Dec 1, 2023 - News

The Triangle's EV adoption outpaces most of the country

Electric vehicle miles traveled per 1,000 residents
Data: Replica; Map: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

The Triangle's adoption of electric vehicles stands out not only within North Carolina but nationally.

Driving the news: Wake County saw an estimated 400 electric vehicle miles driven per 1,000 residents on a typical weekday in the second quarter of 2023, Alex Fitzpatrick and Kavya Beheraj report from data shared with Axios.

  • Orange County had the highest rate in the state at 560 EV miles per 1,000 residents — the 55th highest rate for any county in the country —  followed by Chatham County at 515 EV miles.
  • Durham County posted 285 EV miles.

Between the lines: The national average is estimated to be around 227 miles, putting the Triangle's counties well ahead of the nation as a whole.

  • The areas with the most EV activity are generally those with better-developed charging infrastructure, as well as higher-income households that can more easily afford the electric car premium.
  • As an example, venture outside of the high-income area of urbanized Wake County into mostly rural Johnston County and the rate of EV miles drops to 175 miles per 1,000 residents.

How it works: The data, from mobility analytics platform Replica, is based on anonymized mobile device info, roadside sensors, transit agencies and more.

The big picture: Electric car sales are booming, but remain short of automakers' hopes and dreams as some potential buyers remain skeptical about their range, performance and cost.

  • Several major automakers, including Ford and General Motors, are recalibrating their electric car ambitions after lower-than-expected sales.
  • Car dealers, meanwhile, are kvetching about unsold EVs piling up on their lots, as Axios' Joann Muller reports.

Yes, but: Used EV prices are dropping fast, and automakers are doubling down on their investments in charging infrastructure to help solve the range anxiety issue.

  • Mercedes, for instance, is rolling out swanky "charging lounges," and partnering with several other car makers on a separate new charging network.

The bottom line: The story this map ultimately tells? The electric car revolution is happening — it's just unevenly distributed.


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