The makers of PlugShare - an app that helps users locate electric vehicle charging stations nearby - have tapped the app's user base for some interesting EV trends. Based on the incidence of charging stations per 100,000 residents, (taken from PlugShare's data as well as the 2012 U.S. Census) PlugShare developer Xatori Inc. has ranked the top ten most EV-ready cities in the country.
Leading the pack is Portland, Ore., with 11.0 charging locations per 100,000 residents, followed by Dallas (10.6), Nashville (8.2), San Francisco Bay Area (6.6), Seattle (6.5), Orlando (6.3), Austin (5.3), Tucson (5.3), Honolulu (5.1), and the Washington, D.C. area (4.7).
While several of these cities may seem like unlikely hotspots for electric vehicle adoption, most of these areas do have a connection to EVs. Dallas is one of the focus areas for a Texas-based electric vehicle infrastructure company; Nashville is home to a factory that builds Nissan Leafs; Orlando is a focus area for charging station distributor CarCharging; Tucson is a focus area for Arizona-based EV infrastructure company Blink, and Honolulu, an early testing location for Israeli EV infrastructure company Better Place.
Forrest North, CEO and Co-Founder of Xatori, said that North America's EV charging infrastructure is growing at an impressive clip. "[PlugShare] started a year and a half ago, and when we started there were a total of 500 charging stations in the U.S. and Canada," he said. "Now, we are adding 500 a month."
Xatori also highlighted the average savings for EV users, which it gathered from GreenCharge, another of its apps. Based on a sample size of approximately 1,000, Xatori found that EV users drive on average 1,050 miles per month; they spend approximately $30 a month on electricity to charge their vehicles (based on consumers' local energy prices); and they save on average $75 a month on gasoline (based on a $3.50 average fuel price) and around 360 lbs of CO2 per month (based on the 22 mpg U.S. average for fuel economy).
North sees a bright future for electric vehicles. He argues that with lease prices on electric vehicles dropping considerably within the last year (as well as significant fuel savings compared to gasoline-powered cars), EVs are swiftly becoming more affordable than their gas-powered counterparts.
"If you're a commuter, that's a no-brainer," he said.
Looking ahead, North estimates that 65 percent of cars on the road will be electric within ten years. By some estimates, that is the percentage of American families that own more than one car. "In the next ten years," said North, "one of those cars will be an EV."