Understanding CA's PEV Market and Charging Infrastructure


California, already a global leader in electric vehicle development and adoption, is continuing to set more ambitious goals. Led by outgoing Governor Jerry Brown, it aims to have five million plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) on the road by 2030. Since their introduction earlier this decade, the benefits of PEV ownership, including increased driving range, better performance, state rebates, federal tax credits, and more price-friendly options, have continued to expand and improve.

Though the benefits of plug-in electric vehicles (PEV) ownership have continued to expand, to achieve state goals, the pace at which they are doing so must hasten. To enable the needed development in the state’s PEV market, battery costs must continue to fall, financial as well as alternative incentives for PEV ownership must multiply, and the selection of models must expand to meet the needs of drivers throughout the state.  Most importantly, huge investment in charging infrastructure must take place. Strategically and efficiently locating the different charging stations across California will supply enough energy to meet the demand of urban and rural residents, commuters, and those within the manufacturing and shipping industries. 

This report utilizes a quantitative approach to provide a more complete understanding of California’s PEV market and the public charging infrastructure that keeps these vehicles moving. In this report, we combine current literature with data analytics. First, we provides an overview of the PEV market, leveraging state targets to project PEV growth at the zip code, county, and state level. Based on current charging infrastructure and PEV market growth projections, we then provide a comprehensive look at future investment and demand. Though actionable insights arise from this work, it should be regarded as a baseline for future studies, from which more advanced methodologies may be built and niche topics explored.