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Colorado’s EV demand is growing, report shows as U.S. sales rise

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Research from a Colorado electric vehicle (EV) educational initiative shows public appetite for EVs is growing alongside nationwide figures.

EV CO released its 2023 “State of the Shift” report this week, which showed that among non-EV drivers, 19% are considering making the switch to a new EV within the next five years. That’s up from 15% in 2020.

Another 21% of drivers are considering switching to a used EV by 2028, the report found.

Colorado’s EV market share currently sits at 8.5%, with advocates pushing for 100% adoption by 2050.

“In our exploration of the EV landscape, the data speaks volumes — Colorado isn’t just embracing electric vehicles (EVs); it’s orchestrating a groundbreaking shift,” the report says. “Thanks to strategic investments at both the state and federal levels, Colorado’s EV infrastructure has undergone a monumental expansion, creating an ecosystem that matches the fast pace of growing EV sales.”

This year’s report was a follow-up to a similar report released in 2020 and documents a “massive shift” in EV awareness, consideration, and adoption, EV CO said. It found that within Colorado:

    • 49% of respondents are now considering purchasing an EV, up 10 points from 2020;
    • 95% of EV owners would purchase another one within the next five years;
    • 17% of non-EV owners remain unlikely to purchase one, down from 30% in 2020; and
    • There was a 10% increase in the amount of drivers who believe EVs are affordable, and compatible with life.

According to EV CO, the shift in public perception is thanks to both improved infrastructure and ongoing efforts to educate the public on the benefits of EVs.

“Thanks to strategic investments at both the state and federal levels, Colorado’s EV infrastructure has undergone a monumental expansion, creating an ecosystem that matches the fast pace of growing EV sales,” the report says. “Since launching the Colorado Electric Vehicle Plan… state agencies have led extensive efforts to ensure all Coloradans understand how they can benefit, access and participate in this transportation transformation.”

However, it noted that there are still barriers to widespread adoption, including a lack of awareness among low-income drivers.

“Accelerating the transition to electric mobility depends not only on consumer awareness but also on ensuring EV adoption benefits are accessible to all, regardless of socioeconomic status,” the report said.

The report, which surveyed 2,006 people between August and September, also found that while multi-family households were interested in switching to EVs, they often lacked the infrastructure needed to make the transition.

This mostly affected those aged 34 and under with a household income of $50,000 or less, the report said.

“Given these factors, public and affordable charging accessibility will play a vital role in removing barriers to EV adoption,” it said. “Colorado is making significant investments in public charging stations, including at multi-family housing and workplaces to ensure equitable EV access.”

Consumer choice

Meanwhile, the U.S. House of Representatives is set to vote on the “Choice in Automobile Sales (CARS) Act, which would give consumers freedom of choice on whether to purchase an EV or internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle.

The bill, supported by the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA), would prohibit the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from finalizing its proposed federal emissions standards for light- and medium-duty motor vehicles model year 2027 and newer.

SEMA opposes the EPA’s proposal, which would require EVs to account for up to 67% of new vehicle sales by 2032, for several reasons, including concerns that it would prohibit families from choosing vehicles that would best suit their needs.

“The EPA’s proposed rulemaking seeks to lower carbon emissions in a way that essentially forces battery electric vehicles (BEVs) to become the only option for automakers to produce,” SEMA said. “Given the subsidies for EV purchases and production, EVs have become the de facto choice to achieve the rulemaking’s climate goals.”

SEMA added that shifting to EVs would threaten 55% of its member companies that produce ICE-related components and parts.

A number of automakers — including VolvoBuick, and Bentley, for example — have pledged to stop selling ICE vehicles by 2030.

Several states (Colorado, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, and Washington D.C.) have adopted California’s Advanced Clear Car II (ACC II) Program.

It requires 43% of Model Year 2027 and newer vehicles to be zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs). By 2032, 82% of MY2032 and newer vehicles would have to be carbon-free.

‘Stark division’

Although U.S. EV sales are up 1% year-over-year for the first half of 2023, a “stark division is emerging” between states where adoption is growing, and others where it’s stalled, according to a J.D. Power report.

J.D. Power’s “E-Vision Intelligence Report” indicates that while the highest adoption state California is expected to reach 94% EV share by 2035, North Dakota’s EV market share, which is among the lowest in the U.S., might remain below 20%. Michigan is expected to reach a 41% adoption rate during the same period.

“To the long list of literal and figurative lines of demarcation that illustrate the sharp geographic, political, socioeconomic and cultural divisions between states in the United States, we may now add the EV adopters and the EV holdouts,” J.D. Power said. “…EV adoption in America is growing increasingly divided, with the most active states for EV adoption already on the path to parity with internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles and consumers steadily pulling back on EV purchases in the least-active states.”

In the top 10 states with the highest overall EV adoption rates — California, Washington, Hawaii, Oregon, Nevada, Maryland, Arizona, Colorado, Utah, and Massachusetts — adoption rates have continued to grow.


Featured image courtesy of miroslav_1/iStock

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