Californians' purchases of plug-in electric cars top 100,000

Californians own more than 40% of the nation's plug-in electric cars

California has passed an electric milestone: This week, a car buyer in the state bought the 100,000th plug-in vehicle sold here.

"California's plug-in electric vehicle market is ramping up, and we expect to see significant growth as customers realize how economical and convenient they are," said Christine Kehoe, executive director of the California Plug-In Electric Vehicle Collaborative.

In making the announcement, the organization said the 100,000 milestone "drives California closer to achieving Gov. Brown's goal of 1.5 million electric cars on the road by 2025."

A lot of Californians will need to buy a lot more EVs for that to happen. And the rest of the nation will need to stop lagging behind to make the U.S. overall look like the Golden State, which according to the collaborative accounts for 40% of all plug-in vehicles sold in the U.S.

To date, only 1% of American households use an electric vehicle, according a study by the Union of Concerned Scientists.

But according to that study about 42% of those households could use an electric vehicle if they chose to. Almost 60% of U.S. households have access to the plug-in power necessary to run EVs, and almost 70% of U.S. drivers put fewer than 60 miles a day on their cars.

And those drivers could cut their fuel expenditures by two-thirds if they drove plug-in electric vehicles, the study says, or by half if they drove hybrid electric vehicles.

Last week The Times reported that sales of all electrified cars totaled 408,516 vehicles between January and August of 2014, down just a tick from the 408,694 vehicles sold during the same period last year.

Of that total, the bigger percentage gain came in plug-in hybrids, which grew from 28,241 vehicles sold to 40,748. Battery-powered EVs -- with no gas engine at all -- also grew, from 29,917 vehicles sold to 40,349.

But traditional hybrid sales fell from 350,530 vehicles from January to August last year to 327,418 during the same period in 2014.

The California Plug-In Electric Vehicle Collaborative is a cooperative effort of governmental, energy and automaker representatives. The group took advantage of California's hitting the 100,000 milestone to call attention to EVs like Nissan's Leaf, GM's Chevrolet and Cadillac plug-in cars, and Ford's Fusion Energi, Focus Electra and C-MAX Energi.

Trumpeting the 100,000th EV sale, Mary D. Nichols, chairman of the California Air Resources Board, said, "This milestone shows that industry and government can work together for the good of the environment and the good of the consumer ... and provide a wide range of affordable cars that are good to look at, fun to drive, and, of course, have zero emissions."

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