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Sunday, May 19, 2013

Why EVs are Perfect for Oregon - Intro

Electric Avenue in Portland Oregon

When you think about electric vehicle regions in the US, you most likely think of California. California has had infamous smog problems that lead them to create their own vehicle emissions standards and the formation of the Air Resources Board. This board created the Zero Emission Mandate that requires a small and growing portion of the vehicles sold in the state to have no tailpipe. Given the current cost and complexity of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, the easiest way for vehicle manufacturers to meet this mandate is/was with battery electric vehicles.

California's neighbor to the north may not be a one of the first places that you associate with electric vehicles (EV), but a unique combination of factors have all converged in Oregon to make a great place for EVs to take root.

Oregonians are embracing plug-in vehicles (PEV) at a rate that is more than twice the national average. March PEV sales broke records nationally and Oregon was one of the highest. In the same month, the Nissan Leaf outsold all other Nissan vehicles at Portland Nissan dealerships. In Portland, more Leafs were sold than Altimas, Jukes, GT-Rs or any other vehicle that Nissan sells. In this area, Nissan's best selling vehicle was an electric car! Northwest dealerships are finding it difficult to keep the Leafs in stock.

An Edmunds.com analysis from 2012 shows that Oregon accounts for less than 1% of all new vehicle sales, yet is responsible for 1.9% of all new hybrid vehicle sales and 1.8% of all EV sales. Oregonians prefer to buy efficient vehicles at more than twice the national average. Edmunds goes on to say "Oregon has been chosen as one of the first test markets for virtually every new electric vehicle introduced in the United States."

What is it that makes plug-in vehicles so popular in Oregon? Over the next few days, we'll explore the ethos, weather, energy, economy, and several of the reasons that make EVs perfect for Oregon.

Why EVs are great for Oregon :


  1. I agree there are many factors and look forward to your next blog. Adopting ZEV so you would get a bigger variety of vehicles (than, say, we get in WA) was part of it. Taking the lead on the Green Highway and getting DC charging in the ground was very important. Statewide codes that make it easier to install EVSEs at home help. And businesses, universities and government working together so well to promote them has helped too.

  2. Thanks Chad. I forgot about the EVSE permits. I'll be sure to include this. As the saying goes, "Fish don't know they are in water" by which I mean sometimes it is hard to see how that what is normal here, is not normal everywhere. Regarding the 'working together' comment, I have that as a major point all of its own, coming soon.

  3. I also think that we need to look at air quality on a national basis which means requiring some level of zero emission vehicle availability in nearly every state including WA, OR and several other major auto markets.

    Although I am happy with my LEAF, many in WA would love the additional range that the RAV 4 EV provides. But their only recourse is to buy from a CA dealership, ship the vehicle at their own expense and risk driving a car that would have no service support. Some have taken that risk but many others are not and one can only guess is to how many are not going electric because of the LEAF's range or the Tesla's sticker price