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Which States Have the Most Chargers Per Electric Vehicle?

Here’s a tool, using data from the U.S. Department of Energy, showing which states have the most electric vehicle charging stations and chargers — as well as how that stacks up with the number of EVs in that state.

An electric vehicle charging.
One might be forgiven if they’re not surprised to discover that California has more electric vehicle charging stations than any other state.

But it’s not just that California has the most — it has the most by a mile. According to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Alternative Fuels Data Center, the Golden State has 13,694 EV charging stations. That’s more than four times the number in the next-highest state on the list, New York.

It makes sense given that California also has far more EVs than any other state. As of the end of 2020 — the most recent data available from the DOE — there were more than 425,000 EVs registered in the state.

Look up the numbers for any state in the table below:
The table shows that the states with the most charging stations per EV tend to be the states with the fewest EVs — a product of the massive discrepancy between the number of EVs in each state.

Josh Boone, executive director of Veloz — a public-private partnership that advocates for EVs in California — said a lack of public charging infrastructure is one of the biggest barriers to adoption.

“We need more charging infrastructure so that the public has not only the ability to charge wherever they’re going in their daily lives, but they need the confidence that charging is available,” he said.

Toward that end, it’s not just the presence of chargers that’s important, but the upkeep and accessibility of those chargers. Making sure that charging stations are in working order and offer different types of payment options, he said, is crucial to the success of EVs.

Regardless, he pointed out that many more EV models are on the way, meaning that in the next five years the fleet of available electric options will appeal to a much broader swath of Americans — who will then be looking for places to charge.

The Ford F-150 Lightning pickup truck, for example, began rolling off the assembly line this week. The electric version of the popular truck model already has more than 200,000 preorders.

“I think we’re going to see a doubling of models that are available to California consumers relative to where we are now,” Boone said.

The data only includes public chargers, so the true number including shared private chargers is higher. Shared private chargers are helpful to EV drivers but are not available to everyone — for example, chargers installed for use by the employees of a business or tenants of an apartment building.

The EV registration numbers also only include those vehicles that are entirely electric, so plug-in hybrids and other alternative fuel vehicles such as hydrogen-powered cars are excluded. Data from the California Energy Commission suggests that including plug-in hybrids — which can typically drive in electric mode for less time than a pure electric vehicle, but have a gas tank as well — would add a significant bump to the EV counts if they were included. In California, the number of battery electric and plug-in hybrids at the end of 2020 was more than 600,000.
Ben Miller is the associate editor of data and business for Government Technology. His reporting experience includes breaking news, business, community features and technical subjects. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in journalism from the Reynolds School of Journalism at the University of Nevada, Reno, and lives in Sacramento, Calif.