If you see someone driving out of a new car dealership in the Bay Area, there’s about a one in four chance they’re in an electric vehicle.
Nearly 27% of new cars registered in the nine-county Bay Area in the first half of 2022 were zero-emission vehicles, according to county vehicle registration data from the California Energy Commission. The vast majority of these vehicles were fully electric, although some were plug-in hybrids and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.
In the Bay Area, there is a lot of variation between counties. In San Mateo and Santa Clara counties, more than 30% of new vehicles were zero-emissions. Marin and Alameda were both just under 30%. San Francisco came in at 26% and Contra Costa at 22%. These six counties round out the top of the list of zero-emission new car sales by county in California. In Solano, Napa and Sonoma counties, less than 20% of new cars were zero-emissions.
In San Francisco, 3,871 zero-emission vehicles were sold in the first half. Of these, 2,351, or 60%, were Teslas. The rest was fairly evenly split among the other automakers. The second most popular automaker is Volvo with 222 new zero-emission vehicles registered in San Francisco, the majority of which were plug-in hybrids. The City’s most popular all-electric model not made by Tesla is the Polestar 2, which sold 86 cars in the first half.
The adoption of electric vehicles in the Bay Area is significantly higher than the rest of California and the United States. Statewide, just over 16% of new vehicles were zero-emissions in the first half of 2022. In Los Angeles and San Diego counties, zero-emission vehicles accounted for 16% of new car sales. In Kern County in the Central Valley, where Bakersfield is located, 6% of new vehicles were zero-emissions. And in remote Modoc County in the northeast corner of the state, no new zero-emission cars have been registered.
A recent Bloomberg analysis found that just over 5% of new vehicles nationwide were electric in the first quarter of 2022. That’s significant, according to the analysis, because the 5% “signals the start of the mass adoption of electric vehicles, the period when technological preferences are changing rapidly. .” If the United States follows the “adoption curve” of peer countries, a quarter of new vehicle sales are expected to be electric by the end of 2025.
In the UK and China, 16% of new car sales are currently electric. In Norway, the country with the highest share of electric vehicles, 83% of new car sales are electric.
California and the Bay Area have a long way to go, but we’re on the right track.
This article has been updated with specific numbers for the percentage of new zero-emission vehicles in the Bay Area and California.