Atlanta Electric Vehicle Development Coalition

Atlanta's Home for Alternative Fuel Vehicle News and Information

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Guest Post by Tim Echols, Commissioner, Georgia Public Service Commission: Why Retain the ZEV/LEV Income Tax Credit In Georgia?

I was in a restaurant the other day when a legislator came up to me and asked an important question that all of us need to be ready to answer.  He asked, somewhat hostilely I might add, “what has Georgia received for the almost $15 million invested in electric cars via the tax credit?” 

Our response to this question may determine whether Georgia’s $5000 ZEV income tax credit lives or dies.

Probably our first answer needs to be economic, and not just “our” personal economics. Remember, according to the Georgia Department of Economic Development, for every one percent of petroleum-based miles travelled in Georgia that is displaced by electric vehicles, approximately $201 million dollars will remain in the state of Georgia annuallyEach pure electric vehicle purchased keeps $2,242 annually in the state of Georgia by fueling with electricity rather than petroleum-based products.  This is huge.

The second reason is similar and one that Don Francis of Clean Cities Georgia talks about frequently.  The tax credit received comes back after we file our taxes as a refund, and then gets spent.  It buys things in Georgia like clothes, appliances and services.  That has a multiplier effect.

Third, electric vehicles fit nicely with our electric grid here.  Georgia Power has set up a special tariff [Editor Note: called Plug In Electric Vehicle Time of Use Rate Plan – see Resources tab] to encourage people to get electric vehicles and charge them overnight—when power is super cheap and plentiful.  According to a study of 1000 of these Georgia electric car owners on the PEV rate plan, they are not only using electricity instead of gas, but they are saving $180 per year to boot.  How?  They are shifting their usage to the evening and overnight period. This is good because we have extra electric capacity overnight, and these vehicles help us utilize it.  Then, during the day, electric vehicles and equipment are quiet, clean and efficient and offer users the opportunity to save money on fuel and maintenance costs and reduce their environmental impact.

Fourth, with Atlanta out of compliance with the EPA rule, the metro area needs all the help it can get to attain the standard and save everyone the cost of an emission sticker—not to mention their lungs. Remember, gasoline or diesel engines deteriorate over time, leading to higher emissions with the age of the vehicle, whereas electric vehicles will potentially get cleaner over time as the generation of electricity gets cleaner.

Finally, electric cars send a message to young people. As I sat recently with Mayor Reed discussing Atlanta’s success with electric cars, I asked him what he thought was the greatest benefit our region has received from the $15 million invested through state tax credits thus far. He didn’t hesitate.  He said it has sent a strong message to millennials about our priorities. This investment, he further explained, makes Atlanta a more livable city where people want to be.  He likened it to the Beltline and other quality of life projects that are drawing talented young people back into the city to live and work.  As an Atlanta native, I can get excited about that.

Nissan is having great success with the LEAF and Georgia is the 2nd largest market in the U.S. for all EVs.  But behind Nissan, BMW, Kia and many other manufacturers are coming with electric carsOur message to the legislature needs to be to hold off for another year before taking action.  Let’s allow the other manufacturers to benefit as Nissan has done.  Then, if they decide to eliminate this credit, do it slowly and phase it out over the next decade.  Georgia has a great business climate, in part because we don’t make knee-jerk regulations causing uncertainty and confusion in the marketplace.  Let’s not change that now.

I urge you to reach out to your legislator—now—before the session starts and communicate the value of the credit to our state and its citizens.

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HELP BIG BROTHERS AND BIG SISTERS OF ATLANTA AND YOU COULD WIN A 2014 TESLA MODEL S 85!

Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Atlanta http://bbbsatl.org/tesla/ has teamed up with Tesla to  offer the ultimate raffle prize: a new 2014 Tesla Model S85!  If you’ve dreamed about owning a Tesla now’s your chance!

BBBS-Atlanta partnered with Tesla to offer a very well equipped S85 with all of the most popular options. Only 3,000 tickets will be sold nationally and only about half of that number has actually been sold!

The drawing will be held at the offices of Big Brothers Big Sisters Atlanta on November 21, 2014 between 12:00-1:00 PM. Raffle tickets can be purchased through 5:00 PM EST November 20, 2014.

Now here’s the highlights from the ‘fine print’ based on the Official Rules (see actual rules via the website link above):

1).  The purchase of raffle tickets is NOT tax deductible under IRS lottery/raffle rules.  If you do not win the raffle, your ticket purchases are not considered tax deductible even though BBBS-Atlanta is a non-profit organization.

2).  The winner can opt for the Tesla valued at $92,470 or a cash prize of $50,000. While the cash is nice, honestly, you can sell the car for a lot more than $36,000 (cash after Federal Witholding).

3). Be prepared to bring a check when you pick up the car or take the cash covering 28% Federal Withholding taxes and possibly 4% Georgia State Income Tax.  If you opt for the Tesla, you must also pay the Georgia TAVT (est at 6.75%) when you register the vehicle.  So all in, you’ll need about $36,000 up front to drive home the Tesla.

4). As the first owner you can claim up to $7,500 Federal Income Tax Credit (look for finalized 2014 forms from the IRS) and the Georgia residents can also claim the Zero Emission Vehicle Income Tax Credit of $5,000. Consult your tax advisor!

5). The raffle vehicle has/will be produced in the exact configuration listed on the BBBS-ATL.org website.  It is expected to be delivered to the winner on or about December 11, 2014. No changes in color or options are permitted. To be clear, this is not the new “D” model but does have the AutoPilot capability.

6). The Grand Prize Winner choosing the Tesla Model S as their grand prize of choice is eligible to receive complimentary detailing and Opti-Coat ceramic coating application valued at up to $2,000 ARV (approximate retail value) courtesy of Atlanta’s own Peach State Detail. Owner Bryan Burnworth is a Tesla Model S owner himself!

Okay now with all the rules in place (restricted to residents of the United States), this is for a very worthy cause as so many young men and women need Big Brothers and Big Sisters.  So support this cause and who knows, you might just be driving a new Tesla for about a third of its MSRP!

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Georgia Power to Invest $12 Million to Advance Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure

The  Atlanta Business Chronicle reported that Georgia Power is about to launch a broad-based round of incentives to stimulate residential, commercial and public charging infrastructure development in its service areas. The reported $12 million program provides for a $250.00 rebate for consumers who install a level 2 EV charging system at their homes, and $500.00 for commercial properties who install a level 2 (AC 240v/40 amp) or $250.00 for level 1 (AC 110v/16 amp) charger at their workplace.  Home and work are the top two places EV drivers want to charge up their vehicles.

Additionally, Georgia Power is working with the City of Atlanta to support the creation of 50 public charging ‘islands’ where both level 2 and Fast Charge (DC 480v/100 amp) will be built to dramatically enhance the public availability of fast charging systems which will improve EV charging infrastructure in metro Atlanta and begin to build fast charge corridors to the outlying metro Atlanta areas including Athens, Newnan and Conyers GA.

Here’s the link to the Atlanta Business Chronicle’s breaking story:  http://www.bizjournals.com/atlanta/blog/atlantech/2014/10/georgia-power-to-invest-12m-in-driving-electric.html.

Georgia Power is no stranger to building electric vehicle infrastructure.  In the early 1990s,  Georgia Power installed over 500 level 2 charging stations in support of GM’s EV1 program when Atlanta was a test city.  Some of those stations can still be found in and around Atlanta.

CleanCitiesGeorgia Coordinator Don Francis, a 31 year veteran of Georgia Power, will help oversee this new program.

Year to Date September 2014


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Have You Driven a Ford (Plug-In Electric Hybrid) Vehicle Lately? YTD September EV Sales Results

Electric Vehicle sales continue to break through new records, according to data published by the Electric Drive Transport Association (electricdrive.org/sales). Through September 2014, 88,149 electric vehicles were sold, up +30% versus YTD September 2013.  With 255,766 EVs on US roads since 2011, that number almost doubled the 138,894 cume sales 2011-September 2013.

EV sales in September 2014  were up +15% and EV sales per month are now averaging almost 10,000 units.

From a manufacturer share, Nissan has replaced Chevrolet as the #1 EV manufacturer at 25.0% vs. 17.6% for Chevrolet (VOLT, Spark).  Nissan sales are up 36% while Chevrolet is down -10%.  

Seems like Nissan and Chevrolet have just traded places?  Not so fast!  

According to data provided by Insideevs.com monthly EV Sales Scorecard, Ford has come on strong to take the #2 EV manufacturer position. Ford PHEV sales across the combined Ford Focus Electric, C-Max Energi and Fusion Energi grew +93% to 17,343 units.  Share grew from 13.5% (YTD September 2013) to 19.9% YTD 2014 leap frogging both Chevrolet (17.6% vs. 25.6% year ago) and yes beating Tesla (12.6% vs. 19.6%) with Model S unit sales down -16%.

American drivers are moving rapidly to adopt plug-in vehicles . . . just not quite ready to give up range concerns.  With 8,563 US public charging stations offering 21,126 outlets, that’s just 1 charging station for every 12.5 US based EVs.  Until charging station infrastructure coverage grows, and electric vehicle range increases, American drivers are going to continue to play it safe and buy vehicles which give them the best combination of energy efficiency and driving range.

Have You Driven a Ford PHEV Lately?

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An International Blog with a Dedicated Follower!

Since we began publishing, visitors have come from 37 countries not including the US.  I want to give a ‘shout out’ to Brazil where a loyal follower checks this blog almost every day.  I hope that electric vehicles catch on in Brazil and I thank this loyal reader for visiting our blog.  Look for our indepth ev sales analysis report on 2014 through September once all of the sales numbers are released.  If there is a topic you’d like to learn about, send us a comment and we’d be glad to research it!


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What’s more popular Battery Electrics or Plug-In Hybrids?

According to the electric vehicle blog, insideevs.com, using data supplied by the EDTA:  both!  Battery only and Plug-In Hybrid Sales are at about a 50/50 split according to insideevs analysis released on Twitter on September 24th. Buyers venturing into the electric vehicle market are equally split based on their driving needs.  While about half live and work in communities which support an all-electric driving lifestyle, with EV charging at home and at work, BEV’s make sense.  For the other half, unlimited range with partial electric for overall improved fuel economy and a high number of CO2 emission free driving miles supports their life-style.  And if you can afford a Tesla, you get the best of both!  This charts tell the tale of the tape:

DEW TWC Champion LaRosa i8 Mitsubishi


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2014 DriveElectricWeek Atlanta GA – The Weather Channel AMHQ Launch Event

With Georgia the #1 state for electric vehicle registrations (YTD June 2014) edging out California, National Drive Electric Week was kicked off by the Atlanta organizers a few days ahead of schedule with a launch event held at The Weather Channel Studios on Friday morning September 12, 2014 as part of the AMHQ Morning Show with hosts Sam Champion, Maria LaRosa and Mike Bettes. All three celebrity hosts participated in the program, across three segments which aired between 8:00 and 10:00 AM.

Atlanta Drive Electric Week Co-Captain Michael Beinenson ensured that all key EV makes and models were on hand. My own 2014 Chevrolet VOLT got a prime slot in segment #1 facing off against the new BMW i3 while remaining in subsequent segments behind the hosts.  I can’t tell you how many hours I spent rehearsing my VOLT:  “now smile for the camera!”  She did great.

Here’s the on air segment:

Video is the property of The Weather Channel. 

The event was supported by the EV Club of the South, with members lending their EVs (Fiskar Karma, Tesla Model S, BMW i3, Nissan LEAF and Mitsubishi i-MiEV) for the three hour segment filming.  

Video taken by the author.

But the surprise hit was the appearance of one of the first BMW i8′s to be delivered in Atlanta. In fact the car was driven over from nearby Global Imports with the almost owner sitting in the passenger seat.  We quickly re-arranged the third segment to get the i8 into the shot and both Sam Champion and Maria LaRosa quickly improvised to shift the audience attention from the Tesla Model S that with Mike Bettes speeding by to show off the $150,000 BMW i8!.  All photos taken by the author.  

LaRosa & Champion DEW TWC i8photo 4 (5)

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