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Echols Guest Post 05042015


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Guest Post: Tim Echols – “All Good Things Must Come to an End”

As Governor Nathan Deal signed the Transportation Bill which repeals the ZEV/LEV Tax Credits, Public Service Commissioner Tim Echols shares his thoughts on what to do now in this guest post.  Throughout the battle to keep some EV tax incentive, Tim has been a strong and unwavering voice in support of sustaining the growth of EV’s in Georgia. Many thanks Tim! #2016

All good things must come to an end  By Tim Echols

It is official.  The generous $5000 state tax credit for leasing or purchasing an electric vehicle is expiring June 30th.  The Governor has signed the legislation that passed both the Senate and the House at the Capitol, and would-be electric car drivers are scrambling to get their Nissan LEAF, Tesla or other pure electric vehicle before the credit disappears.

Here are some factors you should consider before buying or leasing an electric car.

First, make sure a pure electric car works for your lifestyle. I live in Athens and lease two Nissan LEAFs, and it works great for my wife and daughter who scoot in and around Athens.  When they need to go into Atlanta or drive out of state, they use my E85 car. They charge their cars in our garage and it costs about $20 per month on our electric bill.

Second, these cars have their limitations. Since I have been on the Georgia Public Service Commission, I have praised pioneers who bought or leased an essentially experimental car like a Tesla or Nissan LEAF. It is good for our environment and good for our grid. These consumers are choosing to use a “made in America” fuel too—homegrown Georgia electricity. But mark my word, you will experience “range anxiety” from time to time as you try to press the limit of the 100 mile range on the Nissan LEAF.  Tesla owners…not so much.  They just have to worry about making their giant car payment.

Third, besides costing less to operate, our Nissan LEAFs, both on a 24 month lease, save our family money.  Our monthly lease payments are about $270 per month per car.  Nissan “bakes” the $7500 federal tax credit into the transaction, and you simple file with the state department of revenue for the state credit.  Figured over 24 months, that is $208 per month, leaving us with about $62 per month out of pocket for the car.  We installed a garage charger for about $700 including labor, and the car never needs oil, water, transmission fluid…or gas.  We feel like that great deal more than compensates for the “range anxiety” we occasionally experience.

Fourth, the local economy may get a boost from this transaction too. When that tax credit comes back to you, many electric car owners use it to pay college tuition for a child, or a bill, or just put it in the bank to offset the payments.  According to the Georgia Department of Economic Development, for every one percent of petroleum-based miles traveled in Georgia that is displaced by electric vehicles, approximately $201 million dollars will remain in the state of Georgia annually. Each pure electric vehicle purchased keeps $2,242 annually in the state of Georgia by fueling with electricity rather than petroleum-based products.

Finally, electric cars help our grid. What you don’t hear is that electric car owners are helping Georgia cut electricity usage, which ultimately saves everyone money. How? Many shift their energy usage to the overnight hours due to an incentive from Georgia Power for electric car owners. According to a study of 1,000 Georgia electric car owners, these customers reduced their annual bill by $180 – even though they charged their car and didn’t buy gasoline for the entire year.  This “load shifting,” as we call it at the PSC, saves them money and yet uses less “peak load” electricity resulting in cheaper bills for everyone.

Electric cars aren’t for everyone, but they work great for us. If you want to take advantage of the Georgia tax credit, you should act quickly.  Meanwhile, feel free to contact me for more information at timothyechols@gmail.com and join me at the Alternative Fueled Vehicle Roadshow coming to a city near you. See more at www.afvroadshow.com and happy motoring.

Commissioner Tim Echols serves on the Georgia Public Service Commission and leases two Nissan LEAFS. He regulates electricity, natural gas and telecom for the state of Georgia.

Editors Note:  To qualify for the $5,000 ZEV, Georgia residents must take delivery of the qualifying new vehicle (Nissan LEAF, Tesla Model S or Roadster, KIA Soul EV, VW eGolf, Mitsubishi Mio) by midnight June 30, 2015.  The vehicle must be in your possession with a Motor Vehicle Purchase Agreement signifying delivery.  Contact your automotive dealer/showroom for more details.

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Georgia Zero Emission Vehicle Tax Credit Falls -9%/Filer in 2014! Georgia Legislators Miss it Again!

Data recently released from the Department of Natural Resources who oversees the Georgia ZEV and LEV tax credit program shows that tax claims grew a modest $2 million (+14%) on 25% increase in claimants. So what gives? Actual claim/filer went DOWN by -9% because the filing household could not use the entire $5,000 tax credit!  So the tax credit actually helped middle income Georgia residents afford to make the transition into an electric vehicle.

The data further shows that claims are not the $50-60 million range State Legislator Chuck Martin (R- Alpharetta) said they were.  More ‘fuzzy’ math by Georgia Legislators!

GA ZEV Claim Rate 2011-2014

If you live in Georgia, contact Governor Nathan Deal at the link below to voice your support to line item veto the repeal of the ZEV tax credit and the $200.00 annual road user fee.

Governor Nathan Deal:  https://gov.georgia.gov/webform/contact-governor-domestic-form

Georgia Power Electric Transportation Image


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New Georgia Power Video Series Featuring Real Atlanta EV Owners Chris, Evelyn, Jennifer and Tum

Here are four recently released videos produced for Georgia Power showing how much fun and how easy it is to own an EV!  Meet our four Atlanta based EV owners and listen to their stories;

Chris  – VOLT, Ford Focus Electric and now BMW i3 Owner

http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid3766748935001?bckey=AQ~~,AAAABDgpvmk~,ED_cDwcEXowvilgy3BjwShsooAV3XJo_&bctid=4144820177001

Evelyn – (Early) Tesla Owner

http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid3766748935001?bckey=AQ~~,AAAABDgpvmk~,ED_cDwcEXowvilgy3BjwShsooAV3XJo_&bctid=4144820163001

Jennifer – 2015 Nissan LEAF Owner

http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid3766748935001?bckey=AQ~~,AAAABDgpvmk~,ED_cDwcEXowvilgy3BjwShsooAV3XJo_&bctid=4144820160001

Tum – BMW i3 and SMART Car Owner

http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid3766748935001?bckey=AQ~~,AAAABDgpvmk~,ED_cDwcEXowvilgy3BjwShsooAV3XJo_&bctid=4144827828001

Georgia Power Electric Transportation Website

http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid3766748935001?bckey=AQ~~,AAAABDgpvmk~,ED_cDwcEXowvilgy3BjwShsooAV3XJo_&bctid=4144820177001

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Guest Post: I Got My Electric Car Home, Now What? By Tim Smith Modernize.com

Editors Note:  with all of the ‘ink’ over the last several months devoted to the Georgia EV tax credit, my friends at Modernize were very willing to provide something different and useful. 

To fight back against rising gas prices and a deteriorating environment, many have invested in electric cars that not only save the atmosphere from pollution but also save the driver countless dollars from filling up the tank. As with all major purchases, there is some required maintenance, but since electric cars are still out of the ordinary, that maintenance is not yet common knowledge. Fortunately, there are plenty of resources online that detail how to take care of your electric car. Here, we’ll look into how to properly outfit your home garage for your new car.

Garage Pic

Via Modernize.com

The first thing you need to know is whether your house has enough juice to actually power an electric car. Many older homes – as in, built in the 50s and 60s – are not outfitted to handle the electricity needs of an electric car. If this is the case, you are going to need to rewire your garage to handle a proper charge for your vehicle. For this, you’re going to need a 12-amp circuit, at least, to charge the car with enough time for the morning commute. This circuit is going to need to be separate from any other as you don’t want anything else leeching power from it.

If you’re in a new home, it still might be wise to rewire your place as even the outlets in new garages only handle up to 120 volts. Full electric cars like the Nissan LEAF take up to eight hours to charge on an outlet with twice the power, so you’re going to want a more powerful circuit if you don’t want to have to plan your life around your car’s battery. Thus, many recommend a 240 volt charging station dedicated to charging your electric car. 240 volts – sometimes known as level 2 charging – is enough to keep the LEAF running on eight hour charges every night. And those dedicated charging stations can be programmed to time their charge to lessen their load on the power grid and act more efficiently which, again, helps the environment and your wallet.

Connector Pic

Via CityofEvanston.org

These stations are properly called Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment or EVSE. The EVSE is the bridge between your home’s power and your car’s battery, controlling the electricity current and shutting down in case of a power surge, a software crash or an electrical short. If this sounds complicated, don’t fret, as fortunately many electric car manufacturers will send a certified electrician to your home to check if your garage can handle the electric load of a motor vehicle and advise you on any upgrades that are needed.

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Georgia on My Mind: What’s Being Written about the Georgia Legislature and the Plight of EVs

Jeff Cohen, Founder Atlanta EV Development Coalition:

Smart Grid News adds their story on the EV Conflicted Georgia State Legislature.

Originally posted on Atlanta Electric Vehicle Development Coalition:

Here are links to recent articles published by VICE and SaportaReports and Smart Grid News concerning the defeat of the EV Tax Credit and adding the $200 EV Road User Fee and Rep Jay Roberts praising the Transportation Bill while remaining silent on the EV tax credit repeal and Road User Fee:

VICE: https://news.vice.com/article/the-georgia-legislature-just-pulled-the-plug-on-electric-cars

SaportaReports:  http://saportareport.com/georgia-is-driving-in-reverse-when-it-comes-to-electric-vehicles-going-from-being-a-leader-to-last-place/

Smart Grid News: http://www.smartgridnews.com/story/georgia-legislature-conflicted-over-evs/2015-04-08

Atlanta- Journal Constitution Guest Column by House Rep Jay Roberts, author of the Transportation Bill

Atlanta Journal Constitution Guest Column Jay Roberts and Transportation Bill 04062015

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KIA SOUL EV is being contemplated for launch in Georgia.  Will the loss of the ZEV tax credit change KIA's mind?


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Georgia on My Mind: What’s Being Written about the Georgia Legislature and the Plight of EVs

Here are links to recent articles published by VICESaportaReportsSmart Grid News  and TransportEvolved concerning the defeat of the EV Tax Credit and adding the $200 EV Road User Fee and Rep Jay Roberts praising the Transportation Bill while remaining silent on the EV tax credit repeal and Road User Fee:

VICE: https://news.vice.com/article/the-georgia-legislature-just-pulled-the-plug-on-electric-cars

SaportaReports:  http://saportareport.com/georgia-is-driving-in-reverse-when-it-comes-to-electric-vehicles-going-from-being-a-leader-to-last-place/

Smart Grid News: http://www.smartgridnews.com/story/georgia-legislature-conflicted-over-evs/2015-04-08

Transport Evolved: https://transportevolved.com/2015/03/30/in-one-fell-swoop-ga-senate-endstax-credits-introduces-200-annual-fee-for-electric-cars/

Atlanta- Journal Constitution Guest Column by House Rep Jay Roberts, author of the Transportation Bill

Atlanta Journal Constitution Guest Column Jay Roberts and Transportation Bill 04062015

ABC EV Headlines March 27 2015


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Georgia EV Tax Credit and User Fee – Now What?

The 2015 Georgia General Assembly 40 day session is over.  What happened?  What happens now?

As expected both chambers passed HB 170 Transportation Bill which included the repeal of the $5,000 ZEV and $2,500 LEV tax credits effective July 1, 2015 and added the $200/year/EV road use fee while the legislators raised the gasoline tax to fund Georgia’s aging road infrastructure. Don Francis, Executive Director CleanCitiesGeorgia published data showing that a 3,500 lb EV would pay the same road use fee as a one and half ton SUV getting 9 miles per gallon  in gasoline tax.  As the Atlanta Business Chronicle reported on March 27, 2015, Rep. Jay Roberts, author of the HB 170 Transportation bill admitted in a committee meeting on March 12th that he made up the EV road use fee!  

Hundreds of Constituent phone calls, emails, signed petitions, and in-person meetings with legislators to address the unfair road use fee fell on deaf ears. They needed over $900 million and the EV tax credit and road use fee was easy pickings and the few EV lobbyist could not get legislators to see the unfairness of their legislation.  Georgia Legislators simply did not care

So now the bill goes to Governor Nathan Deal for signature, which he clearly intends to do.  Deal, as reported by the Atlanta Journal Constitution on April 5, 2015, played a decisive role behind all of the legistation that mattered to him; the Transportation Bill being one of them.  The AJC reported that Deal’s lobbyists got $45 million worth of tax breaks pushed through in the final hours of the session.

Another winner? Mercedes Benz USA.  Deal got MBUSA employees sales tax free leases!  The measure was approved at 12:04 AM, past the official closing time of the 2015 legislative session.  WOW!  a $1.3 million tax break can get pushed through with nary a debate and after the close of the session!

Georgia On My Mind!  EV Owners held a Rally at the State Capitol on April 2nd and have vowed to fight the Road Use Fee and pledge to be back with a new Tax Credit for the 2016 Legislative Session.

Looks like this isn’t over just yet!

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