Close-up of luxury electric car charging

Autonomous and Electric Vehicles

Build the Future of Commuting in Greater Phoenix

Autonomous and electric vehicles are changing the world we live in, and Greater Phoenix is a prime location for the development and testing of this transformative technology. Not only is Arizona a hub of electric vehicle consumers, ranking 7th nationally for registered electric vehicles, residents and public policies alike support the testing of autonomous vehicles. Greater Phoenix is exceptionally positioned to absorb both new-to-market companies and the expansion of existing technologies due to supportive policies, reliable infrastructure, an established supply chain, competitive operating costs, diverse talent pipeline and high quality of life. The region offers an industry ecosystem built for autonomous and electric vehicle (AV/EV) development, testing and production.

AV/EV Industry Report

Get our 34-page, in-depth report on the autonomous and electric vehicle ecosystem in Greater Phoenix.

Supportive Policies

Greater Phoenix offers supportive policies and a competitive tax environment for autonomous and electric vehicle innovators. Multiple executive orders have been signed to advance autonomous vehicle testing and reduce the barriers for innovators in Arizona.

Reliable Infrastructure

Greater Phoenix came of age in the era of the automobile, meaning that it has new, high-quality infrastructure, a gridded street system, wide roads and lower levels of traffic.

Established Supply Chain

Greater Phoenix offers a robust ecosystem with a significant presence from advanced technology companies. The region also has a longstanding automotive R&D infrastructure with many major automakers.

Competitive Operating Costs

Greater Phoenix offers lower annual operating costs than Dallas and San Jose with cheaper real estate and benefit costs compared to peer markets. Greater Phoenix also offers several quality incentives to further decrease operating costs.

Diverse Talent Pipeline

Greater Phoenix boasts competitive, non-distance program completions at colleges and universities in concentrations related to autonomous and electric vehicle research and development.

High Quality of Life

Greater Phoenix offers shorter commute times than peer markets, more than 300 days of sunshine annually, and fewer days with significant weather interruptions.

Supportive Policies

Waymo driverless car passing Chandler City Hall on major road

Autonomous Vehicle Testing & Piloting

In 2015, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey signed an executive order allowing for the testing and piloting of driverless vehicles on certain public roads. Arizona is committed to hosting the emergence of new technologies. This is just one reason companies like Waymo and Lucid have chosen to do business in Greater Phoenix.

Two technicians installing No Traffic signals at City of Phoenix intersection

Arizona 5G Wireless Communication Policy

In March 2017, Arizona passed legislation creating a statewide policy for the implementation of 5G technology. HB 2365, which was signed by Governor Ducey in April, limits regulations on the collocation of small wireless facilities used to improve the existing 4G LTE network and create the infrastructure needed to buildout 5G technology.

Arizona State University, ranked the #1 most innovative school

2018 AV Research Partnership Program

In 2018, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey signed an executive order creating the Institute for Automated Mobility (IAM) in partnership with Intel, Arizona State University, Northern Arizona University, University of Arizona, and other public and private organizations that will collaborate on state-of-the-art research in Arizona. The goal of the institute is to advance all aspects of autonomous vehicles from science to safety to policy.

115+

automotive suppliers operate in Greater Phoenix

15

major companies operate on one of the six proving grounds in the state

4500

students earned degrees relevant to the development of autonomous & electric vehicles in 2019-20

Taxes & Incentives

Arizona offers a highly competitive tax environment and incentive programs that can be utilized to mitigate operating costs. In addition to a low average state sales tax rate (8.6%), corporate income rate (4.9%) and unemployment insurance (2.0%), Arizona recently passed a bill to change the depreciation schedule for business and agriculture properties to lower assessed value and reduce taxes. Business-friendly incentive programs include the Quality Jobs Tax Credit, Qualified Facilities Refundable Tax Credit and Renewable Energy Tax Investment Credit.

Download the full industry analysis for more incentives and program details.

AV/EV Industry Report

Reliable Infrastructure

Upward view of large metal electric power pole
Reliable Power

Arizona has the second-most reliable power grid in the nation and 73% fewer natural disasters than the adjacent state of California. Over the last 10-year period, Arizona recorded only 33 total hours of disturbances. Reduce risk and increase operating efficiency moving to Greater Phoenix.

Phoenix's grid system helps support research and development of autonomous vehicles
Grid system

As a relatively young region, Greater Phoenix came of age in the era of the automobile, meaning the street system for vehicles as a grid plan with wide roads and lower levels of traffic, providing an optimal test environment for autonomous vehicles.

Phoenix's climate is perfect for the research and development of driverless vehicles
Favorable Climate

From flat desert land to mountains with snow — Arizona has excellent weather for manufacturing and testing autonomous and electric vehicles alike.

Autonomous vehicle technology is supported by 5G connectivity in Phoenix
5G Connectivity

Phoenix was one of the first cities in the nation to deploy 5G, accelerating the capacity for AV testing and decreasing latency across technologies.

Phoenix is an ideal location for driverless vehicle companies
Light Rail & Commute Time

The region offers an expanding light rail and modern freeway system, ensuring there is a robust supply of talent no matter where a business is located. Average commute time in the region is only 27.9 minutes, significantly shorter than comparable peer markets.

Autonomous vehicle companies enjoy prime connectivity via Phoenix airport hubs
Airline Connectivity & Access

Enjoy prime connectivity in Greater Phoenix with proximity to Mexico and the cross-border supply chain, and air travel and commerce efficiency through multiple airports. Phoenix Sky Harbor alone offers over 1,100 daily domestic and international flights.

Download the full industry analysis for additional details on Greater Phoenix infrastructure.

AV/EV Industry Report

Established Supply Chain

Significant Advanced Technology Supply Chain

Greater Phoenix is home to nearly every piece of the autonomous & electric vehicle supply chain. The companies below represent a sample of the firms currently operating in the region.

Autonomous & Electric Vehicle R&D Innovators

Thanks to the infrastructure, regional growth and history of high-tech innovation, Greater Phoenix is an established hub for next generation vehicle development. That’s why innovators like Waymo, Nuro, ElectricaMecchanica, Lucid and many others are thriving in Greater Phoenix.

Download the full industry analysis for more local Greater Phoenix suppliers and innovators.

AV/EV Industry Report

Competitive Operating Costs

Autonomous vehicle employers can benefit from Phoenix's low payroll costs and competitive tax environment
A Business-Friendly Operating Environment

Greater Phoenix provides the right combination of affordability, size and scalability. Compared to other metros, Greater Phoenix is less expensive or competitive across all major expenses. Despite having one of the largest talent pools among peer markets, the region has one of the lowest employee payroll costs, while also boasting affordable real estate payments.

Total Operating Cost by Metro – Research & Development

Assumptions: $5,000,000 personal property investment; 50,000-square-foot High Tech Lease; Utilities (per month): Electricity: 75KW, 30,000KWh, Water/Wastewater: 3,000cf, 5/8 meter; 100 jobs (Bureau of Labor Statistics equivalent occupations)

Operating Cost Analysis
Annual Operating Cost – R&D

Metro

Payroll

Benefits

Utilities

Real Estate

Property Tax

Total Operating Cost

Index

Phoenix

$9,777,307

$2,213,107

$40,818

$642,000

$107,550

$12,780,782

100.0%

Austin

$10,669,332

$2,414,168

$31,683

$753,500

$111,333

$13,980,016

109.4%

Dallas-Fort Worth

$10,738,802

$2,429,998

$28,354

$529,500

$135,144

$13,861,798

108.5%

Reno

$9,981,558

$2,340,858

$30,563

$546,000

$63,660

$12,962,639

101.4%

San Jose

$12,999,355

$3,015,416

$79,979

$1,470,000

$60,500

$17,625,250

137.9%

Source: Applied Economics MetrocompTool 2021

Download the industry report for a cost analysis on manufacturing in the AV/EV sector.

AV/EV Industry Report

Decreasing Greater Phoenix Property Tax

The March 2022 passage of HB2822 changed the depreciation schedule by setting the full cash value of business and agricultural personal property to 2.5% of the property’s acquisition cost, thereby lowering the assessed value of the property to create a reduction in taxes. Over a 10-year period, the personal property tax on a $500 million property would be just $2.4 million, a fraction of the nearly $51-million tax on standard depreciation.

Calculate Your Real Estate Savings

Select your MSA, building type and square footage to see how much you would save on annual real estate costs in Greater Phoenix.

Austin
Dallas
Denver
Los Angeles
Portland
San Francisco
Seattle
Type
Office
Industrial
Sq. Feet
Total Annual Savings
$

Calculations were performed using annual lease rates per square foot, effective property tax rates, and average costs of water, wastewater, electric and natural gas; utilities are included in office lease rates.

Sources: GPEC Metrocomp Tool; Costar Market Reports 2022

Diverse Talent Pipeline

The future of the autonomous vehicle industry looks bright with the talent pipeline available in Phoenix
New Talent Entering the Workforce

Greater Phoenix has competitive, non-distance program completions at colleges and universities in concentrations related to autonomous and electric vehicle research and development. The region produced over 4,500 graduates in related concentrations during the 2018 to 2019 school year.

Greater Phoenix college and university programs support the future of autonomous vehicles
Key Programs & Colleges

Local public and private universities, including ASU, UArizona and GCU, offer programs preparing students for autonomous and electric vehicle fields. There are also a variety of community college programs and technical schools that train students in engineering and computer science with focuses in automotive, electrical systems, mechanical engineering systems and robotics.

Total Completions Awarded by Metro

Autonomous Vehicles and electric Vehicles in Greater Phoenix

Source: Lightcast 2020 Q2

Completions by Degree Type

Certificates Associates Bachelor Master Doctor

1,302

375

1,737

989

105

Greater Phoenix is home to the nation’s largest engineering school, Arizona State University (ASU).

Nearly 25,000 students are enrolled in various engineering programs at ASU with more than 4,500 of them graduating with a degree each year. Additionally, the region’s competitive advantage in software skills also makes Greater Phoenix the optimal region for UAV and autonomous vehicle operations.

Source: ASU Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering

Download the full industry analysis for a comprehensive look at Greater Phoenix’s talent pool and pipeline.

AV/EV Industry Report

High Quality of Life

Employees working in the autonomous vehicle industry in Phoenix experience a vibrant lifestyle and diverse culture at an affordable cost of living.

Experience a vibrant lifestyle and diverse culture at an affordable cost of living.

Enjoy the outdoors with more than 300 days of sunshine, average temperatures of 75 degrees, convenient access to over 400 hiking trails and globally recognized sporting events. Take part in a vibrant arts and culture scene that includes prominent classical arts to public art to craft markets and a diverse range of music and cultural events. And, eat well with fresh farmers markets in every city, and globally recognized chefs and culinary experiences at your doorstep. Click the icons below to learn more about Greater Phoenix living.