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Washington Electric Vehicle Trends

Washington Electric Vehicle Trends

Washington State is quickly heading towards an all-electric future with cars. Electric car adoption in Washington is already amongst the highest in the country. This year, the legislature passed a “Zero Emissions Transportation Future” bill to mandate that all passenger and light-duty model year 2030 or later vehicles purchased, sold or registered in the state be electric. 

Reaching a goal of only zero-emission passenger vehicles on the street by 2030 means a 40% annual increase in EVs – which may not be impossible. Since 2016, Washington has seen a 188% increase in EV registrations. This graph below showing vehicle registration data from the US Department of Energy illustrates that as of 2020, the only state that Washington is behind in vehicle registrations is California. Normalized by population, Washington’s EV registrations are 5.6% to California’s 8%.

Can Washington support more electric vehicles?

Cheap and Clean Electricity

Washington is a great place to own an EV because electricity is cheaper and cleaner compared to many other places in the country. It has the fourth lowest electricity rate in the country thanks to low operating costs of hydroelectric. Around 77% of Washington’s electricity comes from hydropower.

The cost of electricity is even better looking when you compare it to the high gas prices all along the West Coast. The Institute for Energy Research ranks Washington the fourth lowest electricity cost in the country, and it’s usually among the four highest for gas cost.

Temperate Climate is Good for EV Battery Health

For most of Washington state, particularly west of the Cascade Mountains, the climate is temperate, which is good for both short-term range and long-term battery life. In short, cold weather reduces EV range. AAA tested the range effects of 20F degree weather on several popular EVs and found that temperature alone could reduce range by 10-12%, while the use of in-vehicle climate control could amplify range loss to 40%. You can read more about the effects of extreme temperatures on battery health.

Charging Infrastructure

The Alternative Fuels Data Center counts 1,501 public charging stations in Washington State (with over 3,000 ports) – this represents an increase of 133% in just five years. While many of the chargers are clustered around Seattle, this is also the area most likely to have EV owners without easy access to at-home charging.

A bill proposed this year, Washington State senate bill 5192 “Interoperability among publicly available EV charging stations,” aims to create standards and reciprocity between different public charging station vendors, requiring a wide range of payment options and information sharing. The intended effect is a more cohesive and integrated charging infrastructure for statewide use. The Washington State Department on Transportation also offers commercial grants to build and maintain EV charging stations along highway corridors. Our local charging network continues to grow and get stronger.

What are the tax incentives and rebates for EV buyers in Washington?

There is a sales/use tax exemption for the purchase of new EVs under $45,000 or used EVs under $30,000. This exemption extends to the purchase and installation of EV infrastructure.

Washington State does charge an additional registration fee for EVs. The current fee – $150 for battery EV’s and $75 for plug in hybrids – is calculated to be around the same amount an average driver would pay in gasoline taxes each year, and is used to directly support EV infrastructure in-state (think: public chargers). The idea is that these fees will encourage future EV adoption.

Is Washington a competitive EV market?

Recurrent is gathering information from 346 EVs in WA as a part of our research fleet – here are some of the trends we’ve seen so far in WA:

  • Washington drivers have an average total odometer reading of 28,617 miles, which is comparable to the 30,892 average across the rest of the country.
  • 66% of the WA vehicles in our research group are Teslas with slightly longer average daily mileage and slightly longer average range.
  • 26% of our WA vehicles are 2018 models.
  • Average miles per day in WA is 24.5 (with a standard deviation, or “spread” of 14 mi)
  • The average EPA rated range for WA vehicles is 247 mi, while average current range is around 232.5 – meaning the average WA vehicle is in great shape compared to when purchased!

If you are already an EV driver and curious about how your battery is doing, Recurrent can help! Join us to get monthly battery reports delivered to your inbox.

–Written by Scott Case, founder and CEO of Recurrent a strategic partner of AAA Washington. Recurrent offers AAA members access to personalized battery health assessments. More information.

AAA Washington Insurance Agency is here to help. If you are looking to review your car insurance or simply have questions, call (877) 222-4678 for a free, no-obligation consultation. You also can find an agent near you, or request a quote online.

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