The Best (and Worst) Metro Areas for Electric Cars


Even as more workers free themselves from the daily commute in the new work-from-home economy, demand for cars in the United States is soaring, in part because of low interest rates and government stimulus checks. Fortunately for the environmentally minded consumer, more automakers are pushing into the electric-car market.

For those considering a battery-powered car, StorageCafé recently examined the 100 most populated metropolitan areas in the United States, and ranked each for electric-vehicle friendliness (and other green characteristics).

The rate of “electric-vehicle adoption,” one of four categories considered in the analysis, counted for 70 percent of each metro’s score. The other categories were “infrastructure,” measuring the abundance of charging stations and the costs of charging relative to filling up, as well as green municipal features like HOV lanes; “environment,” measuring sustainable public transit, car-pooling, air quality and use of renewable energy; and “self-storage availability,” as stowing away autos is common for multivehicle owners, according to the report.

San Jose, Calif., came out on top, with the most public charging stations per capita (2.4 per 1,000 residents) and 73,810 electric vehicles currently on the road, the third-highest amount behind Los Angeles (230,940) and San Francisco (122,404). Washington, D.C., and Atlanta were the only East Coast metros to crack the top 10.

Range anxiety — the fear of running out of power before reaching a charging station — is more common in less densely populated areas, and likely a major obstacle to widespread adoption. Jackson, Miss., came in last in the “adoption” category, leading it to the bottom of the rankings, and the sprawling metros of McAllen and El Paso, Texas, came in 98th and 99th.

And what about the New York City area? Placing fourth in the “adoption” category (70,900 electric vehicles on the road) helped it rank 12th overall, but its score was hurt by middling marks in the “infrastructure” and “environment” categories. Speaking as a New Yorker: Where would you park it anyway?

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