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!
Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed is out to cement his reputation as the Environment and Sustainability Mayor! He has been on a global quest to show what Atlanta is already doing to address climate and environment. Here’s a summary of his activity and the full press release is in this link: Mayor Kasim Reed Participates in COP 21 Panel in Paris:
City of Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed is among the leading city executives in the U.S. on climate change. This year, he addressed a joint U.S.-China summit on climate in Los Angeles, sharing many of the ideas and solutions currently in use in the City of Atlanta with an audience of hundreds of Chinese officials and dignitaries. In November, Mayor Reed presented at the World Economic Forum Conference on Urban Mobility and the McKinsey & Co. Global Infrastructure Initiative in San Francisco.
Mayor Reed was just in Paris France for a series of speaking engagements and to participate in the Climate Summit for Local Leaders, organized by Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The event is a series of negotiations among world leaders to make an agreement to address global climate change, known as COP 21. Mayor Reed pictured taking the Paris Metro to meetings with Jenna Garland, Stephanie Benfield and Claire Angelle.
“Climate change is one of the most important issues we face nationally and internationally,” said Mayor Reed. “Atlanta’s presence at the COP 21 Paris climate meetings demonstrates our commitment to local action. I look forward to sharing our work in the City of Atlanta with other leaders from around the world, and collaborating on opportunities to cut pollution and secure a stable climate for future generations.”
Mayor Reed participated in a number of panel discussions and sessions with world leaders, including a “Buildings Day” session focused on ways to reduce the energy consumption and carbon footprint from commercial buildings. He discussed Atlanta’s national leadership in the Better Buildings Challenge, The Better Buildings Challenge is a public-private partnership to reduce energy and water consumption by 20 percent by the year 2020. Atlanta leads the nation with more than 100 million square feet of commercial building space committed to the challenge.
Under Mayor Reed’s leadership, the City of Atlanta is innovating in implementing solutions for climate change and sustainability. Among them:
1). Undertaking a project to increase its reserve waters supply from three days to 90 days by turning Bellwood Quarry into a reservoir;
2) Creating a Solar Atlanta initiative that will see solar panels installed on 28 firehouses and recreation center, lowering energy consumption by as much as 40 percent, and the Better Buildings Challenge, a national initiative to lower commercial energy consumption.
3). Electrifying the City of Atlanta Vehicle Fleet. Through partnership with California based VisionFleet, Mayor Reed has committed to replacing fossil fuel based City vehicle fleet with electric vehicles. City of Atlanta Electric Vehicle Fleet Program
Atlanta Electric Vehicle Development Coalition is proud of the work Mayor Reed and his Director of the City of Atlanta Office of Sustainability, Stephanie Benfield are doing to rapidly promote and advance energy efficient, climate favor solutions for the City of Atlanta. Watch for more from our Mayor and his Sustainability team in 2016!
Thanks to CleanCitiesGeorgia, and specifically to its Executive Director, Don Francis, we have our first look at EV vehicle registrations (the best measure for sales since these vehicles are actually registered for use in Georgia) in the 60 days following the repeal of the $5,000 Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) tax credit on June 30, 2015.
No surprise, registrations have been cut in half, off by -49% to an average of 462 vehicles in July-August versus a January-June average of 915 EVs. When you look at the data broken out by Battery Electric Vehicles (ZEV tax credit eligable) and Plug-in Hybrid Electrics (ZEV/LEV tax credit ineligable) the PHEV’s are off -24% (31/month July-August vs. 41 January-June) while the BEV registrations have fallen by -46% to 431 units vs. 874 January-June.
Some of this is certainly explained by the pre-Tax Credit repeal ‘Gold Rush” sales in April-June which produced sales of 3,469 EVs. And with the tax credit repealed, EV automaker sales, led by Nissan LEAF (-55%) and BMW i3 (-52%) dropped like a rock. Tesla fared slightly better experiencing only a -19% drop in monthly average sales of the 3 year old Model S (57 vs. 70 units).
So is there any good news? YES! Georgia has added another 6,413 EV’s in 2015 bringing cumulative new EV registrations to 22,795 vehicles over the five year period (not accounting for trade ins, lease returns, accidents) or almost a 40% increase in the number of EV’s registered in the State of Georgia.
What can we expect going forward: further fall off in EV registrations in Georgia until the following happens:
1). Lower cost EV’s are introduced – $30-35,000 price with ranges well in excess of 100 miles. Automotive OEM plans call for vehicles like the Chevrolet BOLT, Tesla Model III, and the next generation Nissan LEAF to meet these metrics.
2). Growing numbers of used EVs come back into Georgia. Almost daily I hear of some one who got ‘the deal of a lifetime’ on a 2 or 3 year old Nissan LEAF, Chevrolet VOLT and yes even a Tesla Model S which only adds to the EV fleet on Georgia’s roads. For 2nd owners, used EVs can be a tremendous value, with plenty of warranty left on the car and the battery and generally pretty low mileage and pricing which reflects the Federal rebates they received when new.
3). New Incentives are introduced in Georgia taking the form of a tax credit, point of sale rebate (as Connecticut, Tennessee and Massachusetts are doing) or some other form of incentive. Fortunately, the Federal Tax Credit for EV’s still has a long life ahead since it is based on the number of qualifying EVs produced by the automotive OEMs (200,000 per name plate then phasing down thereafter).
4). The EV Road Tax is reduced or repealed. The current $200.00 EV road tax as has been discussed on this blog before, is unfair and unjust. It will likely be the subject of legislative proposals in the 2nd year of this Georgia General Assembly session or into the next.
As more data becomes available, look for updates to this blog post.
On October 6th, I had the opportunity to catch up with Jeremy Desel, Communications Director for NRG’s EVgo business by phone and asked him to share some thoughts about the EVgo charging station network. Here’s what Jeremy told me:
- EVgo’s mission is to ‘provide confidence in charging by providing all standards of EV charging – which today is Level 2/J1772, and DC Fast Charge stations offering both the Japanese ChaDEmo and European DC connectors at the Freedom Station. Desel added that this approach to EV infrastructure helps sell electric vehicles by providing the confidence that charging/recharging from EVgo will accomodate all types of EV/PHEVs.
- EVgo is the nation’s leader in providing public charging, especially for DC Fast Charge stations. EVgo’s goal is to ensure that Freedom stations are no more than a mile from a highway corridor and are located where there are many amenities for EV drivers ranging from retail stores and restaurants to ‘well stocked’ convenience stores.
- EVgo is committed to advancing the technology behind EV charging. Mr. Desel indicated that EVgo is looking across the EV infrastructure to bring drivers innovative solutions which result in faster charging times, more conveniently located Freedom Stations with a focus on providing adequate infrastructure within a given city yet ensuring intra city charging is conveniently located. Their philosophy is to put the right charger at the right place.
While time ran out before we could discuss metro Atlanta and Georgia specifically, NRG eVgo Site Developer for Atlanta Metropolitan Area Jules Toraya, provided the graphic below depicting current and future installations of DC Fast Chargers in metro Atlanta and the outlying areas (Braselton, Dawsonville, Calhoun). Looks like EVgo is going to have Atlanta and Georgia EV drivers well covered!
Check out what’s new at NRG’s EVgo at NRG EVgo website
National Drive Electric Week is here again! Don’t miss the annual turn out of EV drivers throughout Metro Atlanta who will converge on Atlantic Station with their LEAFs, VOLTs, Teslas and other EVs to talk up the joys of driving an EV. Collectively Atlanta registrants have driven over 1.1 MILLION ELECTRIC MILES!
Take a look at the video produced by the Atlanta organizing committee (EVClub of the South, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy and CleanCities Georgia): Drive Electric Week Atlanta.
This year, the ‘green’ in Atlantic Station Central Park will be filled by EV related companies led by Nissan and Georgia Power. Two home charging stations will be raffled off during the event as well including one GE Wattstation.
Note to EV owners who plan on displaying their vehicles: register per the link in the video and come early (9:00 AM) for the Social at the Tennis Courts and meet your fellow Atlanta EV owners. Register at Atlanta Drive Electric Week registration link
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.”
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!