Electric vehicle sales share — the percentage of new light passenger vehicle (LPV) sales that are electric (BEV & PHEV) — has become the most commonly used metric to gauge EV adoption in a market. And it is an important metric, as the number of new EV sales and sales share percentage provide insight into consumers’ willingness to buy EVs and how quickly we will replace the stock of ICE vehicles.
But for us at EVAdoption, the more important metric to use for making business decisions and understanding the impact on GHG reduction is the percent of electric vehicles in operation (VIO) — When will EVs negatively impact our oil-changing business?; How many chargers should we install at our hotel?; When will our utility need to upgrade transformers or add power generation?
And of course, based on where you are located in the US, the reality of these metrics can be very different. California, for example, is on track to reach or exceed 20% — or one of every five new vehicle purchases — being BEV or PHEV by the end of 2022.
But how does this huge growth in new EV sales translate to the number of EVs on the road? We’ve now reached 4%, or four out of 100 vehicles on the road in California being BEV or PHEV. While this doesn’t sound very impressive, it is a doubling from just a few years ago. However, using the CARB 2035 targets, my forecast for the electric vehicle in operation percentage would reach 36.5% in 2035. Meaning 13 years from now, more than 1 out of every three vehicles on the road in California will be electric.
While that is significant growth, it also means that nearly 24 million gas-powered vehicles will still be on the road in California in 2035. In parallel to our EV push, we need to get rid of old gas guzzlers, push regular hybrids, and get people out of cars and move people to other forms of mobility.