It’s Official: Electric Vehicles Have Gone Mainstream in California

Well ahead of every other US state, California has now surpassed the magic 16% share of new light passenger vehicle being electric, and has “crossed the chasm” into the early majority phase of the widely-accepted technology adoption curve (Rogers Diffusion of Innovation). 

Rogers Diffusion of Innovation - technology adoption curve-chart
Chart by Laura McDonald, EVAdoption

While in Q1 2022 the US overall reached 6.24% when combining the sales share of both BEVs and PHEVs, California was nearly three times higher at 18.35%. And when just looking at the BEV sales share, California reached 15.78%, versus 4.9% for the US overall — 3.2 times the US BEV sales share.

California Q1 2022 Sales Share by Powertrain-7.24.22-chart

With gas prices likely to remain higher than normal in California for the next year or so, combined with the continued adoption of EVs and regular hybrids, it is possible California will reach 50% of new light passenger vehicle sales before the end of 2025 when combining BEV, PHEV, FCEV and regular hybrid sales. And EV sales should easily surpass 20% in 2022 and potentially reach 30% by the end of 2024.

California Reaches 29.9 Percent Alternative Powertrain Sales Share-7.24.22-chart

When looking at the YOY change in sales share by powertrain, BEVs saw a 91.7% increase, with FCEVs increasing 13%, regular hybrids 7.6%, while PHEVs saw a 7.9% decline in sales share. The decline in PHEV sales share was driven by an actual decline in sales of 17.6% from 11,938 in Q1 2021 to 9,833 in Q1 2022.

YOY Sales Share Increase-Q1 2022 vs Q1 2021-7.24.22-chart
Loren McDonald

Loren McDonald


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