Canadian Broadcasting Company’s The National came to Atlanta to learn why we have embraced electric vehicles – up to now. Watch this terrific 10 minute video released on December 1st and hear from the Atlanta EV trail blazers as to why we have been so successful and the need to keep pushing to get the $200.00 EV Road Tax reduced, the an EV Tax Credit restored and continue to build out EV charging station infrastructure in time for the upcoming new generation of EV’s to hit Georgia’s roads!
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 As the Atlanta Journal Constitution intoned when the ZEV Tax Credit was repealed: “From First to Worst”.
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!
Data recently released from the Department of Natural Resources who oversees the Georgia ZEV and LEV tax credit program shows that tax claims grew a modest $2 million (+14%) on 25% increase in claimants. So what gives? Actual claim/filer went DOWN by -9% because the filing household could not use the entire $5,000 tax credit! So the tax credit actually helped middle income Georgia residents afford to make the transition into an electric vehicle.
The data further shows that claims are not the $50-60 million range State Legislator Chuck Martin (R- Alpharetta) said they were. More ‘fuzzy’ math by Georgia Legislators!
If you live in Georgia, contact Governor Nathan Deal at the link below to voice your support to line item veto the repeal of the ZEV tax credit and the $200.00 annual road user fee.
Governor Nathan Deal: https://gov.georgia.gov/webform/contact-governor-domestic-form
Here are links to recent articles published by VICE, SaportaReports, Smart Grid News and TransportEvolved concerning the defeat of the EV Tax Credit and adding the $200 EV Road User Fee and Rep Jay Roberts praising the Transportation Bill while remaining silent on the EV tax credit repeal and Road User Fee:
Atlanta- Journal Constitution Guest Column by House Rep Jay Roberts, author of the Transportation Bill
The 2015 Georgia General Assembly 40 day session is over. What happened? What happens now?
As expected both chambers passed HB 170 Transportation Bill which included the repeal of the $5,000 ZEV and $2,500 LEV tax credits effective July 1, 2015 and added the $200/year/EV road use fee while the legislators raised the gasoline tax to fund Georgia’s aging road infrastructure. Don Francis, Executive Director CleanCitiesGeorgia published data showing that a 3,500 lb EV would pay the same road use fee as a one and half ton SUV getting 9 miles per gallon in gasoline tax. As the Atlanta Business Chronicle reported on March 27, 2015, Rep. Jay Roberts, author of the HB 170 Transportation bill admitted in a committee meeting on March 12th that he made up the EV road use fee!
Hundreds of Constituent phone calls, emails, signed petitions, and in-person meetings with legislators to address the unfair road use fee fell on deaf ears. They needed over $900 million and the EV tax credit and road use fee was easy pickings and the few EV lobbyist could not get legislators to see the unfairness of their legislation. Georgia Legislators simply did not care.
So now the bill goes to Governor Nathan Deal for signature, which he clearly intends to do. Deal, as reported by the Atlanta Journal Constitution on April 5, 2015, played a decisive role behind all of the legistation that mattered to him; the Transportation Bill being one of them. The AJC reported that Deal’s lobbyists got $45 million worth of tax breaks pushed through in the final hours of the session.
Another winner? Mercedes Benz USA. Deal got MBUSA employees sales tax free leases! The measure was approved at 12:04 AM, past the official closing time of the 2015 legislative session. WOW! a $1.3 million tax break can get pushed through with nary a debate and after the close of the session!
Georgia On My Mind! EV Owners held a Rally at the State Capitol on April 2nd and have vowed to fight the Road Use Fee and pledge to be back with a new Tax Credit for the 2016 Legislative Session.
Looks like this isn’t over just yet!
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?