Atlanta Electric Vehicle Development Coalition

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City of Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed


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City of Atlanta sets National Example by Launching Electric Vehicle Fleet Program

WOW!  Big news from Mayor Kasim Reed’s office about the City of Atlanta moving to Electric Vehicles in its Fleet Program – 50 EV’s in the City’s Fleet by the end of 2015 in partnership with Vision Fleet:

ATLANTA – The City of Atlanta announced today it will deploy one of the largest municipal fleets of electric vehicles in the United States by the end of 2015 under legislation approved this week by the Atlanta City Council. The measure is part of Mayor Kasim Reed’s agenda to ensure that Atlanta is one of the nation’s leading cities for sustainability, and will reduce the city’s dependence on fossil fuels while saving taxpayers thousands of dollars per year.

The new fleet deployment complements the existing efforts of the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability to support electric vehicles such as the recent installation of the first public charging station on Mitchell Street near Atlanta City Hall. The charging station is free and open to the public.

“Replacing our current cars with clean-fueled vehicles, powered by cutting-edge technology, is a historic step for the City of Atlanta,” said Mayor Reed. “The program is yet another example of how we are fully invested in making Atlanta a healthier and more prosperous city.”

Spearheaded by the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability, the new vehicle fleet program is aligned with the City’s Power to Change Plan which seeks to reduce vehicle emissions by 20 percent by the year 2020.

“This is the start of a long-term program to develop policies and programs that will encourage employees, residents and businesses to consider using electric vehicles,” said Stephanie Stuckey Benfield, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability. “We are grateful to our partners who helped with the passage of this program, including the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, Clean Cities Georgia, NRG eVgo and Georgia Power’s Electric Transportation Team.”

In partnership with Vision Fleet a plug-in vehicle fleet company, the City of Atlanta developed an innovative financing structure that bundles together all the expenses of purchasing, fueling and maintaining the electric vehicles into a guaranteed rate that is a lower cost than conventional vehicles. Additionally, Vision Fleet will utilize its comprehensive suite of technology, data analytics, and provide operational support designed specifically for reducing the cost of ownership of alternative fuel vehicles.

The City of Atlanta fleet vehicles will include 100 percent electric models, such as the Nissan LEAF, as well as plug-in hybrid models like the Chevrolet Volt and the Ford Fusion Energi. Cars will be distributed throughout the city’s fleet based on the needs of each department.

“This project will have enormous impacts on fuel consumption and fleet service costs,” said Vision Fleet CEO Michael Brylawski. “For example, each of the 50 electric vehicles deployed will save at least 550-600 gallons of gas annually. In addition, fuel costs for the new electric vehicles will be about one-third of the old gas vehicles costs, and maintenance will be reduced by approximately 40 percent.”

Tesla Fremont CA plant


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Tesla Changes Model S Line Up Again – Risks Alienating Current Owners in Quest to Lure New Ones

“I’m begining to fear the announcement everytime Elon Musk steps up to the microphone” to paraphrase a member of the Tesla Fans of Atlanta Face Book page. And they are right.

What happened today?  Tesla announced three ‘upgrades’ to its product line

1). A revised Model S 70, now offering a ‘lower price’ single motor version of the vehicle and rolled back the base pricing to $70,000; identical to what it sold the outgoing Model S 60 for just 100 days ago.  Apparently jumping the base price to $75,000 to include Dual Motors (aka 70D) and supercharging did little for the base model sales.  So Tesla appears to have beat a hasty retreat to its single motor, Rear Wheel Drive platform.  Tesla is working hard to get it’s entry priced Model S below the $80,000 price point with the most popular options.

2). An upgraded 85 kWh battery to 90 kWh. The upgrade may foreshadow the battery pack for the forthcoming Model X where towing capacity of 10,000 pounds and 7 passengers is requiredTo appease recent 85/85D buyers, Tesla is offering a $3,000 upgrade (plus installation) for the slightly longer range battery, cleverly expressed as a “7% increase in range” which translates to 18 additional EV miles.

No such upgrade was offered to late buying 60 owners* who could increase range from 208 to 230 miles. One Atlanta Tesla owner noted “on my last trip I averaged 221 miles between charges.” That would be a meaningful upgrade for a Model S 60 owner**.

3). Addition of the Ludicrous Speed feature for $13,000 to reduce 0-60 time from 3.1 seconds to 2.8 seconds.  The base 70 Model S goes from 0-60 in 5.5 seconds, the 85 5.4 seconds and the P85D 3.1 seconds, which was labeled “Insane” mode.  Why does a 4,500 lb car need 0-60 in under 3 seconds? And it requires both the $10,000 Ludicrous and $3,000 Range Upgrade Packages. On a per second basis, that is a $43,333! ($13,000/.3 seconds)

Tesla owners, as expressed by several members of the Atlanta Facebook group, are becoming wary of ‘upgrades’ which depreciate their already expensive vehicles.  Others express willingness to dump the last version of their Model S or pay for upgrades to get the newest features, and bragging rights.

Elon Musk describes Tesla as a car that just keeps getting better: cleaner grid, software updates, battery upgrades.  But if current owners cannot ‘pay to play’ to get the upgrades, then he is not truly fulfilling that promise. Buying one $100,000 car is a huge sacrifice. I am all for upgrades but with access to them by current owners. That would truly make Tesla and the Model S (and Model X and Model III to come) a truly revolutionary motor car company.

* Full disclosure:  I took delivery of a 2015 Tesla Model S 60 with full knowledge of the Model 70D.  The option to re-order with a 70 kWh battery without the dual motor (and loss of the very useable Frunk) was not available. Just 100 days later that option is available and I have asked Tesla representatives to consider offering a 70 kWh battery upgrade on the same terms as 85 kWh owners can do so.

** Owner has an 85 kWh battery  with a 265 mile rated range.  On a comparably equipped basis, the new 70 is $2,000 less than my 60 as Super Charging is now included in the base price versus being a $2,000 option back in March when ordered.

800px-Georgia-state-capitol


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The Night the Lights Went Out In Georgia! – ZEV Tax Credit Sunsets at Midnight!

The title song to Vicki Lawrence’s 1973 Hit (followed by a 1981 movie of the same title and covered in1991 by country star Reba McIntyre) says it all today, June 30, 2015 when the ZEV Tax Credit expires after 17 years at midnight tonight.  In it’s wake has been the mad rush to buy and lease Nissan LEAF, Tesla Model S and new to Georgia’s KIA Soul EV before the tax credit expires and is replaced by nothing but the $200.00 annual EV Road Use Fee enacted by House Bill 170.

This author, after investing six months fighting to retain the EV tax credit in some, reduced form (see $914 Million Reasons blog post) leased a 2015 Nissan LEAF for his son at Law School in Virginia and purchased a 2015 Tesla Model S60 for his new business Georgia EVentures, LLC which rents out EVs for extended periods.  If you can’t fight ’em, join ’em.

When all the dust clears, the elimination of the ZEV tax credit is likely to produce another 10,000 EVs on metro Atlanta roads as residents snapped up EVs in time for the tax credit.  That puts Atlanta around 25,000+ EVs on its roads, helping it maintain a Top 5 EV city ranking.

What happens in 2016?  There will be renewed effort to pass an EV tax credit, including PHEVs in the 2016 Georgia Assembly.  Some in the state even think that Chuck Martin (House R-Alpharetta) may be the sponsor of the Bill.   Speaking at the Alternative Fuel Vehicles 5th Annual Road Show (sponsored by Public Service Commissioner and indefatagible EV supporter Tim Echols) in Decatur GA, Elena Parent (Senate D-Decatur) pledged to introduce new EV tax credit legislation in the 2016 Georgia General Assembly.  Let’s hope she can find a Senator across the aisle to partner with her.  Brandon Beach (Senate R-Alpharetta) and head of the Senate Transportation Committee would be a good choice.  I shared the $914 million dollar EV opportunity with him back in mid-March.

And Georgia Power/Southern Company has stepped up to the plate, backing its portfolio of EV charging station rebates with a fleet of 32 Chevrolet VOLTs to get the word out across the State of Georgia about the power of EVs (and their new Residential Solar Power incentives).  Georgia Power is constructing over 60 fast charge and level 2 islands across the state to bring infrastructure to EVs beyond metro Atlanta.

Most exciting is the recent passage in the 114th CONGRESS of S. 1581 ‘to foster market development of clean energy fueling facilitities by steering infrastructure installation toward designated Clean Vehicle Corridors“. I’ll be watching to see if the House passes a similar Bill and a new focus on intercity/interstate Alternative Fuel Vehicles infrastructure is supported by the United States CONGRESS.

Stayed tuned and check back here as 2016 will continue to see the growth and expansion of electric vehicles and infrastructure throughout the State of Georgia!

Rear Deck SC


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Introducing Georgia EVentures!

I want to thank all of my faithful blog readers for your support over the past year since Atlanta Electric Vehicle Development Coalition was launched!  The blog has reached readers in over 80 countries with almost 14,000 views!

It has been very exciting to see just how much Atlanta has embraced electric vehicles (projection of 25,000 in metro Atlanta by year-end 2015) and to see the incredible build out of EV charging station infrastructure since I put my first Chevrolet VOLT on the road in August 2012.  Now it really is possible to own an EV in metro Atlanta and find public charging almost anywhere!

With the build out of charging infrastructure a new opportunity presented itself:  offer non-EV owners the opportunity to experience the thrill of driving an electric vehicle and experience the joys of low-cost ownership, and gasoline free, CO2 free driving! And offer current EV owners the opportunity to really experience the Tesla Model S.

I am delighted to introduce to my readers a new company: Georgia EVentures, LLC.  My mission is very simple: enable Georgians to get behind the wheel of two of the best examples of range anxiety free electric vehicle driving and to drive these vehicles they way they drive their fossil fuel powered vehicles:  in their neighborhoods, to their offices and shopping areas and for day trips to destinations they enjoy.

Georgia EVentures, LLC currently offers two vehicles for short and long-term rental:

2015 Tesla Model S 60 with 208 miles of electric vehicle driving range plus 5 passenger comfort, super charger enabled. The current daily rental rate is $169.00/day (rental car companies’ rate is $400/day). 2015 Tesla Model S60 RelayRides

GA Tech Side View 1

2014 Chevrolet VOLT Premium with 38-47 miles of electric vehicle driving range and 400 miles with the range extender. The current daily rental rate is $59.00/day. 2014 Chevrolet VOLT RelayRides

VOLT IKEAGeorgia EVentures has partnered with RelayRides to offer these vehicles to you in an easy to rent manner.

In partnership with StudioFindit (StudioFindit 2015 Tesla Model S60) the Tesla is available for film production. Who knows, “BlueBeauty” may be seen in an upcoming feature film or cable or network TV series!

Thanks for your faithful readership!  I look forward to hearing about your experience with these amazing electric vehicles and Georgia EVentures!

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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