Atlanta Electric Vehicle Development Coalition

Atlanta's Home for Electric Vehicle News and Information


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Tesla Q2 19 Earnings Call Is it all Gloom and Doom?

Tesla Delivery Center Roswell GA on July 24, 2019 – Day of Q2 Tesla Earnings Call
Photo Credit: Jeff Cohen

July 25, 2019 – As I listened to a fairly subdued Q2 earnings call last night, I felt almost a sense of helplessness on the part of a very tired and subdued sounding CEO Elon Musk. Surely Elon is tired from his non-stop 10+ year journey to build Tesla from an idea into an automaker pumping out 5,000 Model 3’s a week (with a target of 15,000 vehicles). Q2 results were simply poor. Delivering 95,356 electric vehicles (77,634 were Model 3’s, +52% vs Q1) and posting a $408 million operating loss continues to raise the question: will Tesla ever be profitable? Elon sounded a note of sadness announcing that founding Chief Technology Officer, JB Straubel was stepping away from his Executive role (moving to an advisor) – the man who hired Elon into Tesla over a decade ago; the man working side by side with Elon to launch every model from the Roadster to the Model 3 and largely shaping the forthcoming Model Y. Very big shoes to fill indeed.

Does Tesla Have A Demand Problem?

Tesla Model 3’s awaiting their new owners at Roswell GA Service and Delivery Center
Photo Credit: Jeff Cohen

The photos in this blog-post were taken yesterday (July 24, 2019) at my local Tesla Service and Delivery Center in Roswell GA. Just one month ago, this lot was EMPTY with all Model 3s and a few Model S and X had been delivered to new customers. ALL of these Model 3s have been sold and are waiting for delivery to their new owners. Most are the higher priced dual motor and performance versions of the Model 3 ($50,000+). With the Federal Tax Credit moving down to $1,875 for this last quarter (Q3 2019) before phase out, Tesla reduced the price of the Model 3, now starting at $38,990 very competitively priced! Tesla does not suffer from a demand problem for Model 3. Model S and X sales have matured (14,000 units produced on a single shift operation at Fremont CA). A refresh in the works? Elon says no. But he’s been known to deliver trompe l’oeil (trick of the eye) before.

Why is Tesla Currently Unprofitable?

The simple reason: it has yet to reach economies of scale. In 2019, Tesla has produced a total of 164,186 vehicles, all but 28,000 of which are Model 3s. The auto industry is driven by scale to amortize vehicle development and massive fix costs of production and assembly along with safety and compliance costs. Tesla continues to build toward that future with the launch of the mid-sized Model Y SUV (Fall 2020) and forthcoming Pick Up truck (the largest light duty segment in the US market) while ramping up Model 3 sales in the largest electric vehicle market in the world: China. It’s going to take 500,000+ vehicles produced per year, to drive Tesla to profitability. This is one age-old lesson from the auto industry that Tesla still needs to learn.

Pre-Production Model Y SUV
Concept Rendering for the Tesla Pick Up Truck

Full details of Tesla’s Q2 2019 Financial performance https://ir.tesla.com/static-files/1e70a30c-20a7-48b3-a1f6-696a7c517959


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Ford Makes Good on the Promise of an All Electric F-150

Ford F-150 Electric Prototype Tows 1.25 Million Pounds

Screen grab with Chief Engineer Linda Zhang and F-150 Owners with the All Electric F-150 Prototype

July 23, 2019 – Ford just released a 5:45 video featuring Linda Zhang, F-150 Chief Nameplate Engineer at Ford Motor Company demonstrating the amazing towing capacity of the all electric F-150 by pulling over 1.25+ millions pounds 1,000 feet. The payload was contained in 10 triple decker vehicle rail cars loaded with 42 F-150s representing each model year since the F-150 launched in 1976. Here’s the YouTube link: https://youtu.be/bXFHgoon7lg. As I shared in my June blog post Reflections on All Things EV https://atlantaevdc.com/2019/06/09/reflections-on-all-things-ev/, light duty trucks are the game changer for the EV industry. Ford is #1 in light duty vehicles and they clearly intend to extend that with electric light duty trucks! But capable competition from GM, RIVIAN and Tesla will both challenge Ford and expand the market for all-electric light duty vehicles. it’s gonna get interesting!


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July 2019 Metro Atlanta Electric Vehicle Headlines

A 3 minute read for Battery, Vehicle and Charging Station News

#1 – Georgia Public Service Commission Approves Pilot for Used EV DC Charging Station Power

Nissan Leaf Battery Pack

July 16, 2019 – The Georgia Public Service Commission signed off on commissioner Tim Echols’ proposal to have Georgia Power and the commission work together to explore whether used batteries from electric vehicles could be re-purposed for fast-charging EV stations. Echols said there is an excess of partially-used products, particularly Nissan Leaf batteries, that still have a lot of energy left. Using these batteries for a pilot could help expand EV charging availability throughout the state while insulating the grid from electricity demand spikes. “There is no recycling available for these batteries at this time,” Echols said during the meeting. “Given we’re about to approve 80 MW of new lithium-ion batteries, it’s in our benefit to do a pilot program to see if it will work to reuse these batteries for a purpose that benefits the public and our grid and the Georgia community in general.” The program would be capped at $250,000 in costs passed down to ratepayers. ttps://www.spglobal.com/marketintelligence/en/news-insights/trending/UlMh2otzI0d9KO4FwGjEXQ2

#2 – Audi E-Tron Debuts in North Georgia

2019 Audi E-Tron All Electric 208 mile range SUV

July 11, 2019 – Members of the Audi Club of Georgia gathered for their regular club meeting at Audi North Atlanta Roswell and for their introduction and test drive of the new Audi E-Tron SUV with 208 miles of all electric range powered by a 95 kWh battery back and two electric motors mounted on the front and rear trans axles. Die-hard Audi owners (most owned 3+ of the German Marquee) were positively impressed by the instant acceleration, regenerative braking and all of the qualities that make the SUV an Audi.

Charging Port with Push to Open and Close

Re-charging is handled via Level 1 (110-120V), Level 2 (240V ) and DC charging (480V+ with CCS cord) with input rated at 150kW delivering 100 miles of range in 10-15 minutes. Audi is part of Volkswagen of America, whose Electrify America unit is deploying fast charging stations under the Partial Consent Decree. Priced from $74,900 to $90,000 the E-tron is competitively priced to the only large SUV competitor, the Tesla Model X (305-325 miles all electric range). https://www.audiusa.com/models/audi-e-tron

#3 – Electrify America Metro Atlanta Charging Network Cycle 2 Expansion

Electrify America DC Fast Charge Station – WalMart Super Center

July 12, 2019. From Chris Campbell, Secretary EV Club of the South via their FaceBook page:

“Those of you clamoring for DCFC stations on the southside of Atlanta will be happy to read this. Electrify Atlanta will be expanding its presence in metro Atlanta significantly during the “Cycle 2” phase of their long term effort, and they have already reached out to the City of Atlanta and other organizations for guidance. Travis Buholtz [from the City of Atlanta Sustainability EV Infrastructure Fellow] came to our monthly meeting on June 19th and briefly showed us this map of EA’s proposed locations, and he encouraged us to share it. This map is focused on City of Atlanta, generally ITP. So don’t bother pointing out that it’s missing a zillion stations in the suburbs.” https://www.facebook.com/evcots/notifications/

Note Access to EV Club of the South FB Page requires Club approval

Tesla Model 3 – Four Day Test Drive Review

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Curious about how the Tesla Model 3 performs in everyday driving? Read on!

Atlanta Electric Vehicle Development Coalition

Tesla Model 3 – Four Day Test Drive Review

IMG_2537On my last trip to the Bay area, I was lucky enough to score a rental of a brand new Tesla Model 3 through Turo, the “Air BNB” of personal owner car sharing. Over a four day, 312 mile rental, I had the opportunity to put the Model 3 through its paces traversing the highways and byways of Silicon Valley.  This review continues my first blogpost of the Model 3:  Tesla Model 3 – First Look Inside & Out

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This gallery contains 12 photos


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The 1% Solution – The 99% Reality

The 1% Solution – The 99% Reality

This past August 2017 marked the 5th Anniversary of my transition from “gas to electric” driving, logging about 70,000 miles in either all electric (Nissan LEAF, Tesla Model S) or Plug-In Hybrid Electric (Chevrolet VOLT) vehicles.  In thinking about my life experience as an EV driver, I wanted to share my perspective as the US EV market cracks the 1% mark and the 99% Reality of why I believe that EVs can be the ‘go to’ vehicle for the vast majority of driving circumstances.  [photo: 2013 VOLT on delivery day 8-16-2012]. Continue reading


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Tell Your Representatives to Reduce the Punitive EV User Fee

Tell Your Representatives to Reduce the Punitive EV User Fee
Georgia has the highest EV user fee in the U.S. – let’s fix that!

Reposting from Southern Alliance for Clean Energy – Take Action Now

In 2015, Georgia passed a new user fee on electric vehicles (EVs). This $200 fee (increasing annually) makes EVs the highest taxed vehicles on the road in Georgia. It is negatively impacting adoption and reducing the ability of more Georgians to adopt this new, cleaner technology.

Georgia lawmakers have the opportunity, right now, to help reduce that fee. HB 317 was introduced that will reduce the fee from $200 to $100. While this fee is still higher than many of the other states that impose such a fee, it will reduce the burden to current and future EV owners. Help us keep the pressure on!

Please contact your Representative and the Transportation Committee Chairman (instructions below) TODAY! Time is critical!

Personal emails are more effective than automated emails, so please copy, paste and send from your personal email address. Add your personal story to the sample text provided below.

Follow these steps to TAKE ACTION TODAY:

  1. Email the Transportation Committee Chairman: kevin.tanner@house.ga.gov
  2. Find your legislator here and add them to your email going to the Chairman
  3. Copy and paste the sample text; customize it, especially if you drive an EV!
  4. Hit send!

Dear Representative [Insert Name] and Chairman Tanner,


I am writing to urge you to support HB 317 that would lower the punitive electric vehicle user fee. I drive a (INSERT YOUR EV HERE). I am paying more in road use fees than a pickup truck or an SUV. I agree that a road use fee is fair for an electric vehicle, but the current fee is unfair and punitive.

I currently pay tax on the electricity I use to power my EV, but I am now also paying the $204.20 user (registration) fee plus an additional fee for the Alternative Fuel tag ($35).


EVs are now the highest taxed vehicles on the road in Georgia. It is negatively impacting retention and adoption of electric vehicles and reducing the ability of more Georgians to adopt this new, cleaner technology.

Alternative fuel vehicles are good for the Georgia economy as they are using power generated in Georgia and the dollars stay in Georgia.

Please reduce the user fee and support bill HB 317.

Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

[Insert your name / address]


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Here’s why electric car sales are plummeting in Georgia

Here’s why electric car sales are plummeting in Georgia

Reprinted here is the entire story written by AJC staff writer Chris Joyner published on line on January 13th and in newsprint on January 16, 2017.  Copyrighted material – Atlanta Journal Constitution.

Here’s a fact maybe not generally appreciated by commuters gazing at Atlanta’s smudgy, smoggy skyline: Georgia has the second most electric vehicles in the nation.

Here’s another fact: Not for long.

Georgia has about 25,000 electric cars on the road, mostly in metro Atlanta and largely funded by what was one of the most generous state tax incentives in the nation — a $5,000 state income tax credit. But state lawmakers, many of them conservatives who are predisposed against consumer tax credits anyway, canceled the credit in 2015 and installed a $200 registration fee instead.

That whipsaw effect pushed new electric vehicle purchases off a cliff. In July 2015, the state registered 1,426 electric vehicles purchased as the tax credit expired. The next month, just 242 were registered — that’s an 83 percent drop and sales have not rebounded.

The impact also can be seen in the decline of specialty license plate sales for alternative fuel vehicles, which are tied to the registration fee. Every all-electric vehicle — as well as some other alternative fuel vehicles — is subject to a $200 fee. Owner of such cars can opt to get the specialty license plate in return, giving them access to Atlanta’s HOV lanes.

However, since the change in state policy, monthly license plate sales are down nearly 60 percent.

“We should be around 40,000 vehicles now,” said Jeff Cohen, founder of the Atlanta Electric Vehicle Development Coalition. “We’re not growing.”

Backers of alternative fuel vehicles like Cohen have complained that lawmakers turned one of the friendliest states to the electric car into one of the least hospitable.

“According to the Georgia Department of Revenue, sales and leases have dropped over 90 percent,” said Public Service Commissioner Tim Echols, a proponent of the tax credit and owner of two electric cars. “The tax credit was key to our growing this market.”

No one disagrees with that, but it made some conservative lawmakers uncomfortable. Sen. Butch Miller, R-Gainesville, served on a special joint study committee created last year to look into alternative fuel vehicles and said the dramatic decline shows the tax credit only propped up an industry that didn’t have wide consumer support.

“Our previous electric car tax credit was too generous, too rich. We have to strike a balance on what is good for the economy, what’s good for the environment and what’s good for the consumer,” said Miller. “It should be market driven, and a free-market approach answers a lot of questions.”

Credit not likely to be revived

Attempts last year to reinstate a version of the tax credit failed, and the joint study committee met three times last year and issued no recommendations. And Miller made it clear the committee was taking a wait-and-see approach to any new measures.

“At this point it’s really fluid because we are still working on trying to develop the right kind of policy that will move us forward,” Miller said. “With energy prices at their current state, it’s difficult for people to justify the investment in alternative energy and that has slowed the pace of our exploration.”

Advocates hoping the state would consider new incentives got little encouragement from the study committee.

“I’m going be as generous as I can,” said Don Francis, director of Clean Cities Georgia, a federally supported initiative. “I was disappointed at how they approached it and what the output was.”

Francis testified at the final meeting of the study committee that the elimination of the tax credit was costing both consumers and the state money as drivers spent more on gasoline and most of those dollars left the state.

Francis said it was pretty clear the committee wasn’t interested in revisiting the tax credit and instead focused on what the state could do to support business uses for alternative fuels while supporting refueling and recharging infrastructure.

There are no disinterested parties here. Miller, for example, is a car dealer and not for Tesla. Cohen is North American sales manager for General Electric’s vehicle charging stations. Car companies like Chevrolet and Nissan, which produce the most popular all-electric cars, are weighing in as well.

But there are legitimate policy questions too.

Should the state put a thumb on the scale to entice consumers to buy one type of car over another? Are consumer tax credits bad policy generally? Doesn’t the state have an obligation to address air quality and climate change by encouraging clean energy?

Francis, Cohen and others who want more state support for electric vehicles are retooling and focusing heavily on the annual registration fee. The fee, which this year will be slightly above $200, is meant to offset the gas tax which electric vehicle owners obviously do not pay but go to fund repairs on the roads everybody uses. However, the indexed fee, which this year will be slightly above $200, is the highest in the nation and there appears to be some support for lowering it.

“I think that’s a realistic priority,” Cohen said.

Cohen is bullish on electric cars (he owns three) and believes that sales will slowly rebound on their own, particularly if the lawmakers reduce the penalty to something less punitive.

“I’d rather see the registration fee addressed to maintain our population,” he said. “I’d rather not fight for a tax credit that market data may not prove we need.”

Francis said there may be a way to return a portion of the tax credit’s incentive by giving buyers a break on sales tax at the point of purchase.

“A lot of states are doing sales tax exemptions rather than credits,” he said.

Whatever the outcome, unless policy changes soon, Georgia’s unlikely position as No. 2 on the electric car rankings (way, way, way behind No. 1 California) likely is doomed.

As AJC Watchdog, I’ll be writing about public officials, good governance and the way your tax dollars are spent. Help me out. What needs exposing in your community? Contact me at cjoyner@ajc.com.