Washington State is heading quickly towards an all-electric future with its roads. Electric car adoption in Washington is already among the highest in the country and the state is considering “Clean Cars” bills to mandate that all passenger and light-duty commercial vehicles purchased, sold, or registered in the state be electric

Reaching a goal of only zero-emission passenger vehicles by 2030 means a 40% annual increase in EVs -- which may not be impossible. Since 2016, Washington has seen a 188% increase in EV registrations. This graph below showing vehicle registration data from the US Department of Energy illustrates that as of 2020, the only state that Washington is behind in vehicle registrations is California.  

Total EV registrations by state - Washington
Normalized by population, Washington’s EV registrations are 5.6% to California’s 8%.

Cheap and Clean Electricity

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. Around 77% of Washington’s electricity comes from hydropower.

The cost of electricity is even more attractive when you compare it to high gas prices in the state and along the West Coast. While the Institute for Energy Research ranks Washington among the lowest in electricity cost, it is usually among the four highest for gasoline cost. 

Gas prices in Washington state
From gasprices.aaa.com

Temperate Climate is Good for EV Battery Health 

For most of Washington state, particularly where the population is densest, the climate is temperate, which is good for both short-term range and long-term battery life. You can read more about the effects of extreme temperatures on battery health and can track range variation due to temperature with Recurrent monthly reports for EV owners.

Charging Infrastructure

The Alternative Fuels Data Center counts about 1,500 public charging stations in Washington State (with over 3,000 ports) -- this represents an increase of 133% over five years. While many of the chargers are clustered around Seattle, this is also the area most likely to have EV owners without easy access to at-home charging. 

Washington State Charging Stations
From afdc.energy.gov

2020 Washington State senate bill 5192  “Interoperability among publicly available EV charging stations” aims to create standards and reciprocity between different public charging station vendors, requiring a wide range of payment options and information sharing. This intended effect is a more cohesive and integrated charging infrastructure for statewide use. The Washington State Department on Transportation also offers commercial grants to build and maintain EV charging stations along highway corridors.

What are the tax incentives and rebates for EV buyers in Washington?

Beginning August 2019, Washington reinstated a suite of tax breaks for EV and alternative fuel vehicles: rebates of $2,500 on new EVs priced under $45,000 and up to $1,600 on used EVs under $30,000.

There is also a sales/use tax exemption for the purchase of new EVs under $45,000 or used EVs under $30,000. This exemption extends to the purchase and installation of EV infrastructure

As a heads up, Washington State does charge an additional registration fee for EVs. The current fee -- $150 for battery EV’s and $75 for plug in hybrids -- is calculated to be around the same amount an average driver would pay in gasoline taxes each year, and is used to directly support EV infrastructure in-state (think: public chargers). The idea is that these fees will encourage future EV adoption. 

Is Washington a competitive EV market? 

Recurrent is supporting about 350 electric cars in WA as a part of our research fleet -- here are some of the trends we’ve seen so far in WA:

  1. Washington drivers have an average total odometer reading of 28,617 miles, which is comparable to the 30,892 average across the rest of the country
  2. 66% of the WA vehicles in our research group are Teslas with slightly longer average daily mileage and slightly longer average range
  3. 26% of our WA vehicles are 2018 models
  4. Average miles per day in WA is 24.5 (with a standard deviation, or “spread” of 14 mi)
  5. The average EPA rated range for WA vehicles is 247 mi, while average current range is around 232.5 - meaning the average WA vehicle is in great shape compared to when purchased!

If you’re looking for a used EV, Recurrent partners with several popular EV dealers in the region -- currently, Campbell Nissan (Seattle area), Island E Car (San Juan County) and Platt Auto (Portland/Vancouver). They display Recurrent “battery score” reports for many popular EV brands. 

If you are already an EV driver and curious about how your battery is doing, Recurrent can help!

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