Transportation

Electric Vehicle Sales and Infrastructure

Improved more than 1 percent from
2015 to 2016

How are we doing?

Sales of new electric vehicles (EVs) received a thumbs-up because the rate of sales continued to rise in San Diego County from 12.9 to 14 EVs per 10,000 residents from 2015 to 2016. However, when compared to other major urban counties in California, San Diego’s total number of electric vehicles on the road remained modest at 56 EVs per 10,000 residents, below the state average of 62. Charging infrastructure is still gaining traction at about one charging station per 10,000 residents in most San Diego areas. See more information.

The rate of electric vehicle sales continued to rise in San Diego County from 12.9 to 13.9 per 10,000 people from 2015 to 2016. This was not the case for many California counties as the rate of electric vehicle sales for California in total was down from 16.0 to 15.2 per 10,000 people from 2015 to 2016.

Data Sources: California Department of Finance, E-4 Population Estimates, 2017; Center for Sustainable Energy, California Air Resources Board Clean Vehicle Rebate Project, Clean Vehicle Rebate Project Participation Rates: The First Five Years, 2015; Center for Sustainable Energy, California Air Resources Board Clean Vehicle Rebate Project, Rebate Statistics, 2017

Why is it important?

  • California has a strong framework of zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) regulations and goals, as outlined in ZEV Action Plan—a roadmap to get to 1.5 million ZEVs on California roadways by 2025.
  • Curbing tailpipe emissions and improving vehicle efficiency will help the state meet its greenhouse gas reduction targets and reduce harmful pollutants that are causing elevated levels of smog and other health hazards.
  • More EV charging stations and infrastructure promotes the adoption and use of these cleaner and cheaper-to-operate transportation options.

Within San Diego County, the city of Del Mar has the highest rate of both total electric vehicles at 813 per 10,000 residents and public charging sites at 14 per 10,000 residents. The rest of San Diego’s cities averaged less than 200 total EVs per 10,000 residents and less than three charging station per 10,000 residents.

Data Sources: California Department of Finance, E-4 Population Estimates, 2017; Center for Sustainable Energy, California Air Resources Board Clean Vehicle Rebate Project, Clean Vehicle Rebate Project Participation Rates: The First Five Years, 2015; Center for Sustainable Energy, California Air Resources Board Clean Vehicle Rebate Project, Rebate Statistics, 2017; U.S. Department of Energy, Alternative Fuels Data Center, 2017

San Diego’s total number of electric vehicles per 10,000 people remained modest compared to Santa Clara that boasts nearly 200 EVs per 10,000 residents and Orange County at 93 EVs. San Diego’s 56 EVs per 10,000 people is below the state average of 62.

Data Sources: California Department of Finance, E-4 Population Estimates, 2017; Center for Sustainable Energy, California Air Resources Board Clean Vehicle Rebate Project, Clean Vehicle Rebate Project Participation Rates: The First Five Years, 2015; Center for Sustainable Energy, California Air Resources Board Clean Vehicle Rebate Project, Rebate Statistics, 2017

  Idea for Change

Policymakers should consider developing incentive programs that motivate consumers to swap out older, polluting vehicles for cleaner ones including electric vehicles. Similar programs are currently operating in the greater Los Angeles area, and funding from the state is available for such programs. For example, the Enhanced Fleet Modernization Program (EFMP) is a scrap-and-replace program that gives incentives to individuals who scrap their older, polluting vehicle to buy a cleaner new or used car depending on the type of vehicle they purchase and income level. Learn more.

  Bright Spot

Plug-in SD provides local stakeholders strategic and technical guidance to accelerate the adoption of plug-in electric vehicles and deployment of charging stations in the San Diego region. The program promotes streamlined EV charging permitting, inspection and installation best practice resources for local governments and installers as well as technical assistance to help property owners and others overcome knowledge barriers. Plug-in SD has increased awareness of financial and environmental benefits of EVs by engaging with new car dealerships and direct workplace promotion. Learn more.

  What are we measuring?

We measure electric vehicle sales and infrastructure by calculating the number of electric vehicle sales per 10,000 people in San Diego and other urban counties from Clean Vehicle Rebate Project (CVRP) records and estimated CVRP participation rates. Secondary measurements include the number of EVs and publicly accessible EV charging sites per 10,000 residents in San Diego County jurisdictions as well as the total number of EVs per 10,000 people in major urban counties. Learn more about the data.