Monday numbers: A closer look at the rapid growth in electric and hybrid vehicles in NC

By: - November 1, 2021 6:00 am

The state has set a goal of 80,000 registered zero-emissions vehicles by 2025. Chart: NC Department of Transportation

With more than three years to go before its self-imposed deadline, North Carolina has attained 40% of its goal for zero-emissions vehicle registrations.

In 2018, Gov. Roy Cooper issued Executive Order 80, which laid out North Carolina’s plan to combat climate change and to transition to clean energy. The order set several goals, including 80,000 zero-emissions vehicles registered in the state by 2025. As of August, more than 30,000 zero-emission vehicles, or ZEVs, have been registered in the state.

ZEVs are categorized as fully electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles. Depending upon the specific technology, these vehicles have no or significantly reduced tailpipe emissions compared with conventional vehicles, according to the state Department of Transportation.

The transportation sector accounts for 29% of greenhouse gases, the primary contributor to climate change, followed by electric power generation at 25%, according to the EPA.

Here are the top 10 counties for purely electric vehicles. Since these figures include government fleets, larger counties are likely to report more registrations.

1. Wake (5,769)                                       6. Guilford (883)
2. Mecklenburg (3,588)                        7. Union (693)
3. Durham (1,313)                                  8. New Hanover (554)
4. Orange (1,039)                                   9. Forsyth (520)
5. Buncombe (955)                               10. Chatham (465)

Totals, statewide:

13,790 – number of ZEVs registered at the end of 2018 (6,928 that were purely electric and 6,862 that were plug-in hybrids)

32,257 – number as of August 2021 (21,361– number ZEV’s registered in 2021 and 10,896 that were plug-in hybrids)

118,040 – number of registered non-plug-in hybrid vehicles, which run on both gasoline and battery power, 2018

145,092 – number registered in August of 2021

7.49 million – number of gasoline-powered vehicles, 2018

7.9 million – number in 2021

447,367 – number of vehicles that ran on diesel, 2018

505,341 – number in 2021

$7,500 – maximum federal tax credit for new ZEVs

$33,400 – base price for the cheapest new plug-in hybrid (Honda Clarity), 2021

$28,375 – base price for the cheapest all electric vehicle (Nissan Leaf)

Top 10 counties reporting the greatest declines in number of registered gasoline-powered and diesel-fueled vehicles, 2021:

1. Guilford (-504)                           6. Durham (-197)
2. Cumberland (-379)                    7. Haywood (-180)
Wilson (-304)                             8. Forsyth (-141)
4. Buncombe (-275)                      9. Edgecombe (-141)
5. Onslow (-269)                          10. Burke (-129)

Sources: NC Department of Transportation, Forbes

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Lisa Sorg
Lisa Sorg

Assistant Editor and Environmental Reporter Lisa Sorg helps manage newsroom operations while covering the environment, climate change, agriculture and energy.