all the reluctant outliers.”