- Virginia has experienced exponential growth in EV ownership over the last few years, thanks to federal and state tax incentives and credits.
- The number of registered EVs in Virginia rose to 56,600 in 2022, and further increases are expected in 2023.
- Virginia’s EV market share has grown from 0.0% in 2016 to 0.7% in 2022, but still has a long way to catch up with states like California.
- The most popular EVs in Virginia include the Tesla Model S, Hyundai Ioniq 5, Kia EV6, Tesla Model 3, Nissan Leaf, and Ford Mustang Mach-E.
Virginia barely comes to mind when comparing states with the highest EV adoption — it is not in the top five. However, it has one of the highest registered EVs among Southeastern states. This is unsurprising, considering neighboring states, like Kentucky, North Carolina, Mississippi, and West Virginia, have some of the lowest EV adoption rates nationwide. So, which are the most popular EVs in Virginia? Find out below!
Total Electric Vehicles Sold in Virginia
Virginia has experienced exponential growth in EV ownership over the last few years. We attribute the high adoption rates to federal and state tax incentives and credits. For example, the federal government will grant Virginia $106 million over five years, starting in 2023, to expand its EV charging infrastructure. This should help Virginia increase its charging stations and comply with the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Formula Program Guidance. NEVI recommends installing electric charging stations every 50 miles along interstate highways.
The number of EVs sold in Virginia has grown in tandem with the state’s EV infrastructure. For example, the latest data from AFDC shows that Virginia has at least 1,334 charging stations and 3,815 charging ports. Virginia ranks in the top 20 when accounting for EV infrastructure, which explains the high EV adoption rates.
According to the Alternative Fuels Data Center (AFDC), 3,100 EVs were registered in Virginia in 2016. This number tripled in the next two years — 9,900 EVs had been registered by the end of 2018. The exponential growth in EV ownership in Virginia spilled over into the 2020s despite the economic effects of COVID-19.
The number of registered EVs in Virginia rose to 20,500 and 30,700 in 2020 and 2021, respectively. 2022 was the best year yet for EV adoption in Virginia, as the total number of registered EVs rose to 56,600. Given the federal and state governments’ efforts toward EV adoption, we expect the number to further increase in 2023.
Market Share of Electric Vehicles in Virginia
Virginia currently ranks in the top half when considering EV ownership in the US by state — this was not always the case. AFDC reported Virginia’s EV market share in 2016 as 0.0%. The situation did not change much in 2017 and 2018, as EVs only managed a 0.1% market share.
However, the EV market started gaining ground in 2020 and 2021, growing to 0.3% and 0.4%, respectively. This was followed by a surge in EV ownership in 2022, increasing its market share to 0.7%. Whereas Virginia’s EV adoption rates have been exponential, the state still has a long way to go. It has to maintain its momentum in the foreseeable future to catch up with states like California, which had a 2.5% EV market share in 2022.
The 6 Most Popular Electric Vehicles in Virginia
The most popular EVs in Virginia comprise a blend of American and foreign brands. We also noticed that Virginia has a vibrant second-hand EV market. This means not everyone buys ‘zero-mileage’ units off the showrooms.
Let’s focus on the most popular EVs in Virginia.
Tesla Model S
It is no longer surprising that a Tesla EV appears on this list or any other focused on electric cars. Tesla has weaved its name into the fabric of EV history in the US and globally. One of its best-performing EVs in the US and Virginia markets is the Tesla Model S. It was first released in 2012 to much acclaim and recognition.
The Model S is popular in Virginia because it packs decent horsepower. The base Model S has a power output of 670 hp, while the Model S Plaid has a peak power of 1,020 hp. With such power outputs, it is unsurprising that the Model S has one of the best accelerations among EVs. The base Model S and Model S Plaid reach 60 mph in 3.1 and 1.99 seconds, respectively.
The Model S is also popular among EV owners in Virginia because of its extended range. The standard Model S gives you an estimated range of 405 miles on a single charge. This is higher than what you get with the Model S Plaid, estimated at 396 miles.
We must also mention this EV’s safety features, which make it popular in Virginia. The Model S is built for high-impact protection during accidents. It also comes with Tesla Vision and Autopilot, which can automatically steer or break the car to avoid collisions.
Finally, this Tesla’s seating and cargo capacities appeal to people who want family-friendly cars. Both trims can seat five passengers and have a 28 cu-ft cargo capacity. The front and rear trunks hold most, if not all, of your luggage when going for vacations.
Buying the base Model S will set you back $74,990. The Model S Plaid has superior features and better performance, explaining its $89,990 starting price.
Hyundai Ioniq 5
Hyundai is not the first company that comes to mind when discussing EV manufacturers. However, the company boasts one of the best EVs available today, the Hyundai Ioniq 5. The EV was voted World Car of the Year at the 2022 World Car Awards. It also won the World Electric Vehicle of the Year and World Car Design Award at the same event.
The Ioniq 5 is surprisingly cheap, considering it was one of the best EVs of 2022. With a starting price of $41,450, the Ioniq 5 is one of the most affordable electric SUVs you can own in Virginia today. For context, the Ioniq 5 is cheaper than the Tesla Model S base trim by more than $30,000.
The price difference comes with no significant compromises. Expect a maximum range of 303 miles when your Ioniq 5 is fully charged. This is lower than you get from a Tesla Model S. However, the range will comfortably meet your daily driving needs. Moreover, the Ioniq 5 supports ultra-fast charging — you can boost its charge from 10 to 80% in about 18 minutes.
The Ioniq 5’s safety features appeal to many people in Virginia, and rightfully so. The EV received a 2022 IIHS Top Safety Pick+ award for being one of the safest small SUVs. It passed rigorous tests regarding its crashworthiness, child restraints, and crash avoidance system, among other safety features.
Another factor contributing to the Ioniq 5’s popularity in Virginia is its warranty package. Hyundai offers a warranty of up to 10 years or 100,000 miles for the EV’s powertrain and battery. Owners also receive 24/7 roadside assistance for five years or unlimited miles.
The Kia EV6 is another electric vehicle that owes its popularity in Virginia to its affordability. The vehicle’s standard trim starts at $42,600, while the most expensive trim, the EV6 GT (e-AWD), starts at $61,600.
The EV6 is also popular in Virginia because it offers more variety than most EVs — it is available in six trims. Three trims have a rear-wheel drive (RWD) powertrain, while the rest have an all-wheel drive (AWD) transmission. The trims offer decent power outputs, but not at the sports performance level (the GT (e-AWD) is the only exception). The base model, the Light (RWD), produces 167 hp, while the premium model, the GT (e-AWD), puts out 576 hp.
EV enthusiasts in Virginia have also embraced the Kia EV6 for being eco-friendly. The most obvious reason is that switching to EVs reduces reliance on fossil fuels, which have been associated with environmental pollution. Kia went the extra mile to ensure the EV6 was eco-friendly. It used recycled PET plastics to make the EV6’s floor mats. Kia claims that each EV6 unit uses 107 recycled 500ml PET bottles.
Owning an electric car does not cost you any significant convenience associated with gas-powered cars. The Kia EV6 has an estimated range of 310 miles on a single charge. This is enough to cover your daily commute to work for a few days, if not a week. Even better, anyone who buys the 2023 EV6 receives charging credits worth 1,000 kWh from Kia.
Tesla Model 3
The Tesla Model 3 has remained a top pick among EV enthusiasts in the US for several years. Unsurprisingly, it also enjoys considerable popularity in Virginia. Tesla released the Model 3 to cater to customers who wanted affordable EVs with decent performance and range.
The Tesla Model 3 costs $32,740 after deducting a $7,500 federal tax credit. The price could go even lower when considering state tax incentives like rebates. These incentives have enticed many Virginia residents to order the Model 3.
EV enthusiasts in Virginia also love the Model 3 for its range. The base model, the RWD trim, has an estimated range of 272 miles. The Performance trim gives you 315 miles, while the Long Range AWD trim covers up to 333 miles on a single charge.
Finally, the Model 3 has one of the lowest depreciation rates, which has endeared it to many EV owners in Virginia. The Model 3 is estimated to preserve up to 90% of its MSRP during its first three years of use. The value drops below 65% only after five years of service. This makes the Model 3 the go-to option for EV owners who like upgrading their cars every few years.
First released in 2010, the Nissan Leaf has had a prolific run in the United States and Virginia markets. Nissan reported that it had sold more than 148,000 Leafs in the US as of 2020. This figure is not surprising — the Nissan Leaf is among the most affordable EVs you can own today. The 2024 Nissan Leaf S has a starting price of $28,140, while the Leaf SV PLUS has a starting price of $36,190. The Leaf’s MSRP allows it to compete favorably against entry-level EVs and gas-powered vehicles sold in Virginia.
Nissan Leaf owners in Virginia also love the EV for its range. The base model offers an estimated range of 149 miles, while the premium model covers up to 212 miles on a single charge. This makes the Leaf ideal for Virginia residents making daily commutes to work. The Leaf is still a good option for people who go on long trips occasionally. It supports fast charging, allowing you to boost the Leaf SV PLUS to 80% in about 45 minutes using a 100 kW DC charger.
Prospective EV buyers looking to buy the Nissan Leaf should avoid earlier models, as they had recurrent battery issues. This is a significant concern should you be shopping for a second-hand Leaf to save some money. We recommend taking the Leaf to a local Nissan dealership in Virginia to check the battery’s overall health.
Ford Mustang Mach-E
The Mustang Mach-E is arguably Ford’s most successful EV to date. In 2022 Ford celebrated manufacturing its 150,000th unit since releasing the Mach-E in late 2020. Though a late entrant, the Mach-E has received mostly positive reviews from EV enthusiasts, explaining its popularity in Virginia. The Mustang name and SUV design also quickly endeared the Mach-E to Virginia residents within a short time of its release.
Another reason the Mach-E is one of the most popular EVs in Virginia is its availability in multiple trims. Buyers can choose among four Mach-E models: Select, Premium, California Route 1, and GT. The models are priced differently, with the Mach-E Select being the cheapest ($42,995) and the Mach-E GT being the most expensive ($59,995).
Mach-E owners in Virginia also love the EV for its performance — this is one similarity the EV shares with the original Mustang. The Mach-E Select has the slowest 0-60 mph acceleration, estimated at 6.3 seconds. The fastest trim, the Mach-E GT, accelerates to 60 mph in 3.8 seconds.
Finally, the Mustang Mach-E’s range has endeared it to many EV owners and enthusiasts in Virginia. The Mach-E covers between 250 and 312 miles on a single charge, depending on the battery capacity and powertrain. Prospective buyers concerned about their area’s EV charging infrastructure can get the California Route 1 trim. This model gives you more than 300 miles on a single charge, which should have you covered for your long drives.
Virginia has made significant strides in EV adoption but still has a long way to go. However, we must commend the state government’s efforts to improve EV charging infrastructure within its borders.
The state government’s commitment toward zero-emission vehicles should encourage more Virginia residents to switch to electric cars. EV enthusiasts in Virginia seem to have a sweet spot for affordable EVs with decent performance and range. So, if you are a Virginia resident looking to buy your first EV, this article should be a good starting point.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©Sean Pavone/Shutterstock.com.