We buy cars to match our lives. For some drivers, that is a compact commuter like the Chevy Bolt. For others, it is a long-range road tripper like the Tesla Model S. Our cars often reflect who we are and how we spend our days.
Part of that equation is where we live. It’s the reason that you might pay a premium for all-wheel drive to navigate the winter months or spare the extra battery expense if you live in a more temperate climate.
Recurrent studied used EV sales trends with our partner Marketcheck across +50k US dealerships. It revealed a lot about electric cars and the people who drive them.
You'll notice in this map that not every state is categorized due to lower volumes of used EV sales. If a state had fewer than 100 used electric cars sold in the last 90 days, we did not highlight it. But, things are changing fast.
As of January 2022, Arizona had the 11th highest used EV inventory in the country. Six months later, it is now the fifth highest used EV inventory behind California, Texas, Florida, and New York. This rise shows how much attention and interest the EV market has in many states that were previously underrepresented.
Note that we only track battery electric and plug-in hybrid models – traditional hybrids like the original Toyota Prius are excluded.
1. Tesla Rules the Road
Tesla continues to be the most popular used electric car brand across the board. As of 2021, used Teslas made up 26% of the used market nationally, but that has risen to 60% as of November 2022. The state by state percentage of Teslas varies from 30% of inventory in some states, like Wisconsin and Michigan (see #4), to almost 100% in states with small EV inventories, such as Hawaii and Montana.
By the way, the high Tesla inventory numbers do not mean that only Teslas are driven in these states - it means that's what's for sale. In 2021, Hawaii inventory was dominated by Nissan LEAFs, but presumably, these have all been bought up!
2. TX + TSLA
Roughly 70% of Texas inventory is Teslas, making Texas disproportionately a used Tesla state. Despite the fact that many Teslas will be made in Texas, including the Cybertruck and Model Y, an interesting legal quirk means that brand new, Texas-made Teslas cannot easily be sold to Texans! Texas has a Direct To Consumer (DTC) ban on automotive sales, meaning that Tesla’s usual online sales model is not allowed. Used Teslas do have a proportionally higher share of the market in Texas than in other states -- could this be due to the DTC sales ban? Are eager Texas Tesla drivers opting for used vehicles rather than jumping through the necessary hoops to get their hand on a new car? Georgia is another state with a DTC ban that sees Teslas make up 35% of its used EV sales.
3. More Ford Models
Maine, Missouri, and Puerto Rico used EV inventories are almost entirely Ford models - and mostly 2022 models, at that. Puerto Rico has both Ford F-150 lightnings and 2022 Mach-Es in inventory! In fact, 62% of Ford inventory across the country is Mach-Es, and almost 16% is the F-150 Lightning. Perhaps this is due to extremely high resale prices that make car flipping hard to resist?
4. Midwest Loyalty?
Much like in 2021, Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, Minnesota, Missouri, Kansas, and Iowa all favor Chevrolet, but the market share is shifting to Tesla in many of these states. The Bolt is constructed at GM’s Orion, Michigan plant, and the Volt at factories in and around Detroit. Is this a product of midwestern brand saturation and loyalty? Wil this trend continue as GM releases new electric models in 2023 and beyond?
Another possible explanation is the relative lack of superchargers in these states compared to coastal regions. The Chevy Bolt comes with an optional DC fast charging add-on, but supercharging does not come standard on either the LT or the Premiere trim.
5. A Season for LEAFs
Washington is dominated by Nissan LEAF. This could be explain by the region’s (typically) temperate climate. We know that the LEAF is one of the few EVs that lacks liquid cooled battery management systems, meaning that it can be particularly sensitive to hot climates. This is especially true in pre-2015 LEAF models, before Nissan switched to a more heat-resistant battery system. Recent weather trends notwithstanding, the relatively cool year-round temperatures in Washington generally make the LEAF a better bet than in Arizona or New Mexico.