If you want a specific model of gas-powered car, all you need to do is drive to the nearest dealership. If one isn't available, it can either be sent to that dealership, or you can order the car from the factory. But if you want an EV, there's no guarantee that the car you want is even offered for sale in your state. The current state of EV availability is quite crappy, according to a new study from the Union of Concerned Scientists.
UCS' study looks at EV availability in the US and the automakers that offer them. When it comes to availability, it's not great. The middle of the country gets almost nothin', while California has 22 different EVs available, largely due to its zero-emissions mandates. Other states with zero-emission regulations have a higher number of EVs for sale, but they still lag behind California.
It's this variation in availability that is stymieing EV adoption rates and overall sales figures, the UCS study concludes. This has ripple effects, as well. For example, it's hard to get customers excited to learn about EVs when a state offers maybe one or two models for sale. A lack of choice can leave folks running back to the glut of available gas-powered models.
The UCS study also picked out some losers and winners among the automakers that sell EVs in the US. UCS praised BMW as the leading "traditional" automaker when it comes to EV sales a proportion of overall sales. GM and Nissan were also given high marks for huge overall EV sales with a national strategy. Tesla was also in the winners category because, well, duh.
As for the laggards, there are a few. Toyota doesn't have any plug-ins currently for sale, and its fuel-cell Mirai isn't commanding a big market. Same goes for Honda, which the UCS called out for "minimal efforts to build or sell EVs." Fiat Chrysler was also shamed for only having one EV on offer -- the Fiat 500e -- which is sold in a whopping two states.
The best course of action to expand EV adoption, UCS contends, is to follow in California's footsteps. Through regulations and incentives, the US should push to expand the number of EVs available in every state, because buyers can't purchase what isn't offered for sale in their state. You can read the study in full below.