The United States is the third-largest electric vehicle (EV) market in the world, according to Virta. They estimated that the country has 1.2 million EVs that are active as of 2019. The EV industry is expected to only grow in the US, having developed an upward trend over recent years.

The U.S. is an ideal country to study the state of the EV industry, given the diversity of available models, variations in EV adoption, and differences in policy actions. With this, the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) analysed the development of the EV market in the US in their recently published paper, The surge of electric vehicles in United States cities.

What are the factors that will drive the growth of the EV market in the U.S.? Let’s pinpoint the main insights from this paper one by one.

Eliminating barriers

In the past years, states have been setting up in place policies that will make EV purchase attractive to consumers. At the forefront is California with its Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) program which requires carmakers to sell a certain proportion of EVs based on their non-electric sales. Other states like Colorado are starting to work on the adoption of this regulation as well.

Meanwhile, other states like New Jersey and Washington have joined the International Zero-Emission Vehicle Alliance to signify their commitment to catalyse the development of EVs.

This proactive stance will help in increasing the visibility of EVs and accelerate the creation of necessary infrastructure that will support their large-scale use in the future.

Need for diversity

ICCT has also noted that there is a need to sustain the launch of newer models if the vision is a trajectory of growth for the EV market. According to their estimates, half of the population are exposed to only 14 EV models at most, making the number of options quite a few. Putting out models in more vehicle market segments will make it easier for consumers to consider making a switch to an EV.

Sustained incentivisation

Providing consumers with perks will also make buying an EV attractive. Carpool lane access and preferential parking policies will help lower the convenience barrier especially in crowded areas. On top of this, financial incentives like EV tax credits are useful in lowering the overall cost of getting an EV. While over the years the prices of EVs have gone down, these types of incentives still need to be retained since this is also an indirect form of publicity.

Don’t forget about charging

A common source of hesitation in buying EVs is the lack of accessible charging infrastructure. The availability of public regular, public fast, and workplace charging stations are found by ICCT to be associated with higher market shares. Apart from consistent model launches, the charging infrastructure network should also be capable of keeping up and therefore must not be neglected.

If you want to know more about the EV market in the US, you can download ICCT’s paper.



Slowik, P. and Lutsev, P. (2019, June 10). The surge of electric vehicles in United States cities. Retrieved March 23, 2010 from