The March 27, 2015 issue of The Atlanta Business Chronicle was laden with articles covering the Electric Vehicle business in Georgia. Depending upon where you sat on the issue of EVs in Georgia, you felt good, bad or just ugly.
Good: Tesla direct sale bill was approved by both houses and sent to Governor Deal for signature. This lifts the current 150 ‘custom car’ restriction from Tesla (and new owner hassle of exchanging a California Title for a Georgia one) and permits unlimited direct sales through a maximum of 5 Tesla stores in Georgia. By today’s count (Marietta , Decatur Sales/Service and Lenox Gallery) that permits at least two more sales/service stores if the Gallery is counted in the total of five. This is great news for current and future Tesla owners, who can now enjoy unimpeded access to the Model S, forthcoming Model X and planned Model III. Rep. Chuck Martin introduced this bill.
Bad: All efforts to advance a compromise reduced EV tax credit, with phase out and annual budget caps has failed to find any support in the Georgia Assembly. Despite hundreds of calls, emails, signed petitions and personal visits to legislators, and manufacturer ride and drive events, Rep Ben Harbin (HB 220) and Rep Don Parsons (HB 200) provided the only support for EV or EVSE tax credits. Sadly, Parsons’ clarification bill for EV charging station tax credit eligability passed the House but could not find a quorem in the Senate on March 26th to vote on it. On the road use fee, Rep John Albers desparately tried to amend the bill to reduce the fee to $95.00 which failed. As the ABC reported, House Transportation Committee Chair Rep Jay Roberts, basically just made up the $200.00 EV road user fee – doubling the current first time AFV registration fee of $85.00 to $170.00 and rounding up to $200.00.
Georgia’s national rank in math?
Ugly: While the debate about the elimination of Georgia’s ZEV $5,000 tax credit is not finished, it’s fate, and that of a $200.00/year road user fee are tied to that of the state’s $1.5 Billion Transportation Bill. Governor Nathan Deal is on record favoring the House version (HB 170). A House-Senate Conference committee must produce a compromise Bill before the planned end of the 2015-16 Legislative session on Thursday April 2, 2015. Governor Deal has already put the Georgia Assembly on notice that he will call them back into session to produce a satisfactory Bill for the Governor to sign.
On a final note, KIA announced that it would introduce the 2015 KIA SOUL EV into Georgia. This same week, the ABC reported, Governor Deal did accept the keys to a $69,000 2015 KIA sedan, in support of the West Point GA KIA manufacturing plant. We just wonder why Governor Deal did not get the keys to the KIA SOUL EV?