Georgia state incentives help in Atlanta
Nissan LEAF is the best selling Nissan model in Portland, San Francisco, and Seattle. It doesn’t take rocket science to figure out why. All three of these markets are densely populated with the oh so important DC quick chargers that allow for either greater trip distances, or a quick top up when running errands around town. Let’s take a look at the density of the DC quick charge infrastructure in these three areas using maps pulled from plugshare.com, our favorite crowd-sourced mapping database.
This is what the quick charge situation looks like in Portland, Oregon:
From well above Portland, around Ridgefield, down to Salem south of Portland, it seems as if it would be pretty easy to take an extended trip without fear of not being able to return home. According to PlugShare, this map shows twenty-seven stations.
Now let’s take a look at San Francisco:
From San Francisco proper down to the south bay and on into San Jose, there are so many quick charge stations that they overlap each other on the map. We maintained the same scale on each of our maps to show the proper relative density from area to area. Thirty-five locations are located on this map.
Continuing our alphabetical look at these big three LEAF markets this is what Seattle looks like:
Perhaps not quite as densely populated as Portland or the bay area, but still pretty easy to get from Tacoma to Everett up north. There are thirteen stations along the way.
While it is true that Los Angeles and Atlanta sold more units than did Portland and Seattle, other Nissan models outsold the LEAF in those markets. Georgia offers a $5,000 incentive which when combined with the $7,500 Federal tax credit provides a $12,500 price reduction. This allowed Atlanta to come in third behind San Francisco and Los Angeles. When leasing a LEAF these combined incentives create some very attractive alternatives to driving a gas guzzler. And Southern California just sells a lot of cars – electric and otherwise – which is why LA and San Diego do as well as they do.
But comparing the Southern California charging infrastructure to points north, the quick charge scarcity is easy to see. Let’s start with the greater Los Angeles market:
If one had a carefully laid out route, and it happened to coincide with the few DC quick chargers along the way, one might be able to use their LEAF for longer trips. This is such a spread out metropolitan area though that it would not be easy to cover vast distances conveniently. Only sixteen stations spread over this large area. Finally, let’s take a look at the San Diego market:
A grand total of eight quick charge stations. One of the eight is only for use by the San Diego Gas & Electric fleet, and one other is not yet online. To be fair there is one location that is not shown. It is roughly fifty miles northeast of San Diego. If I were to guess, I would guess that it has not been a high-use station since coming online.
While early efforts to install public charging stations specified 240-volt Level 2 charging docks, it is clear that the driving force for electric vehicle (EV) uptake is having a robust Level 3 infrastructure in place if not heavily subsidized by the state government in addition to the federal government. At some point, incentives are going to go away. Infrastructure doesn’t. It seems like a no brainer to figure out how to sell more EVs.