California leads the nation with all cars and total EVs registered. But, when you normalize the figures by population, Washington has 14.5 PEVs per 1,000 people. And, most of the plug-in vehicles in Washington are all electric: it has 13.36 all-electric vehicles registered per 1,000 people in Washington, versus 23.15 in California.

State EV Registrations from 2022 data

What incentives and programs does Washington offer for EV shoppers?

In Washington, the purchase of cars, light-duty trucks, and medium-duty passenger vehicles that meet alternate fuel standards - like electric vehicles - qualify for up to $1040 of tax exemption. A new vehicle must be under $45,000 to qualify and a used one, $30,000. Tax exemptions extend to the purchase and installation of EV infrastructure such as home charging. Washington is committed to a greener future and there are many state and local incentives available. It’s always a good idea to check which incentives you may qualify for, especially as some rules change each year.

The government continues to push for more and more progressive incentives, including point-of-sale rebates, which are more helpful for many low and middle income buyers than tax credits. However, many of Jay Inslee's more aggressive proposals were not passed.

It’s worth mentioning that Washington State does charge an additional registration fee for EVs. The current fee is $150 for battery EV’s and $75 for plug in hybrids. These fees are meant to be around the same amount an average driver would pay in gas taxes each year, and go towards EV infrastructure such as public chargers. Washington has the third highest gas taxes of any state, meaning a typical motorist spends about $284 a year in state gas taxes. Unlike many states that charge a disproportionately high fee for electric vehicle registrations, in Washington state EV drivers save money on state taxes.

How are Washington’s weather and terrain?

Lithium ion battery degradation is an unfortunate fact. A battery will lose some capacity and power with time even if it’s not used, but external factors such as temperature and charging behavior greatly affect the rate of degradation. In terms of an EV battery, driving style and terrain will also have an effect on longevity. The basic rules of thumb are that batteries like the same temperatures that people do: around 75 degrees. When it’s very cold, a driver will experience short term range loss, but no damage to the battery. When it’s very hot, however, an EV will have both short term range loss and potential long term damage.

Washington State has seen temperatures range from 120 degrees on June 29, 2021 to -48 degrees F in 1968. The climate between Eastern and Western Washington varies quite a bit. The temperature range in Western Washington is between 79 and 20 degrees, with significant rainfall throughout the year. Eastern Washington has less rainfall with hotter summers and colder winters, with annual temperatures ranging from 90 to 0 degrees.

Luckily, the highest population density in Washington state happens to be in a fairly temperate climate along the western edge. If you’re in a part of the state that sees very hot weather, it’s a good idea to keep your car out of direct sun in the summer and in a garage if possible. In terms of winter lows, there is no long term concern, but be aware that you might get less range and charge more slowly. You can read more about the effects of temperature on battery health.

Terrain and road conditions also affect short term EV efficiency. Like with an ICE car, you will need more energy to get up a mountain, but unlike with an ICE, an EV will be most efficient for city driving, rather than cruising on a highway. Not only does the stop and go traffic capitalize on regenerative braking, but lower speeds are more efficient and will give you more range. So, if your EV use includes a lot of mountain outings or highway trips, just be aware that you may get fewer miles than you expect.

Cheap and Clean Electricity

Another reason Washington is a great place to own an EV because electricity is cheaper and cleaner compared to many other places in the country. It has the fourth lowest electricity rate in the country in part thanks to the low operating costs of hydroelectric. Washington generates more hydroelectric power than any other state, with about 67% of the state’s electricity coming from hydropower.

The average residential electricity cost is 11.21 cents per kWh and the average commercial electricity cost is 9.86 cents per kWh.

The cost of electricity is even more attractive when you compare it to high gas prices in the state and along the West Coast. As of September 2023, the average gas price in Washington is $5.09 per gallon, versus the national average of $3.81 per gallon.

Washington currently has the second highest gas prices of any state

Is the charging infrastructure in Washington good?

There are 1,820 charging stations in Washington with a total of 4,658 charging ports, including 3,563 Level 2 charging ports and 912 DC Fast charging EVSE ports.Since 2016, the number of chargers has grown at least 133%. More than 460 charging stations were built in 2021 and the state hopes to surpass that in 2023.

Most of the public chargers in are in more densely populated areas, where EV owners are most likely to live in multi-family homes without easy access to home charging. The Alternative Fuels Data Center shows where all charging ports are in the state.

2020 Washington State bill SB5192–  Interoperability among publicly available EV charging stations seeks to make the life of EV drivers easier by making sure that public charging stations are universal, accept a wide range of payment options, and share information regardless of EV brand. New federal legislation seeks to make public charging easier nationwide.

The state has earmarked $138 million for charging infrastructure and $51.4 million to decarbonize transit agencies.

Is Washington a good place to buy a used EV?

While Washington State is a leader in EV ownership, it trails other states in terms of current used EV inventory. Anecdotally, Recurrent has heard from dealers that it is very hard to keep used EVs in stock since they are such a hot commodity. As of summer 2023, there were around 1,065 used electric vehicles in Washington’s inventory according to Recurrent’s data. Washington ranks 5th in the nation in terms of used EV inventory, tied with Georgia.

Also as of summer 2023, the average price for a used EV in Washington is $35,476.29, a decrease from the January 2022 average of $41,057. The average price for a used EV in other states is below. Washington used prices are on the lower end of the spectrum.

  • CA
  • FL
  • TX
  • WA
  • NJ
  • NY
  • IL
  • AZ
  • GA
AVG Used EV Price
  • $34,484
  • $39,913
  • $39,081
  • $35,476
  • $42,878
  • $37,779
  • $38,990
  • $35,942
  • $43,631

Across the state, the lowest priced used EV is a 2011 Nissan LEAF for $6400. While a LEAF from 2011 will not offer many miles, it is perfect for someone with a short commute and easy access to charging. Be sure to check the battery on such an early year used EV, though - and remember that mileage doesn’t tell the full story! 

In terms of affordable used EVs, Washington state has around 486 vehicles under $25K. These include early model LEAFs, Chevrolet Volts, BMW i3s, Chevrolet Bolt EVs, Volkswagen e-Golfs, and the Ford C-Max. At a $25K price point, you add in newer Chevy Bolts and BMW i3s, and Tesla Model S and Toyota Prius Prime. If you can push your budget between $30K and $50K, there are nearly 400 vehicles of many different models in your price range. More than half of the used models will be under $40K.

On the other side of the price spectrum, the maximum price for a used EV in Washington is $84,728 for a 2021 Tesla Model S. Note that this is far below the 2022 maximum price in Washington for the same vehicle - which was a whopping $150K! Overall, Washington State has fewer high priced used EVs, though, with only 18 vehicles above $70K.

In terms of model years, 2021s are the most popular model year in inventory.

The most popular model overall is the Nissan LEAF, which accounts for about 28% of all used vehicles on the market. The most popular automaker, however, is Tesla, which accounts for about 30% of the market. The Model 3 alone accounts for 12%, impressive considering Chevrolet, the third most popular automaker behind Tesla and Nissan, also accounts for 12%.

  • Nissan LEAF
  • Tesla Model 3
  • Tesla Model S
  • Chevrolet Bolt EV
  • Toyota Prius Prime
  • BMW i3
  • Chevrolet Volt
  • Tesla Model Y
% Inventory
  • 27.9%
  • 11.7%
  • 9.4%
  • 7.3%
  • 5.8%
  • 5.4%
  • 4.9%
  • 4.9%

If you are already an EV driver and curious about how your car's performance, Recurrent can help!

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