Electric Drive

What is an Electric Drive Vehicle?

Consumers today can choose from more than 40 models of electric-drive vehicles (EVs), including fuel-cell electric vehicles (FCEVs), battery-electric vehicles (BEVs), and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs). With second generation technology now in the market, there are more EV sizes, shapes, and options than ever before. These vehicles offer fun and exciting options for consumers and provide an environmental benefit because they do not emit tailpipe emission from their primary onboard power sources.


What Does the Market Look Like Today?

Despite efforts by industry, policymakers, and other stakeholders, many challenges remain in increasing consumer adoption of EVs due to market conditions, infrastructure availability, and purchasing preferences.

With more than 40 models of EVs available today, sales of these vehicles are increasing, especially in the state of California where over 50 percent of the EV sales each year are happening. Other states have far to go to catch up with California and need to fully invest in other efforts to update, support and/or improve upon the EV market, including electric charging networks, hydrogen refueling stations, and consumer purchase incentives. EV sales outside of California have barely increased above one percent (1%) of new vehicle sales. Learn more about electric vehicle sales in each state.

In addition, a Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) sales mandate exists in California and nine other states that requires automakers to sell increasing volumes of EVs each year through 2025. In addition to the mandate, many of these states have individual goals to improve electric vehicle sales but have yet to devote funding on par with California’s investment to bolster the market. For more information about states’ progress on their ZEV mandates, please see our Quarterly Market Reports.

The States

What Role Can the States Play in EV Sales?

While automakers are making significant investments in EVs, states also play a critical role in helping build a sustainable green vehicle market. Ongoing year-after-year investment is needed by states in these areas:

  • Consumer Incentives (such as rebates and tax credits)
  • Access to HOV and HOT Lanes
  • Electric Charging and Hydrogen Refueling Station Development
  • Public Awareness

The state of California has invested hundreds of millions of dollars to build electric charging networks and hydrogen refueling stations, provide vehicle rebates and other consumer-based incentives, and grow consumer awareness. These efforts have paid off through increased consumer EV adoption and should serve as a model for other states. Yet, other markets continue to lag significantly behind California, demonstrating that far more state investment is needed to build robust EV markets and grow consumer interest outside of California.

Incentives have been proven to increase consumer interest and support growth of EV sales throughout the country. And the opposite is true: states that have reduced or removed incentives have seen EV sales drop off significantly following such action. Global Automakers advocates for sustainable, long-term incentives in states to ensure the EV market continues to grow.

Infrastructure extends the functionality of EVs to fit customers’ lifestyles. Moreover, available and visible electric charging stations relieve customer “range anxiety,” one of the major perceived barriers to EV adoption. Hydrogen refueling stations allow longer-range, fast-refueling FCEVs to enter the market. States have a unique opportunity now to use a maximum of 15% of funding made available under Appendix D of the VW Settlement Funds to grow availability of their electric charging and hydrogen refueling stations. Global Automakers urges all states to use these funds as a starting point to support the EVs rapidly entering the market.

Public awareness is also necessary to make sure that consumers understand and ultimately choose electric-drive technologies when they buy or lease their next vehicle. In the coming years, automakers are estimated to launch more than 80 EVs, but all stakeholders must be in engaged in efforts now to ensure a sustainable and robust market for these vehicles. To help promote EVs, several northeast states and automakers launched a consumer awareness campaign, “Drive Change. Drive Electric.,” that to encourages consumers to go electric. This year the campaign expanded with Destination Electric, highlighting local businesses near EV charging infrastructure in fourteen northeastern cities.