2011 Nissan Leaf, Nashville, October 2010Enlarge Photo
Think you know the most ideal cities for electric vehicle (EV) commutes? Although there’s a lot of publicity over the all-new 100-percent electric 2011 Nissan Leaf – for which eager customers snapped up all 20,000 first-phase reservations three months ahead of the deadline – let’s think about the cities where EVs could possibly do the most good.
By that I mean serve as a viable means of green transportation during daily commutes of less than 50 miles one way.
Research from General Electric and Deloitte shows a number of U.S. cities of high population and daily commutes of 50 miles or less could be good markets for EVs. While some may seem like a no-brainer (several states are already in the initial Nissan Leaf delivery markets of Washington, California, Arizona, and Oregon and Texas in January), others may come as a bit of a surprise.
Here’s a look at the top 10 U.S. cities that are a best-case-scenario set-up for EV adoption by large numbers of commuters. This is, of course, based on sheer numbers, not availability of EV infrastructure in the form of charging stations, state tax credits, and other items. More about that later.
1. Dallas – With 2.78 million commuters living within 50 miles of the city center and 91.5 percent currently driving to work, Dallas is number one on the list of best candidate EV cities. Suburbs within the 50-mile range include Denton, Frisco and McKinney. The city Ft. Worth is also less than 50 miles from Dallas (around 35 miles, depending on starting point)
2. Houston – Another Texas city, Houston, has 2.46 million commuters (90.8 percent already commuting via car) within 50 miles of downtown. Suburbs within the range of 50 miles include Baytown, Texas City, and The Woodlands.
3. Detroit – A surprise (to some) is inclusion of the Motor City on the list. Detroit, Michigan has 1.65 million commuters, 92.6 percent of whom drive to work. The suburbs of Ann Arbor, Rochester Hills, and Monroe fall in the 50 mile and under range.
4. St. Louis – Home of the Arch, St. Louis, Missouri has 1.21 million commuters and 91.2 percent drive to work. Cedar Hill, Festus, and Lake St. Louis are within the 50-mile radius of the city center.
5. Atlanta – In Georgia, Atlanta has 2.21 million commuters, and 87.8 percent now drive to work. Canton, Lawrenceville, and Newman are within the 50-mile range.
6. Miami – With 2.16 million commuters and 88.1 percent driving to work, Miami is another good candidate for best EV cities. Coral Springs, Ft. Lauderdale, and Homestead are in the 50-mile range.
7. Phoenix – Arizona’s largest city, Phoenix has 1.67 million commuters and 88.2 percent currently driving to work. Nearby suburbs (in the 50 miles and under range) include Apache City, Junction, and Sun City West.
8. Tampa – Another Florida city, Tampa has 1.07 million commuters and 89.8 percent currently driving to work. Bradenton, Lakeland, and Spring Hill are all in the 50 mile and under range.
9. Cincinnati – Another rust-belt city, Cincinnati, Ohio has nearly 923,000 commuters and 90.8 percent of them currently drive to work. Suburbs in the 50-mile range include Hamilton, Springboro, and Williamstown (Kentucky). Note that Dayton is 50 miles (less if traveling from the city limit).