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California EV Sales Continue to Climb


Regardless of what’s going on in the rest of the country, the shift to EVs is picking up speed in California — the biggest state for automobile sales in the U.S. — where they now account for nearly 18% of all vehicles sold.

2022 Ford Mustang Mach-E GT - rear 3-4 bridge
EV sales account for nearly 20% of all new vehicle sales in California in 2022.

Sales of battery electric vehicles are up 33.4% over last year’s total, surpassing 250,000 units for the first time, said Veloz, the California-based public-private partnership, which was set up to help accelerate the transition to electrified transportation.

Nationally, EV sales are on track to surpass 7% of all new vehicle sales in 2022 — up from just 1% of sales in 2019. According to registration data from Experian, EV registrations are up 57% through the first nine months of 2022.

California adoption rate races ahead

California’s rate of adoption of EVs is similar to that of electric vehicle adoption in European Union but trails China, where the national government has used a variety of incentives from parking spaces to cash to promote EV ownership.

California EV sales through Q3 2022 chart

In addition, a new survey commissioned by Veloz indicates nearly half of California voters say they are likely to purchase or lease an EV the next time they are in the market for a vehicle.

The EVs purchased California accounted for 39% of all battery-electric vehicles sold in the U.S. during the third quarter, the group noted. 

During the past decade as EV sales have increased, buyers in California have accounted for more than 40% of all battery electric sales, according to Veloz, which obtains quarterly updates of electric vehicle sales in California from the CEC Zero Emission Vehicle and Infrastructure Statistics 30 days after each quarter ends. 

The CEC has partnered with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to track the sales of electric vehicles in California. The DMV vehicle registration database contains data on all registered vehicles in California. 

California EV sales stats graphic

Charging network expanding

In its new annual report released this month, Veloz also says there are more than 80,000 EV chargers installed across California and 62 hydrogen filling stations for fuel cell vehicles. There are now an estimated 115 different EV models on sales in California. Last year, California had about 60,000 chargers.

Seven in 10 Californians support replacing the current EV rebate incentive structure with a voucher available to use at point of sale. 

Veloz, with help from automakers such as BMW, General Motors and Ford, also carries on an education campaign that addresses the barriers to EV adoption — including up-front cost — information about range, charging and maintenance is persuasive.  

People want to hear from those with direct EV experience, someone who maintains EVs, friends or family, neighbors, environmental organizations and nonprofits. Low-income voters are more likely to value environmental groups as messengers.


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