2015 has seen the most significant set of changes for owners of Electric Vehicles in Georgia since the first VOLTs and LEAFs were delivered to their brave owners!
- While Georgia claimed the #2 spot for the state with the 2nd highest percentage of EVs registered in 2014 (2.3%) that accounted for only 10,500 EVs. At the end of 2014, there were 16,354 EVs registered in Georgia or less than 7/10% of all vehicles sold between 2011 and 2014.
- The recent EV sales boom was driven by Georgia legislation from the late 1990s which offered up to $5,000 income tax credit for “Zero Emission Vehicles” which fueled sales of the Nissan LEAF (Atlanta is the #1 market for LEAFs in the US) and secondarily made Atlanta a very attractive market for Tesla, which opened two stores (Marietta and Decatur) with service centers. Informal estimates place Tesla deliveries in Georgia at 1,500 at the end of 2014.
- Plug In hybrids, principally the Chevrolet VOLT and Ford Energi products did not sell well since their gasoline engines disqualified them from the Low Emission Vehicle tax credit, which supported LNG and CNG vehicles. Neither GM nor Ford have invested in the Georgia Electric Vehicle market.
- After three years of attempts to eliminate the ZEV/LEV tax credit, House Representative Chuck Martin (R-Alpharetta) was finally successful in doing so by working with former House Transportation Committee Chair Jay Roberts to attach the tax credit repeal to the House Transportation Bill which was passed and signed by Governor Nathan Deal on Monday May 4, 2015. Effective July 1, 2015, the ZEV and LEV tax credits are repealed and a $200.00 per year ‘road use fee’ will be assessed to all of the estimated 25,000 EVs on Georgia’s roads by the end of 2015.
- As the Atlanta Journal Constitution headline intoned: “From First to Worst”. No other state in the US has simultaneously repealed an EV tax credit and placed an excessively high road use fee on EV owners.
While EV sales in Georgia will undoubtly slow down and quite possibly erode, significant progress has been made over the past two years in building out charging infrastructure, led by Southern Company’s Georgia Power and NRG’s EVGO companies. Highlights of Georgia’s EV infrastructure growth:
- Significant expansion of level 2 charging in the main areas of the City of Atlanta (Buckhead, Midtown, Downtown) largely led by ChargePoint.
- Installation of two supercharging intown locations by Tesla (Atlantic Station, Decatur) along with superchargers in Macon and Tifton GA and in Chattanooga TN. Tesla owners can drive from Atlanta to Miami and to Houston and almost up to the northeast (once the supercharging ‘hole’ in Greenville SC is plugged). Tesla is rapidly expanding its ‘destination charging network’ supplementing superchargers with its 80 Amp High Powered Wall Connector at locations like Chateau Elan, Yonah Mountain Winery and the Inn at Serenbe. Nice day trip/weekends trips for Atlanta area Tesla owners!
- Installation of fast charge islands by NRG in high traffic locations like Mall of Georgia – with a goal of installing 20 such locations.
- Commitment by Georgia Power to install 20 to 50 fast charge islands (launch event held on May 6, 2015) with level 2 and DCFC stations. Georgia Power stepped up its commitment in November 2014 offering residential, commercial and builder rebates to install EV charging stations or pre-wire homes.
- Establishment of level 2 charging in the under developed northern suburbs. City of Roswell is leading the way with its installation of 4 GE Durastation/double port connectors with the easy to use “Pay With PlugShare” mobile application. Woodstock (Cherokee), Decatur (Dekalb) and Norcross/Peachtree Corners (Gwinett) are all investing in new charging stations including the about to open DCFC in Suwanee GA.
- Both the Atlanta Falcons (Fulton) and Atlanta Braves (Cobb) have provided for EV charging stations in their new stadium design and build out plans.
Some critical gaps remain, principally Atlanta’s Hartsfield -Jackson airport, which has studied installation of charging stations and to date has concluded they are cost prohibitive for the aging parking garages, which are due to be replaced over 2017-2019 time frame when new construction will more economically support EV charging station installation. Farther out cities (Athens, Newnan, Cartersville) are still underserved but are taking a serious look at installing charging stations.
With over 20 new electrified vehicle models coming from every manufacturer including new to Atlanta Mercedes Benz, and long-time resident Porsche Cars North America, EVs in Atlanta have a bright future. Now is the time to get the rest of the state of Georgia onboard. Georgia Power’s fleet of 32 2015 Chevrolet VOLT Customer Service Representative vehicles are designed to do just that – educate non-metro Atlanta drivers and inform them about programs to help them get behind electric vehicles.
If you are thinking about jumping into an EV, now is the time! Check out the Resources and Reports pages so you are fully informed about EVs, charging systems and the resources needed to help you understand the exciting world of electric vehicles!