The US increased the number of publicly accessible electric-vehicle charging stations by about nine percent in the first quarter of 2013 as retailers and municipalities looked to start meeting increased demand from drivers of plug-ins vehicles like the Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Volt.
As of March 22, plug-in drivers could access 5,678 charging stations across the country, up 478 from an even 5,200 on December 18, according to figures published by the US Department of Energy. At that pace, US should add about 1,900 stations this year, potentially bringing the total to around 7,100 by the end of the year.
Charging stations continue to be most prevalent on the West Coast. As of March 22, California had 1,207 stations, or more than a fifth of the country's total. Washington and Oregon had 326 and 310 stations, respectively, putting a third of the US charging stations in the three westernmost continental states. Meanwhile, Texas had 432 stations, while 352 stations have been deployed in Florida.
As for retailers, Walgreens is by far the plug-in friendliest, with 365 stores deploying plug-in stations nationally. 55 Kohl's stores had public stations as of March 22, while Whole Foods was home to 39 stations.
The popularity of plug-in vehicles among Americans continues to rise even as demand for hybrids and diesels appears to be flattening out. For the first quarter, Americans more than doubled purchases of electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids to almost 18,000 vehicles, including the 4,750 Model S cars sold by Tesla Motors.