Rapid Rise of BEV Adoption in California Sparks Hope for Electric Future Across the U.S.

California Sets the BEV Standard, with Tesla Leading the Charge

Battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) are gaining remarkable traction in global auto markets, with the United States poised for a significant surge in adoption rates in the coming years. As impending new car sales bans loom in certain regions, California’s early BEV adoption data serves as a beacon of promise, potentially setting the pace for the rest of the nation.

According to data sourced from Bloomberg Green, California has witnessed a staggering 20 percent surge in BEV adoption over the last five years. What was once a mere 2 percent share of new car sales has now surged to an impressive 22 percent this year. The Golden State reached a pivotal turning point in 2018 when BEVs accounted for 5 percent of new car sales, and since then, adoption rates have witnessed a dramatic upswing.

This surge in BEV adoption closely follows California’s groundbreaking mandate enacted last year, which mandates the cessation of new gas car sales by 2035. Additionally, the mandate sets interim targets, aiming for a 35 percent BEV market share by 2026 and a substantial 68 percent by 2030. Notably, several U.S. states and even other countries have followed California’s resolute lead, including New York, New Jersey, Oregon, Canada, and more.

California has emerged as one of the earliest markets to breach the 5-percent BEV tipping point, a list that now encompasses 23 countries worldwide, according to Bloomberg’s comprehensive analysis of global adoption rates. This statistical trend in California may well be indicative of how rapidly BEV adoption could proliferate across the entire United States. The data suggests that adoption rates tend to surge significantly after the critical 5 percent threshold is reached, as illustrated in the graphic above, showcasing that the U.S. is lagging approximately three years behind California. Notably, Governor Gavin Newsom of California celebrated a remarkable milestone in Q2, with one in every four vehicles sold in the state being electric, a feat initially projected for 2025. If the United States as a whole mirrors California’s adoption rate, we could expect 25 percent of new car sales nationwide to be fully electric by 2026.

While California leads the pack in the United States, it still trails behind several other international markets in terms of BEV adoption rates. Norway leads the charge with an astonishing 82 percent adoption rate, followed by Sweden at 39 percent and the Netherlands at 32 percent. Germany and China trail California with adoption rates of 18 percent and 17 percent, respectively.

At the forefront of this electric revolution stands Tesla, which currently commands a dominant 60 percent share of the U.S. BEV market. Notably, Tesla has also overtaken Toyota to become California’s top-selling brand in the second quarter of this year. This surge in popularity can be attributed primarily to the remarkable sales of Tesla’s Model 3 sedan and Model Y SUV.

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