EVs to Charge Ahead in 2024

By Sarah Olexsak


March 30, 2024

The 2023 numbers are in: Plug-in electric vehicles (EVs) contributed to 9.1% of light-duty vehicle sales in the U.S., up from 6.8% in 2022. This means more than 3 million EVs were on roadways across the nation last year — with over a third of those bought in 2023 alone — marking the first time EV sales exceeded 1 million in a single sales year. 

Despite these facts, unfamiliarity with EVs, concerns about available charging stations and the lingering post-covid impact on financing options are contributing factors in making some people hesitant about going electric. But we should recognize investments totaling more than $200 billion by the federal government, automakers and battery manufacturers as a sign that EVs aren’t going anywhere anytime soon — and consumers have more options than ever before. 

Major Milestones in 2023

There are many benefits to driving electric, but consumers seem to care most about the long-term savings. The average EV driver will spend 50% less on fuel and maintenance costs compared to a conventional vehicle, equaling about $11,000 in savings. With savings like those, it’s no surprise that our region saw registered EVs surpass 10,000 in 2023 — a 400% climb compared to roughly five years ago. 

Beyond savings, EVs are also thrilling to drive and, with zero tailpipe emissions, are leading us to a cleaner, healthier future. 

The availability of charging infrastructure has also significantly grown in the Pittsburgh region to meet the needs of the expanding EV market. Today, there are more than 900 public charging station ports in the region. While many are still needed, more are being installed every day. It is also interesting to note that more than 80% of an EV driver’s charging happens at home, which can be done with a standard wall outlet. EV drivers looking for a faster charge can also install a Level 2 (240-volt) charger, which is becoming easier than ever with more electricians offering this service. 

The benefits of electric mobility don’t end with personal vehicles. Last year, we saw our region’s first electric school buses put into service, with more expected this year. Additionally, Pittsburgh Regional Transit made exciting progress on its goal of having a zero-emission bus fleet by 2045. These buses are not only leading to fuel and maintenance savings, but they are also giving students and transit riders a quieter ride with better air quality for the whole community. 


Looking to the Year Ahead

Momentum around electric mobility in our region is just beginning. In the next year, we can expect the number of charging stations in our region will continue to grow.PennDOT has already awarded funds to build fast-charging stations at 56 sites across Pennsylvania, and more awards are forthcoming. 

In addition, automakers and battery manufacturers plan to invest nearly $210 billion in the United States’ transition to EVs by 2030. While there are already more than 100 EV models on the market, this investment will significantly increase consumer choice and further improve vehicle technology, including range. The maximum EV range was just 94 miles in 2011. It’s 516 miles today, with an average range of 270. 

We can also expect used EV sales to increase, giving drivers even more affordable options. For the first time ever this year, federal incentives will be applied at the dealership rather than requiring buyers to file for a tax credit at the end of the year. This removes an extra step for consumers and allows them to immediately reap the savings of up to $7,500 on the purchase of a new EV and up to $4,000 on a used EV. 

It is promising to see significant government funding invested in the EV market, but even more impactful for our communities are the dollars being funneled to support projects in the Pittsburgh region. The investment in public charging, public transportation, school bus electrification and incentives to reduce the cost to consumers are an indication that a clean energy future is one built on equitable access to electric mobility. The shift toward EVs remains an ongoing journey but all trends indicate investments are making an impact, and we are moving in the right direction for the benefit of all. 

The article first appeared in the Tribune Review on Feb. 16, 2024.