In Q1 2023, California overall reached 21.1% ZEV sales share, while the average ZEV sales share by county was 15% and the median was 13.1%. The Golden State had four counties (those with at least 50 ZEV sales in the quarter) with a greater than 30% ZEV sales share. (ZEV sales share is the number of new ZEVs sold as a percentage of total light passenger vehicles sold in the same time period.)
Alameda topped the charts with an amazing 37.9% “ZEV” sales share in the quarter. Said another way, in Alameda county (e.g., cities including Oakland, Berkeley, Alameda, etc.) nearly 4 of every 10 new vehicles purchased were either a BEV, PHEV, or FCEV (fuel cell EV). The top-five counties were all in Northern California, while at 24.7% and number 7 on the list, Orange county was the highest-ranked county in Southern California.
Among all counties (including those with fewer than 50 ZEVs sold in the quarter):
- Mean: 15%
- Median: 13.1%
- Top Quartile: 20.5%
- Bottom Quartile: 8.2%
- Highest: Alpine 38.5% (5 ZEVs)
- Lowest: Modoc 2.2% (1 ZEV)
No surprise, the high-adopting counties are urban/suburban counties with higher-income households, and the low-adopting counties are in more rural with lower-median household incomes. The top 25% of counties with the highest ZEV sales share had an average sales share of 2.5 times that of the bottom 25% of counties.
Note: The California Energy Commission (CEC) uses the term “ZEV – zero emission vehicle” that includes BEVs, PHEVs, and FCEVs. While BEVs and FCEVs do not emit tailpipe emissions, all three types of vehicles the CEC refers to as “ZEV” do produce emissions during their production and when charged or fueled.