01Nov, 23 November 1, 2023
  • By evcharger

As electric vehicle adoption increases in the United States, some states are more prepared than others. States like California have aggressively pursued EVs and built robust charging networks. Similarly, states like Washington and Oregon have also invested heavily, doubling their EV counts and chargers in recent years. However many midwestern and southern states have invested little and currently count EVs only in the low thousands. 

This infrastructure gap risks will widen further unless these regions take action. Over the next few years, automakers plan to introduce dozens of new EV models that will drive nationwide demand. At the same time, the federal government has also allocated $100 million to repair and replace broken chargers through the 2021 Infrastructure Law. A study by PwC estimates the network will need to increase almost tenfold by 2030 to sustain a projected 27 million EVs on the road.

To truly make electric vehicles a viable option everywhere, the United States needs a robust, practical nationwide charging system. With coordinated investment and planning, lagging regions can begin bridging the gap to keep up with the accelerating EV transition. In this article, we will analyze the top and lagging states for EV adoption and charging station availability.

Leading States for EV Adoption and Charging Station Availability

1. California

With over 1.6 million electric vehicles registered and nearly 93,885 charging station connectors, California has established itself as the clear leader in EV adoption and infrastructure buildout in the United States. Several factors underpin the Golden State’s dominance.

  • Government Leadership and Commitment  

California was one of the early adopters of a zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) mandate in the 1990s, requiring automakers to sell a certain percentage of EVs, plug-in hybrids, and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. In 2020, the state expanded the mandate to require all new passenger vehicle sales to be  zero-emission by 2035. It has also implemented a Low Carbon Fuel Standard to reduce the carbon intensity of transportation fuels.

These policies provide long-term certainty for automakers to invest in electrifying their fleets. Combined with financial incentives, they have accelerated EV adoption in California to the highest levels nationwide. The state offers rebates of up to $7,500 for purchasing or leasing an electric car and up to $700 for home charger installations. 

  • Strategic Infrastructure Planning

Recognizing that charging availability is pivotal, California has invested heavily to develop a strategically planned, well-connected network. It distributed over $230 million from 2009 to 2020 to fund over 21,000 chargers statewide through the California Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Project (CALeVIP). 

State initiatives are actively implementing specific targets to equip state highway corridors, multi-unit dwellings, disadvantaged communities, and destination locations with sufficient fast chargers. They aim to establish over 500 DC fast charging and 200 hydrogen stations along highway routes by 2025. The proximity of chargers encourages Californians to “go electric.”

  • Private Sector Catalysts

Silicon Valley’s tech giants like Tesla, Chargepoint, and Volta chargers have emerged as leaders in EV innovation and charging solutions. Tesla’s proprietary Supercharger network now has over 30,000 connectors in the state. Other companies are rapidly expanding their public fast charging backbone, collaborating with state agencies, auto dealers, and fuel stations.

By riding on policies that attract private capital, California has created an ideal ecosystem for EVs to thrive. Its research universities further drive the development of advanced battery technologies essential for mass adoption. This public-private synergy has elevated the Golden State way ahead of others in driving the electrification of transportation.

2. Washington

According to the Recurrent Auto Reports, there are about 1,820 charging stations with a total of 4,858 charging ports in Washington. Moreover, there are 3,563 Level 2 charging ports and 912 DC Fast Charging EVSE ports. The growth of EV chargers has risen at least 133% since 2016.

With over 104,050 EVs registered, Washington State is emerging as a major player in the Pacific Northwest region. Being home to tech giants like Microsoft provides a conducive environment for EVs to take off. Washington harnesses its abundance of renewable hydropower resources through smart policies to promote electrified mobility.

  • Clean Energy Standards  

Washington enforces a Clean Energy Transformation Act requiring utilities to be carbon-neutral by 2030 and obtain 100% of their electricity from renewable or non-emitting sources by 2045. This creates a mandate for utilities to support EVs and invest in charging infrastructure development.

  • Financial Incentives  

Like California, Washington offers rebates of up to $7,500 for purchasing EVs through its Clean Vehicle Rebate Program. It also provides property tax exemptions for EVs and funding for setting up workplace and multi-unit dwelling charging stations. These economic incentives play a key role in uplifting demand.

  • Strategic Partnerships

The state jointly plans its DC fast charging network buildout with private partners like Electrify America and EVgo using $112 million from the Volkswagen diesel emissions settlement fund. The state has identified priority corridors where 50kW and above fast chargers will be installed along highways, including remote areas, to eliminate range anxiety.  

  • Green Initiatives by Local Leaders

Cities like Seattle and Bellevue have emerged as major EV hubs through their sustainability commitments. For example, Seattle aims to make all new buildings EV-ready and replace 30% of the municipal fleet with EVs by 2025. Collective action by various stakeholders in Washington is propelling the state to become a leader in clean transportation.

3. New York

With close to 158,000 EVs on the roads, New York City is building out its electric vehicle charging infrastructure through concerted public and private efforts. According to Volta, a charging installation company, there are approximately 1,500 public chargers within NYC and surrounding suburbs. Within Manhattan, 56 public charging ports exist within a 15km radius, all of which are Level 2. Notably, 89% of these ports offer free EV charging. Across the broader New York-Newark-Jersey City metropolitan area, over 7,600 public charging stations have been deployed so far, with nearly 2,000 being free to use. 

Through targeted investments and strategic private partnerships, the region is establishing extensive charging coverage. It aims to both drive EV adoption and support existing electric vehicle drivers.

  • EV Mandates and Regulations  

New York has adopted California’s ZEV rules requiring automakers to deliver an increasing percentage of zero-emission vehicles annually. Most notably, New York will require all new passenger cars, pickup trucks and SUVs sold in the state to be zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) by 2035. To reach this target, 35% of new vehicle sales must be ZEVs by 2026. However, the state intends to have 850,000 ZEVs on the road by 2025.

  • Multi-Billion Dollar Investments

As part of its $300 billion infrastructure investment plan, New York will spend $570 million on EV charging buildout through 2025. This includes $250 million for installing chargers along public streets, in multifamily homes, and at workplaces through NYClean Charge. Another $220 million will support fast-charging corridors under the NY Electrify program. 

  • Strategic Planning

New York’s newly published Transportation Electrification Roadmap lays down geographic targets to deploy 6,000 Level 2 and DC fast chargers along highway routes and multimodal hubs by 2025. Utilities like Con Edison, Central Hudson, and NY Power Authority are working with private operators to fill gaps and create a seamless network.

  • Municipal Commitment

Apart from New York City, other major metros like Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, and Albany are signing up with programs like EVmatch to incentivize building workplace chargers. Local governments are amending codes to mandate charging infrastructure in new construction projects as well. These coordinated efforts are boosting EV adoption and supporting further growth.

4. Texas

According to the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles, over 8,000 EVs were registered in 2016. As of June 2023, that number had increased more than 20-fold to over 200,000 registrations, making Texas the second-largest EV market nationwide after California.

Projections from Navigant Research predicted close to 100,000 EVs in Texas by 2023, a mark that was exceeded well ahead of schedule.

Texas is working to expand charging infrastructure in step with EV uptake. Over 1,000 charging stations were operational as of late 2021, growing to over 2,000 stations currently. The US Department of Energy further reported a doubling of stations from 1,235 in 2020 to over 2,200 stations and 6,700 connectors statewide by April 2021.

  • Open Market Policy Stance

While Texas doesn’t regulate vehicle emissions or mandate charging infrastructure, its free market, pro-business policies have attracted numerous EV and charging companies. Local governments also provide tax incentives to businesses that install EV supply equipment. This hands-off approach lets private investment steer growth.

  • Rapid Deployment by Companies  

Tesla leads with over 550 Superchargers in Texas along major corridors. New stations are rapidly filling charging deserts. Other operators like Blink, EVgo, and ChargePoint are also deploying DC fast and Level 2 chargers across malls, parks, offices, and along highways. They aim to equip Texas drivers with abundant accessible options.

  • New Road Trip Tourism  

Natural sights like Big Bend National Park and cities like Austin and San Antonio are advertising their multiple nearby charging sites to attract EV road-trippers. An increasing public charging network is supporting adventurous drives across the Lone Star State. 

5. Florida

Florida has rapidly become one of the top electric vehicle (EV) markets in the United States, registering nearly 96,000 EVs and installing close to 3,000 public and private charging stations statewide. Several factors have contributed to this growth.

  • EV Mandates and Regulations

Like California, Florida has adopted zero-emission vehicle rules requiring automakers to deliver a greater percentage of EVs each year. City fleets are also mandated to electrify light-duty vehicles under the Green New Deal program.

  • Multi-Billion Dollar Investments

As part of a $300 billion infrastructure plan, Florida will spend $570 million through 2025 on EV charging infrastructure, including $250 million for public chargers and $220 million for fast charging corridors.

  • Strategic Planning

The Florida Department of Transportation continues adding dozens of new fast chargers biannually along the I-4 corridor, with over 50 sites now. The aim is to equip all turnpike plazas with fast charging.

  • Municipal Commitment

Cities provide rebates and subsidies for residential and workplace charging, and transition bus and taxi fleets to electric models. Coastal communities have established electric ferries and water taxis while expanding port charging options.

Through long-term policies, funding incentives and partnerships, Florida has accelerated EV adoption and infrastructure growth, cementing its position as a leading EV market.

6. Oregon

Oregon has seen significant growth in electric vehicle adoption and charging infrastructure expansion. Several factors have supported this progress.

  • EV Mandates and Regulations

Like neighboring states, Oregon has adopted zero-emission vehicle rules in alignment with California. New rules will require manufacturers to sell only zero-emission vehicles starting in 2035.

  • Multi-Billion Dollar Investments

Oregon has leveraged federal and Volkswagen settlement funds through Electrify America to invest in charging stations. Initial investments covered fast chargers along major highways like I-5 and I-84 as well as popular coastal and Central Oregon routes.

  • Strategic Planning

The state’s EV charging plan focuses on coordination between agencies, tribes, utilities and private operators. Similarly, regional planning identifies the potential gaps to maximize EV access.

  • Municipal Commitment

Portland has North America’s most extensive urban fast-charging network, with nearly 800 locations. Southern Oregon cities host dozens of commercial fast and level 2 plazas supported through utilities. 

Through long-term policies, substantial allocated funding, and strategic partnerships across sectors, Oregon has accelerated EV and infrastructure growth. This coordinated approach has made it a national leader with some of the highest adoption rates in the United States.

StateTotal EVs (2)Level 1 Ports (1)Level 2 Ports (1)DCFC Ports (1)Total Ports (1)Ratio: EVs to Charger Ports
New York106,0241557747586,54716.19
New Jersey66,5551410955011,61041.34
North Carolina32,7821518384342,28714.33
South Carolina8,982359916776911.68
New Hampshire7,17152118930523.51
District of Columbia6,13318614396719.14
New Mexico4,842426812539712.2
Rhode Island4,69520466355219.01
West Virginia1,7951196692666.75
South Dakota1,015084631476.9
North Dakota656073611344.9

Lagging States for EV Adoption and Charging Infrastructure 

While some states have progressed significantly in promoting EVs and building charging networks, others continue to lag behind. This section analyzes five major states facing challenges and identifies policy gaps hindering their progress.

1. North Dakota

According to an iSeeCars study, North Dakota currently faces challenges in the widespread adoption of electric vehicles. The study found the state has only 62 public EV chargers, the lowest nationwide. Without EV tax credits or rebates from the state, North Dakota lacks supportive policies that incentivize going electric.

The lack of charging infrastructure makes it difficult for residents concerned about range, particularly in North Dakota’s expansive rural landscapes with frigid winters that further stress battery life. These factors threaten to impede the state from achieving its goal of a 20% EV market share by 2035.

With far and away the fewest charging stations per capita of any state, long-distance travel also presents challenges without adequate rapid charging options along major routes. Political debates around biofuels, emissions standards, and emerging technologies have further complicated North Dakota’s energy transition.

Unless North Dakota boosts investments to expand charging networks and adopt purchase incentives that encourage EV uptake, analysts say the state may struggle to build out sustainable transportation in line with national trends and consumer demand shifting toward electric-powered vehicles. Addressing range anxiety and charging access will be key to accelerating the EV transition.

2. Wyoming

Wyoming struggles with insufficient electric vehicle charging infrastructure coverage, given its low 1.5 public chargers per 100k residents. As one of the largest states by land area, this sparse number of chargers results in severe issues for drivers across its broad geography. Additionally, the lack of fast charging options in cities like Cheyenne and Casper prevents workplace charging for commuters. 

The state doesn’t provide any supportive policies or funding programs to encourage private sector development of charging infrastructure. 

Moreover, Wyoming has a relatively low ratio of 4.2 EVs per charger due to its small population. The infrastructure remains insufficient even for current electric vehicle drivers, given the state’s vast territory and lack of policy initiatives.

3. Mississippi

Mississippi faces significant barriers to widespread electric vehicle adoption due to its lack of public charging infrastructure and supportive policies. With one of the lowest numbers of electric vehicle charging stations per capita nationwide, Mississippi has not established the necessary infrastructure for consumers concerned about convenient refueling options.

Likewise, the state has fallen behind others in supporting the growth of public charging locations as the EV market expands, failing to meet rising consumer demand.  While the nationwide charging network gradually expands, Mississippi has not invested sufficiently to establish a robust in-state system. This gap compounds a range anxiety issues for current and prospective EV owners in the state.

Take Away

The growing disparities in EV charging infrastructure deployment between the states present both challenges and opportunities. States that actively support the transition to EV through promotional policies, targeted funding initiatives, and public-private partnerships are establishing the backbone for sustainable transportation networks of the future. However, without dedicated efforts to close infrastructure gaps, some regions risk falling further behind in the inevitable electrification of driving. Coordinated action across all levels of government will be indispensable to ensure every community, urban and rural alike, shares in the economic and environmental benefits of this emerging market.