For every 1,000 Arizona residents, there are four electric vehicles registered in the state, according to government data.
Arizona ranks seventh in the country for most registered electric vehicles, with 28,770 as of June 2021, according to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Alternative Fuels Data Center.
The state is also a hub to three different EV manufacturers: Lucid, Nikola, and Electra Meccanica, which could be a big factor as to why the mostly red state is ranked in the top ten for EV registrations.
Nikola Corporation will make electric charging trucks in the Phoenix and Coolidge area.
The company released its third quarter results for 2021 on Thursday.
“During the third quarter, we continued to execute on our business plan,” said Mark Russell, Nikola‘s Chief Executive Officer. “Validation of the Nikola Tre BEV is progressing, with trucks now being test-driven and tested on public roads.”
Nikola said that they had completed eight gamma trucks and planned to deliver up to 25 pre-series trucks to dealers and customers by this December.
“The trucks will haul customer loads, gain real-world mileage accumulation, and in turn we expect to secure additional orders for 2022 volume and beyond,” Nikola said in their release.
Nikola also said that they plan to expand their total production capacity to 2,400 trucks per year in 2022.
Along with multiple manufacturing centers, Arizona also provides incentives for those who drive electric vehicles.
Alternative Fuels Data Center reports that alternative fuel vehicles can use HOV lanes at their own whim regardless of how many passengers are in the car.
Electric vehicles also don’t have to complete emissions testing and get reduced registration, according to the Alternative Fuels Data Center.
Non-gas-powered vehicle owners also boast “never having to buy gas again,” saving owners money in yet another category.
These perks are a few of the factors that drew both Mike Callaghan and William Davin to purchase an electric vehicle.
Davin, 52, had been an Arizona resident for over 20 years and purchased a Tesla Model S back in 2015.
“I was actually one of the first in Chandler to have one,” he said. “The car looks beautiful, it’s super-fast, you can go in the carpool lane by yourself, I never have to get gas…there really isn’t one specific reason that I bought it.”
Davin also said that every day he notices more and more and more electric vehicles.
Callaghan, 56, said the main reason he purchased a Tesla Model X was because he drives to Los Angeles often for work. With his electric car, he can save time by going in the HOV lane and money by not having to pay for gas.
Both Davin and Callaghan said that a downside to electric vehicles is charging.
Callaghan said that he dislikes having to stop and charge his car on road trips.
Davin said that he personally has never had a problem with charging but thinks that chargers, or a lack of them, may be the reason some people are apprehensive to purchase an electric car.
“There’s a thing called range anxiety, where people are worried about running out of power and then not having a place to charge,” said Davin. “With gas powered cars, you can just hop in the car and go wherever you want. There’s gas stations all over America, including small little towns.”
Arizona currently has 385 public fast-charging plugs and 1,448 non-fast-charging plugs, but they are not available 24/7 according to the Arizona Public Interest Research Group.
“While the electric vehicle market is ramping up in Arizona, there has been a slower than expected deployment of public charging infrastructure,” said Arizona Public Service in an annual report in 2017.
“Knock on wood… but I’ve never come close to running out of electricity. I have pulled into a super-charger with like, 25 miles to spare from my 250 range but I knew where a charger was at and I knew how many miles I had left,” said Davin.
Callaghan said that finding a place to charge his car was “not difficult at all” because he had an “at-home charger that charges for cheap.”
He also said that chargers were “everywhere” and that most malls had free charging stations.
Taking an electric car to California is not a problem, since it is ranked first in most EV registrations with 425,300 registered electric vehicles, or one per 10.7 residents.
When asked if he thought electric vehicles would be just as popular as gas-powered vehicles in 5-10 years, Callaghan said that as more companies were coming out with electric cars with more affordable options, he thinks that it’s possible.
Davin said, “I think it’s going to be more like 10 years from now, the adoption is definitely happening. It’s an exponential curve up, but I just think they need more chargers, and more people getting them (EV’s). There’s still a lot of people who have probably never been in an electric car before.”
“It’s just going to take time,” Davin said.
Time might be all it takes for Arizona to climb from seventh to a top five ranked state for most registered vehicles in the next few years.