Environment, economy spark EV sales growth in Indiana

According to 'Stacker.com,' in 2022, there were nearly 360 EV charging stations statewide in Indiana

Electric vehicles are being called the "cars of the future." But how quickly are Indiana residents willing to drive into that future by buying one?

Environmentalists see EVs as a way to combat climate change -- and motorists see them as a break from paying high gas prices.

According to the Indiana Office of Energy Development Dashboard, nearly 116,000 electric and hybrid vehicles are registered statewide -- 17,000 in Marion County alone.

Mo McReynolds, senior product manager in the City of Indianapolis Office of Sustainability, said their appeal varies.

"Many of them look so futuristic, that could be somebody's interest in it," McReynolds explained. "It's not just the economics -- it can be the performance, it can be the look, it can be the idea of just as cool new 'tech thing.'"

EVs and hybrids may be catching on, but they make up only a little more than 2% of all vehicles registered in Indiana. Detractors point out that EVs are expensive -- and that they are powered by electricity, which may still be produced from natural gas or coal.

BlueIndy, the Indianapolis electric car-sharing program created in 2016 - placed the city ahead of its time and sparked growing interest in EVs. Although the program ended in 2020, McReynolds said Indianapolis has kept pace for EV infrastructure and vehicles with federal funding.

Her office works with the Federal Highway Authority to get funding for charging stations as more people purchase EVs.

"As far as Indiana goes, there are increasingly more electric vehicle charging stations all over the state. And the state has participated in the National [Electric] Vehicle Infrastructure programs that are creating more and more of these."

Car dealerships are taking notice by increasing their inventory, or requesting placement on manufacturers' waiting lists, and car buyers are finding they are competing with rental car agencies, which are buying more electric vehicles.

By Terri Dee, Anchor/Producer Oct. 10, 2023