Atlanta Electric Vehicle Development Coalition

Atlanta's Home for Electric Vehicle News and Information


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National Drive Electric Week 2016 Metro Atlanta Event – September 10, 2016

Save the date!  Join metro Atlanta electric vehicle owners and our event sponsors for the 6th Annual National Drive Electric Week event in metro Atlanta.  This year the event will be held in Alpharetta Georgia at the incomparable Avalon community off GA 400 Exit 10 Old Milton Parkway.

Date:  Saturday September 10, 2016  Place: Avalon Alpharetta Time: 10:00 AM – 3:00 PM

Check out the details at : Drive Electric Week Avalon Sept 10 2016.  Please register to attend and if you are an Electric Vehicle owner, please register as a volunteer/attendee.  We will have breakfast and lunch for you, a Goodie Bag and give you the opportunity tell event goers about your experience as an EV owner.

Sponsors to date include

  • Georgia Power – Electric Transportation
  • Sierra Club – Georgia Chapter
  • Hannah Solar
  • Clean Cities Georgia
  • Tesla Avalon

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I am proud to serve as this year’s City Captain along side CleanCities Georgia Executive Director Don Francis.  If you would like more information about how you can get involved in the event email me at AtlantaEVDC@gmail.com or Don at don@cleancitiesgeorgia.org.


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2016 VOLT and Georgia EV Sales

Just before Thanksgiving I was contacted by Matt Smith of Vice News to ask my opinion of the 2016 Chevrolet VOLT which has been awarded the Green Car of the Year Award, and to check in on the state of EV sales in Georgia post the repeal of the ZEV Tax Credit on June 30th.  Here’s the link to the interview The Electric Car Industry Is Going to Make You Love Them. Here are the main points from the interview with more detail here:

1). 2016 Chevrolet VOLT is a nice improvement on the GEN 1.0 VOLT from an EV driving range (53 vs 38) but missed it completely by not offering the Quick Charge Package (DC Fast charging and 6.6 kW on board charger) the lower priced Nissan LEAF has offered for five years . I am looking forward to test driving the 2016 VOLT and comparing it to my 2014 model (my second VOLT; 2013 was leased). Might be another story in Vice News. Stay tuned!

I am seriously interested in test driving the 2017 Chevrolet BOLT which will be launched in January at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) – how un-Detroit.  Spy photos show a pretty attractive package and the guarantee of 200 mile EV driving range, today only available on the Tesla Model S70 (230 EV mile range).

2). EV sales post the repeal of the $5000 ZEV tax credit in Georgia are predictably down.  My post from last month reviewed the precipitous sales drop but argued that Georgia has over 6,000 more EVs as a result of pull ahead sales and that new, lower cost EVs are coming in 2016 (BOLT), 2017 (Gen 2.0 LEAF) and 2018 (Tesla Series III) to reignite EV sales in Georgia.

So where is Georgia now #1?  According to a recently released study shared by CleanCities Georgia this past week, Georgia has the highest EV registration fee of any state in the Union! $200 vs. $43-$100 for the states that do levy such a fee.  As the Atlanta Journal Constitution intoned when the ZEV Tax Credit was repealed:  “From First to Worst”.


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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.”


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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!


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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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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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Guest Post: I Got My Electric Car Home, Now What? By Tim Smith Modernize.com

Editors Note:  with all of the ‘ink’ over the last several months devoted to the Georgia EV tax credit, my friends at Modernize were very willing to provide something different and useful. 

To fight back against rising gas prices and a deteriorating environment, many have invested in electric cars that not only save the atmosphere from pollution but also save the driver countless dollars from filling up the tank. As with all major purchases, there is some required maintenance, but since electric cars are still out of the ordinary, that maintenance is not yet common knowledge. Fortunately, there are plenty of resources online that detail how to take care of your electric car. Here, we’ll look into how to properly outfit your home garage for your new car.

Garage Pic

Via Modernize.com

The first thing you need to know is whether your house has enough juice to actually power an electric car. Many older homes – as in, built in the 50s and 60s – are not outfitted to handle the electricity needs of an electric car. If this is the case, you are going to need to rewire your garage to handle a proper charge for your vehicle. For this, you’re going to need a 12-amp circuit, at least, to charge the car with enough time for the morning commute. This circuit is going to need to be separate from any other as you don’t want anything else leeching power from it.

If you’re in a new home, it still might be wise to rewire your place as even the outlets in new garages only handle up to 120 volts. Full electric cars like the Nissan LEAF take up to eight hours to charge on an outlet with twice the power, so you’re going to want a more powerful circuit if you don’t want to have to plan your life around your car’s battery. Thus, many recommend a 240 volt charging station dedicated to charging your electric car. 240 volts – sometimes known as level 2 charging – is enough to keep the LEAF running on eight hour charges every night. And those dedicated charging stations can be programmed to time their charge to lessen their load on the power grid and act more efficiently which, again, helps the environment and your wallet.

Connector Pic

Via CityofEvanston.org

These stations are properly called Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment or EVSE. The EVSE is the bridge between your home’s power and your car’s battery, controlling the electricity current and shutting down in case of a power surge, a software crash or an electrical short. If this sounds complicated, don’t fret, as fortunately many electric car manufacturers will send a certified electrician to your home to check if your garage can handle the electric load of a motor vehicle and advise you on any upgrades that are needed.