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3p Weekend: Top 10 U.S. Cities for Electric Vehicles

Mary Mazzoni headshotWords by Mary Mazzoni
Leadership & Transparency
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With a busy week behind you and the weekend within reach, there’s no shame in taking things a bit easy on Friday afternoon. With this in mind, every Friday TriplePundit will give you a fun, easy read on a topic you care about. So, take a break from those endless email threads, and spend five minutes catching up on the latest trends in sustainability and business.

This week ChargePoint, the world’s largest electric vehicle (EV) charging network, released a list of the top 10 friendliest metropolitan areas for EV drivers.

In order to account for population differences, the company scored cities based on the number of EVs on the road and the number of charging stations available on the ChargePoint network as of Dec. 31.

Curious to see how your city stacked up? Catch the full list after the jump.

1. San Francisco Bay Area

More than 48,000 EVs are registered in the San Francisco Bay Area, the largest per-capita in the U.S. This figure rose dramatically in the past year, with about 15,000 EVs registered in the area in 2014, according to ChargePoint.

The Bay Area is also home to the nation's largest network of electric vehicle charging stations -- making it the friendliest metro area for EV drivers.

2. Los Angeles


With nearly 57,000 registered EVs, Los Angeles has the most electric vehicles on the road of any city in the country. It was barely beaten out by San Francisco, which took top billing after accounting for population differences.

Los Angeles jumped to the No. 2 spot on ChargePoint's 2015 list, after sitting comfortably at No. 6 last year.

3. Seattle


Seattle fell to No. 3, after holding the No. 2 spot on ChargePoint's list last year. Washington as a whole is a big state for EVs, with around 10,000 plug-in EVs registered in the state. EV drivers also benefit from a growing network of more than 400 charging stations -- mostly concentrated in the Puget Sound Region, which includes Seattle.

4. San Diego


In September, San Diego achieved a significant milestone: surpassing 10,000 electric vehicles on the road. The city is also home to more than 600 public charging stations to serve the growing population of EV drivers.

5. Honolulu


Hololulu kept the No. 5 spot it earned in 2014. ChargePoint found 2,300 EVs in the Honolulu region as of Dec. 31, with nearly 100 ChargePoint charging stations, Erin Mellon, director of communications, told Pacific Business News. The total number of EVs registered on the island is nearly 2,900, the paper reported.

6. Austin, Texas


Texas is fairly unique in the fact that it does not prohibit utility companies from owning EV charging stations. As such, Austin Energy operates its own charging network, supplementing the charging stations operated by private companies like ChargePoint.

Easy access to charging stations has clearly bolstered EV ownership in Austin, although the city dropped two spots on ChargePoint's list in the past year. But Austin residents waiting to buy a Tesla may soon get their wish: Bills were filed by the Texas state legislature last month that would allow the automaker's direct sales model, the Dallas Business Journal reported.

7. Detroit


It's no surprise that the Motor City has more EV owners than anywhere else in the Midwest. It's also home to a growing  network of charging stations and dedicated EV parking spots to make commuting easier for carbon-free motorists.

8. Atlanta


Atlanta boasts more than 200 EV charging stations. That number is a drop in the bucket compared to the 4,000 stations in the Bay Area but a respectable figure compared to other Southeastern cities -- and it's enough to snag Atlanta the No. 8 spot.

9. Denver


This is Denver's first appearance on the ChargePoint list, drawing the attention of the company's executives:

“Although the West Coast continues to lead the nation in EV friendliness, the fact that cities like Atlanta and Denver broke into the top 10 demonstrates that this is not regional trend, but that our nation is quickly transitioning from gas powered cars to EVs,” ChargePoint CEO Pasquale Romano said in a statement. “In cities across the country, it’s becoming easier than ever to drive an EV – and that’s good news for our industry and for our environment.”

10. Portland, Oregon


Portland dropped to No. 10 on the list, after holding the No. 7 spot last year. But the fact that other cities are catching up doesn't mean Portland is getting lax on its own EV infrastructure. Last summer, Oregon became one of eight states to adopt a new zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) action plan, aimed at kickstarting EV ownership.

In keeping with this lofty goal, Portland offers a respectable number of EV charging stations. And its modest EV ownership numbers may be due, at least in part, to Portland residents' famous preference for bikes over cars.

Editor's Note: An earlier version of this post reported that there were 2,900 charging stations in Honolulu, Hawaii. The post has been updated to reflect the fact that this figure refers to registered EVs. 

Image credit: ChargePoint

Mary Mazzoni is the Senior Editor of TriplePundit. You can follow her on Twitter @mary_mazzoni

Mary Mazzoni headshotMary Mazzoni

Mary Mazzoni, Senior Editor, has written for TriplePundit since 2013. She is also Managing Editor of CR Magazine and the Editor of 3p’s Sponsored Series. Mazzoni’s recent work can be found in Conscious CompanyAlterNet and VICE’s Motherboard. She is based in Philadelphia.

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