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CT electric vehicle sales are rising, but prices remain high

A Tesla vehicle receives a charge at a charging station.
Mike Stewart
A Tesla vehicle receives a charge at a charging station.

About three years ago, a few months into the pandemic, California announced regulations that would mandate that all sales of new cars and trucks be zero-emissions by 2035. Since then, Massachusetts, New York, Vermont and a few other states have adopted the regulations. And earlier this week, Connecticut, which committed to following California’s standards in 2004, decided not to.

Projected need for electric vehicle charging stations exceeds current capacity.
CT Mirror
Projected need for electric vehicle charging stations exceeds current capacity. 

While disagreements on the regulations will get hammered out in next year’s legislative session, one thing is clear: electric vehicles sales are increasing but still remain a fraction of all cars in the state.

The number of electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid vehicles in the state went from about 4,800 in 2016 to 35,100 in 2022, up 631% over six years, according to approximate vehicle registration counts by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory with data from Experian. While all states saw an increase, Connecticut was the 13th slowest, compared to an increase of 250% in Georgia and 2000% in Oklahoma.

And the increases are slowly giving the electric vehicle sector a larger share of the pie. Out of all types of cars in the state last year, the share of electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid vehicles was 1.19%, compared to six years earlier, when it was 0.16% In contrast, the share of gas powered cars in 2016 was 89.9%, compared to 89.3% last year, a miniscule change.

With more electric cars on the road, more charging ports will be needed, and some legislators expressed worries about meeting those demands.

As of this week, Department of Energy data shows that there were about almost 2,000 public charging ports around the state, which don’t include ports at individual homes but rather those in charging stations at grocery stores and office parking lots, among other public places. And given the current rate of increase in EV sales, it is projected that 3,701 public ports will be needed in 2025 and about 11,277 in 2030, according to the lab’s statistical projections.

Getting those additional ports will be costly, although federal funding could lower the price tag. Another report by the DOE in 2020 showed the median prices for chargers range from $1,836 for a home charger and its installation, all the way up to $150,000 for more powerful DC public chargers.

Another worry for legislators was affordability.

Some of the cheapest electric vehicles as of this week, according to a roundup of Autoweek magazine, are the 2023 Chevrolet Bolt at $27,495 along with the 2023 Nissan Leaf, starting at about $29,000. And one of the cheapest Teslas was the Model 3, which was almost $39,000. Both prices are before applying potential federal tax credits or state incentives. Meanwhile, a gas-powered 2023 Toyota Corolla is currently priced at $21,700, and a 2023 Kia Rio starts at $16,750.

The extra dollars in monthly car payments for switching to an electric car would come amid rising prices and an increasing auto loan delinquency rate. The auto loan delinquency rate across the country was about 7.4% in the third quarter of this year, following a months-long increase towards pre-pandemic rates, according to a review of Equifax data by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.


An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated the percent changes in the number of vehicle registrations for the states mentioned. The correct percent changes are 631% for Connecticut, previously 6.31%, 255% for Georgia, previously 2.5%, and 2038% for Oklahoma, previously 20%.

Launched in 2010, The Connecticut Mirror specializes in in-depth news and reporting on public policy, government and politics. CT Mirror is nonprofit, non-partisan, and digital only.