Utah does not immediately come to mind when thinking about electric vehicles (EVs). That is because of several factors, including the state being one of the least densely populated areas in the United States. It’s also several hundred miles away from states like Colorado, Arizona, Nevada, and California, which have embraced EVs more openly.
However, Utah is one of the most favorable states when it comes to owning an EV in the United States. For example, in 2021, the state introduced a plan to expand its EV charging network along its interstate and state highways.
Previously, this was a huge concern among prospective EV owners in Utah who felt there were not enough charging stations. Nobody wants to drive for 30 minutes looking for a charging station; they would rather own gas-powered vehicles.
Utah’s state government offers several incentives to its residents to buy EVs, including tax exemptions, tax credits, and grants. In addition, Utah generates more electricity than it consumes, resulting in some of the lowest electricity prices nationwide. Therefore, EV owners do not have to worry about fueling costs as they pay about $0.109 per kilowatt hour (kWh).
These factors have resulted in a steady growth in the number of EVs registered in Utah. Below is a comprehensive review of the most popular ones.
Total Electric Vehicles Sold in Utah
The total number of EVs sold in Utah has increased steadily over the past seven years. According to the Alternative Fuel Data Center (AFDC), Utah residents bought 2,500 light-duty EVs in 2016, and by 2018, that figure had more than doubled to 5,600 EVs sold.
By 2021, the 2018 sales figures had almost tripled, with the AFDC reporting registration of 16,500 EVs. Today, there are more than 25,000 EVs registered in Utah.
As noted earlier, Utah is constantly increasing its EV charging infrastructure. The state has 753 EV charging stations with 1,786 electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) ports. That includes 17 Tesla Superchargers primarily in the state’s most populous cities and towns like Salt Lake City, St. George, Moab, and Beaver.
Market Share of Electric Vehicles in Utah
Like in the rest of the United States, EVs have a long way to go in Utah before they can overcome the domination of gas-powered vehicles. However, recent years have seen EVs slowly curve out a growing market share. In 2016, EVs accounted for only 0.1% of cars registered in Utah.
According to the AFDC, the market share grew steadily for the next five years, reaching 0.6% by December 31, 2021. A 0.6% market share may seem small; however, EVs perform better in Utah than in over 40 other states.
The 5 Most Popular EVs in Utah
Utah is an expansive state, ranking as the thirteenth-largest in the United States. Most of its population is concentrated in the North and the South West. As such, Utahns need to buy EVs with impressive range and fuel economy to facilitate travel between the major cities. Below are the most popular EVs in Utah.
1. Nissan LEAF
The Nissan LEAF is among the most popular EVs in Utah. Its popularity stems from two primary factors. Firstly, it was one of the pioneer EVs available for purchase, having been on the market for over a decade; it has name recognition.
Secondly, the car is very affordable, with a starting price of $28,040, for the basic S trim and $36,040 for the SV Plus trim. These two factors are arguably the main reasons Nissan continues to enjoy huge success with the LEAF, even with the release of more futuristic EVs.
Regarding performance, the LEAF S trim has a range of 149 miles, while the LEAF SV Plus trim has a range of 212 miles. The LEAF can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in a swift 5.5 seconds. That is due to aerodynamic designs such as wind-diffusing side mirrors, a rear spoiler, and a rear diffuser.
The car also has reliable handling and stability. The Nissan LEAF is also ideal for Utah’s rugged terrain thanks to a well-tuned suspension and a floor-mounted battery pack that helps lower its center of gravity. However, it may not be ideal for extreme off-road conditions.
Both Nissan LEAF trims have a front-wheel (FWD) drivetrain and an AC synchronous electric motor. On the other hand, the LEAF S has a 40 kWh battery, while the SV Plus has a 60 kWh battery pack. As a result, the S trim puts out 147hp, and the SV Plus puts out 214hp.
Moreover, the Nissan LEAF is an attractively designed hatchback with a reasonably streamlined body. The LEAF S is available in 16-inch steel alloy wheels, while the SV Plus has 17-inch aluminum alloy wheels.
Inside, the LEAF carries five people and has 23.6 cubic feet of cargo space at the back and 30 cubic feet of cargo volume with the rear seats folded down. All these features prove why the Nissan LEAF is popular among Utah residents.
2. Tesla Model Y
Despite being released a decade after the Nissan LEAF, the Tesla Model Y quickly overtook the LEAF in terms of sales and is quickly becoming one of the most common EVs on Utah roads. The SUV is popular because of its versatility, as it combines performance and spaciousness.
The car can seat up to seven passengers and has 76 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats. This makes it one of the best electric SUVs for long travel.
Now let’s talk about range. The lowest-rated Model Y trim, the All-Wheel Drive, has a range of 279 miles. On the other hand, the Performance and Long Range trims have a range of 303 miles and 330 miles, respectively.
Such performance is ideal for vast states like Utah, especially since charging infrastructure on highways between major towns is still in development. For example, the Model Y Long Range can easily cover the 304 miles between St. George, near Utah’s border with Arizona, and Salt Lake City towards the North, with some range to spare.
The Model Y also caters to drivers who like speed. The slowest trim, the All-Wheel Drive, reaches 60 mph in 5 seconds. The Long Range and Performance trims accelerate to 60 mph in 4.8 seconds and 3.5 seconds, respectively. On the other hand, the All-Wheel Drive and the Long Range have a top speed of 135 mph, while the Performance trim goes a step further, reaching 155 mph.
Regarding price, the Model Y is relatively affordable compared to its primary competitors. The starting price is $47,490 for the All-Wheel Drive, while the Long Range costs $50,490, and the Performance costs $54,490. The car is also eligible for the $7,500 federal tax credit on EVs.
3. Ford Mustang Mach-E
Unsurprisingly, the Ford Mustang Mach-E is among the most popular EVs in Utah. The Mustang brand is synonymous with Ford’s American muscle car, which has been in production since the early 1960s.
However, the Mustang Mach-E is not a muscle car but a crossover SUV. Still, the Ford Mustang Mach-E retains some similarities to the muscle car, including a menacing front exterior and a built-up body that adds to its width.
Consumers can choose between four versions: the Select, Premium, California-1, and the GT. The versions offer different ranges varying from 250 miles (Mach-E Select) to 312 miles (Mach-E California-1). The GT and Premium versions achieve 270 and 310 miles on a single charge.
Moreover, the Mustang Mach-E would be disgracing the Mustang name if it did not have impressive acceleration figures. The slowest trims, the Select and Premium, reach 60 mph in 6.3 seconds, while the California-1 and GT attain the same speed in 4.8 seconds and 3.8 seconds, respectively.
The Mustang Mach-E’s pricing is almost similar to that of the Tesla Model Y. The cheapest trim, the Select, starts at $42,995, while the most expensive trim, the GT, starts at $59,995. Luckily, the Mustang Mach-E is still eligible for the federal EV tax credit of up to $3,500.
4. Tesla Model S
The Model S is one of Tesla’s earliest cars, with the first generation released in 2012. The sedan set the standard for other EV car manufacturers in design, safety, performance, technology, and comfort. At one point before the release of the Model 3, the Model S was the best-selling EV in the United States and globally.
Today, the sedan is available in two trims: the Model S and the Model S Plaid. The Model S is an exceptionally designed car with an impressively aerodynamic silhouette. Moreover, the car’s drag coefficient of 0.208 Cd is among the lowest in the automotive industry.
As a result, the car can accelerate very quickly, with the standard trim reaching 60 mph in 3.1 seconds. On the other hand, the Model S Plaid can reach 60 mph in 1.99 seconds without accounting for rollout time. Additionally, the standard trim has a top speed of 149 mph, while the S Plaid can attain 200 mph once equipped with the appropriate hardware upgrades.
Moreover, the Model S has an All-Wheel Drive (AWD) dual motor drivetrain that puts out 670 hp, while the Model S Plaid has an AWD tri-motor that puts out a maximum of 1020 hp. The result is one of the most impressive range capabilities in an EV.
The S Plaid offers 396 miles of range, while the standard trim offers 405 miles. With such remarkable specifications, it is easy to justify why the standard trim starts at $88,490 while the S Plaid begins at $108,490.
5. Hyundai IONIQ 5
The Hyundai IONIQ 5 closes our list of the most popular EVs in Utah. This EV is yet another compact crossover SUV popular with Utahns. The car is also popular globally, winning the World Car of the Year, World EV of the Year, and World Car Design of the Year at the 2022 World Car Awards.
The car’s design is indeed quite impressive. The designers somehow encapsulated a futuristic and retro 1980s design within one car. As such, the vehicle easily appeals to both consumers who like modernist and futuristic aspects often associated with EVs and those who prefer more traditional designs associated with standard gas-powered cars.
Furthermore, the car’s interior is made from sustainable fibers sourced from poly yarns and sugarcane bio-components while incorporating recycled PET plastic bottles into the textiles.
Regarding performance, buyers can choose between a standard-range version with a 54 kWh battery pack or a long-range version with a 77.4 kWh battery. Both versions are also available in AWD or two-wheel drive modes.
The slowest IONIQ 5 is the two-wheel drive standard range version which goes from 0 to 60 mph in 8.5 seconds, while the fastest is the AWD drive long-range trim, which attains 60 mph in 5.2 seconds. Speed enthusiasts may find these acceleration times underwhelming, considering other electric SUVs like the Ford Mustang Mach-E GT can reach 60 mph in under four seconds.
The IONIQ 5 uses Hyundai’s Electric-Global Modular Platform (E-GMP), which boosts charging speed, improves range, and lowers the car’s center of gravity. As a result, the two-wheel drive long-range trim can reach 303 miles on a single charge.
In addition, the 54 kWh and 77.4 kWh battery packs can charge from 10% to 80% in 18 minutes at a fast charging station rated above 250 kW. The Hyundai IONIQ 5’s retail prices are reasonable, given its design and performance specs. Its cheapest trim starts at $41,450, while its most expensive trim starts at $52,600.
Fossil fuel-powered vehicles still vastly outnumber EVs in Utah. However, the number of EVs registered in the state is rising yearly, which bodes well for EV manufacturers and the environment as they help lower carbon emissions.
Utah is among the friendliest states to own an EV in the US, which explains its considerably high EV uptake. For example, Utah has numerous incentives for purchasing EVs, including cheap electricity, a growing charging infrastructure, tax exemptions, and tax credits. These factors should encourage more Utah residents to switch to EVs in the future.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©EB Adventure Photography/Shutterstock.com.