Electric Car Sales Booming In Seattle And Portland, Not Idaho

May 16, 2013

Nissan Leaf.
Credit Nissan

The automaker Nissan says sales of its fully electric Leaf compact surpassed all other Nissan models at dealers in the Seattle and Portland areas this spring. Wednesday's announcement runs counter to the prevailing wisdom that adoption of plug-in cars has been sluggish.

At Nissan USA headquarters, electric vehicle marketing & sales director Erik Gottfried says he's scrambling to ship enough Leafs to meet demand in the Pacific northwest. The car maker juiced its plug-in sales by slashing the sticker price and offering low-cost leases. Gottfried says that was made possible by opening a domestic production line in Tennessee.

"By moving production to the United States we have a little more control of our production costs and we're not subject to shipping costs from Japan on boats and we also don't have foreign exchange rate fluctuations," Gottfried says.

A Nissan dealership in Bellevue, Washington claims it’s the #1 seller of electric Leafs in the nation.

The electric vehicle coordinator at Oregon's Department of Transportation says increased availability is spurring EV sales across many brands. ODOT's Ashley Horvat says having a "very robust" charging network has also helped. Oregon claims to have the most EV charging stations per capita of any state.

The uptick in electric vehicle adoption vanishes as you move inland. Idaho's Motor Vehicle Division says it has registered fewer than 100 purely electric cars.

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