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State of the Electric Vehicle 2017: Adoption keeps accelerating

Here’s why this is the biggest EV year yet, and 2018 is looking even better

By: | December 20, 2017 10:36 pm

It feels like 2017 is finally the year that the EV has grown up, and out of its classification as an alternative vehicle for dedicated enthusiasts. As of November, Electric Vehicle 2017 sales are outpacing 2016 which bested 2015 sales by 27%.1

Add to this, the continuing growth of public charging stations and EV adoption keeps progressing to new heights. According to the Department of Energy, there are now over 500,000 EVs driven in the U.S.

The popularity factor grows, in new ways

The EV has always been the champion of zero emissions and seen as a truly green driving option, especially with Xcel Energy’s growing renewable energy options for electricity. But now there are even more reasons EVs are becoming more popular.

  1. Better battery capacity means greater driving distances between charges
  2. Off-peak charging rates can mean it may cost one-fourth as much to power an EV compared to comparable gasoline-powered vehicles.
  3. Lower vehicle pricing with attractive federal tax credits and incentives help EVs complete with gasoline-powered models
  4. Technology and design features that offer a best-on-the-road driving experience
  5. With fewer parts and fluids, lower maintenance costs
  6. Mechanical advantages that deliver surprising longevity

With all these factors, an EV may be ideal you. To learn more, Check out our post Are you up for the Electric Vehicle Lifestyle?

2017 Electric Vehicles gaining popular acceptance

Currently, these three automakers are building the most popular all-electric vehicles sold or ordered by count in the U.S. And the good news; these are available to residents of Minnesota and Colorado.

Chevy Bolt 

Launched in early 2017, this is the sleeper EV that is slowly gaining attention. Its 238-mile range and moderate price ($35-40K) have made it a game-changer. Many reviewers are surprised by the comfortable ride and technical features included. The Bolt was Motor Trend’s 2017 Car of the Year.

Tesla 3

This may be the most anticipated car in automotive history. That’s because so much is riding on the Model 3 to change the overall acceptance of EVs. It has the technical pedigree of Tesla at an attractive $35,000 base2 price with a 220-mile range. With over 500,000 initial pre-orders, the demand is there. Also, extra features for added prices include an Enhanced Autopilot feature and “Full self-driving capability.”

Nissan Leaf 2.0

Another capable vehicle is the Leaf. Nissan has delivered 250,000 of the first generation Leafs since 2010. The most prominent market is the US with over 100,000 units3 sold. The Leaf 2.0 should be available in February of 2018 and has a projected range of 150 miles.4

Another affordable option is to consider a used EV, some priced under $10K. Here’s a short article on the benefits of buying a used EV and what to look for when searching.

Charging options keep growing too

The primary concern consumers have with EVs can be summed up with the term, range anxiety. This is the fear of running out of power on the road. While most EV owners charge at home and drive locally, the idea of heading onto the open road on a cross-country junket has created uncertainty.

Highway departments and other concerned organizations are placing fast charging facilities along major highways and interstate freeways. A great example is the establishment of the “Great Lakes Zero Emission Corridor” which brings state departments of transportation of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and the city of Detroit together to deliver charging stations along I-94. This is just one of 55 designated routes to promote alternative fuels and help drivers find vehicle charging stations nationwide.5

Also, BMW North America is partnering with the National Park Foundation to install up to 100 electric vehicle charging stations in America’s 417 national parks. 6

To encourage EV use, numerous cities and communities with denser urban and suburban locations are sponsoring fast charging stations at public destinations like libraries and parks. Residents are seeing the health and environmental benefits of having zero-emission vehicles on their streets and as part of their town’s service fleet.

In this post, learn how Lafayette, Colorado made EV charging a community amenity

Retailers and grocery stores are also using EV charging as a draw. And new construction of multi-residential units is often including EV charging as an amenity for the property.7

Charger locater apps for smartphones such as PlugShare, EVGO, GreenLots, ChargePoint, ChargeHub, and EV Match are offering user networks to support the growing number of charging stations.

To learn more about EV charging check out our post, The Very Basics of Electric Vehicle Charging

The outlook for 2018

1)            Real market reality

Next year could be the turning point for the EV to start mainstream adoption. With more extended driving ranges, newer models and the potential of SUV and pickup models in the works; EVs may withstand the disappearance of tax credits.

2)          Going beyond green

Consumers may start to realize the long-term mechanical advantages EVs provide. With fewer parts, advanced materials and driving longevity, EVs may become an efficient and practical vehicle option, not just a “green” alternative.

3)          The exhilaration factor

Drivers who are passionate about performance could start to realize the rapid acceleration and low center of gravity of specific EVs. These inspiring driving characteristics could win over more and more driving enthusiasts.

4)  Creative charging coalitions

More public/private partnering will take shape to help spread the charging station infrastructure efforts into additional venues.

To learn more, join our EV network

Xcel Energy is not advocating one EV manufacturer over another. It’s our goal to help you drive electric easily and affordably, and be your resource for charging your EV when the time and offer are right. Visit and join our EV network to learn more about EV technologies, events, special rates plus ways we help make charging simple and other related topics.

For a look at the evolution of EVs, see the blog Electric Vehicle History 101: How we got here


A self-professed energy nerd, Paul loves to explore how technology trends are bringing convenience and surprising benefits to our lives.

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