New Data Shows Statewide Growth in Electric Vehicle Purchases in Minnesota

November 13, 2019 | | Education

During our recent work with Minnesota cities via Cities Charging Ahead (CCA), one of the most common questions posed by communities was, “How many electric vehicles (EVs) are in my community?” As explained in our previous blog, “EV Registrations in Minnesota,” the Great Plains Institute (GPI), which facilitates Drive Electric Minnesota, worked with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and Department of Public Safety to obtain data on the number of EVs registered in each zip code across Minnesota. CCA started working with this data in 2018, and cities used this data in their decision-making processes for becoming EV-ready and accelerating vehicle electrification in their communities.

Recently, GPI developed an interactive map that displays data from the Department of Public Safety about where in Minnesota, by zip code and by city, EVs are registered (through spring 2019). The map can be zoomed in to see different areas of the state. The map can also be filtered to look at the numbers by zip code or county and contains layers including charging stations, charging corridors, legislative districts, cities, and more.

The big news from Minnesota’s EV registration data is that between the spring of 2018 and the spring of 2019, EV registrations in the state nearly doubled from 6,000 to just over 10,000. That is huge growth, despite that it is still a small percentage of the total vehicles sold. According to data from IHS Markit, electric and plug-in hybrid sales made up 1.13% of overall vehicle sales in Minnesota in 2018. Here is a gif that shows the growth between 2018 and 2019.

EV Registrations by Zip Code: 2018 vs 2019

Source: Data from MPCA 2019; figure authored by GPI.

With the additional growth, there is now only one county (sorry Jackson!) in Minnesota that doesn’t have any registered EVs, which is impressive considering the significant rural nature of the state of Minnesota. Many rural car dealerships do not have EVs on their lots, making it harder for people living in those areas to purchase them. It shows a great commitment to owning an EV if you must go beyond your local dealerships to get what you are looking for.

The ability to show that all but one county has EV owners provides further evidence of the extent of EV adoption across the entire state. While some communities outside of the metro area may be unsure if there is public demand for public EV charging stations, use of the mapping tool can address those concerns. In fact, not only does the interactive data provide insight into growing EV ownership across the state, but it also provides evidence to the growing number of EV owners within almost every single community! This data on EV ownership can also provide another positive data point for the majority of prospective car buyers in Minnesota who have indicated an interest in EVs. It’s clear that EVs are not an urban- or metro-exclusive technology, but something that communities across Minnesota are starting to adopt. Given the many economic and environmental benefits of EVs, it’s encouraging to see that they’re reaching consumers and communities across the state.

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About Cities Charging Ahead!: In 2018-19, 28 Minnesota cities worked together in regional cohorts through the Cities Charging Ahead! (CCA) project to learn and act together to become “electric vehicle (EV) ready communities.” These cities increased their knowledge significantly and made strides toward their goals to foster EV adoption in their communities. CCA, which was led by the Great Plains Institute and Clean Energy Resource Teams, officially wrapped up in June but the cities have expressed an interest in continuing to meet periodically in their regional cohorts. To build on this interest and the knowledge gained through CCA, we’ve developed resources that are now available for other cities to learn from.

More detail on city accomplishments can be found at