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October 31st, 2018

Central Ohio Car Buyers Break Records For Electric Vehicle Purchases

Purchases of electric vehicles eclipsed 1 percent of vehicles sold for three consecutive months, 
galvanized by the release of the Tesla Model 3


Columbus, OH, October 31, 2018 – For the first time ever, electric vehicle (EV) sales in the Columbus region exceeded 1 percent of vehicles sold in the Columbus region during the summer of 2018. EV sales benefitted from the release of the Tesla Model 3, with Tesla selling 54.6 percent of electric vehicles purchased in the region during the three-month period. The most popular plug-in hybrid electric vehicle model during this timeframe was the Toyota Prius Prime. 

Sales of battery electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles in Franklin, Delaware, Union, Madison, Pickaway, Fairfield and Licking Counties during the summer of 2018 were:

 EV sales, as a percentage of vehicles sold   Battery Electric Vehicles sold   Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles sold


 July1.10% 6932

 August1.20% 6934

Source: Polk Automotive registration data as provided by IHS Markit

These sales figures put the Smart Columbus program ahead of schedule against its goal of increasing electric vehicle sales in the region nearly five-fold, from a baseline of 0.37 percent of vehicles sold in 2015, to the goal of 1.8 percent of vehicles sold by 2020. Smart Columbus’ electrification efforts are funded by the $10 million grant awarded to Columbus by the Paul G. Allen Philanthropies as the winner of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Smart City Challenge. 

“Columbus is emerging as the Midwest’s leading city for EV adoption thanks to the Smart Columbus electrification program that is funded by the Paul G. Allen Family Philanthropies and in-market availability of a variety of attractive, long-range models from exciting brands like Tesla, Nissan, Honda and Toyota, that are being offered at more attractive price points,” said Mark Patton, Vice President, Smart Cities for the Columbus Partnership. “These record-breaking sales figures demonstrate that central Ohio car buyers understand that electric vehicles are the future, and our market is ready to buy them today.”

From the first quarter of 2017 through the second quarter of 2018, new electric vehicle registrations in the Columbus region increased by 65 percent, according to an analysis by the Paul G. Allen Philanthropies. This outpaced the 44 percent expansion in the Midwest region and the 57 percent growth across the U.S. overall.
Electric vehicle sales growth has been driven not only by increased model availability, but also through Smart Columbus programming designed to educate central Ohio residents on the benefits of EVs. Since 2017, Smart Columbus has conducted more than 7,500 EV test drives for central Ohio residents through the Smart Columbus Ride & Drive Roadshow and Smart Columbus Experience Center

Smart Columbus has also partnered with more than 50 large employers committed to educating the region’s workforce on the benefits of electric vehicles and shared mobility, that are together acting to shift mobility patterns in the region. 

“As an Acceleration Partner, we are committed to promoting the use of electric vehicles and their favorable impact on our environment,” said Rob Corron, Vice President of Facilities and Security at Alliance Data, the first Acceleration Partner company to offer electric vehicle purchase rebates to employees through a pilot program co-funded by Smart Columbus. “We are proud of the associate response during our summer EV campaign during which 17 associates took advantage of our incentive program and purchased new electric vehicles. The 20 free charging stations at our Easton campus are now at full capacity and we will soon be adding charging stations to two other central Ohio sites as we strive to lead the way in sustainable transportation.”




About Smart Columbus
The City of Columbus’ Smart Columbus plan won the U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT) $40 million Smart City Challenge in June 2016 after competing against 77 cities nationwide to become the country’s first city to fully integrate innovative technologies – self-driving cars, connected vehicles and smart sensors – into its transportation network. Columbus was also awarded an additional $10 million grant from the Paul G. Allen Philanthropies to accelerate the transition to an electrified, low-emissions transportation system. Aligned investments totaling more than $500 million have been made by the private, public and academic institutions in the region to support technology and infrastructure investments that upgrade Columbus' transportation network and help make Columbus the model connected city of the future. Smart Columbus is a regional smart city initiative co-led by the City of Columbus and Columbus Partnership that includes partnerships with The Ohio State University, Battelle, American Electric Power and many more. 

For more information, visit the Smart Columbus website,

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