Atlanta Electric Vehicle Development Coalition

Atlanta's Home for Electric Vehicle News and Information


Leave a comment

NRG EVgo: Confidence, Leadership, Innovation underpin Freedom Stations

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!

EVGo Atlanta network pic

Check out what’s new at NRG’s EVgo at NRG EVgo website


Leave a comment

Drive Electric Week is here! Saturday September 12th – Atlantic Station 11:00-3:00

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.

GE-Wattstation_Outside_large

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

DEW 2013II


Leave a comment

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.”


Leave a comment

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!


Leave a comment

Introducing Georgia EVentures!

I want to thank all of my faithful blog readers for your support over the past year since Atlanta Electric Vehicle Development Coalition was launched!  The blog has reached readers in over 80 countries with almost 14,000 views!

It has been very exciting to see just how much Atlanta has embraced electric vehicles (projection of 25,000 in metro Atlanta by year-end 2015) and to see the incredible build out of EV charging station infrastructure since I put my first Chevrolet VOLT on the road in August 2012.  Now it really is possible to own an EV in metro Atlanta and find public charging almost anywhere!

With the build out of charging infrastructure a new opportunity presented itself:  offer non-EV owners the opportunity to experience the thrill of driving an electric vehicle and experience the joys of low-cost ownership, and gasoline free, CO2 free driving! And offer current EV owners the opportunity to really experience the Tesla Model S.

I am delighted to introduce to my readers a new company: Georgia EVentures, LLC.  My mission is very simple: enable Georgians to get behind the wheel of two of the best examples of range anxiety free electric vehicle driving and to drive these vehicles they way they drive their fossil fuel powered vehicles:  in their neighborhoods, to their offices and shopping areas and for day trips to destinations they enjoy.

Georgia EVentures, LLC currently offers two vehicles for short and long-term rental:

2015 Tesla Model S 60 with 208 miles of electric vehicle driving range plus 5 passenger comfort, super charger enabled. The current daily rental rate is $169.00/day (rental car companies’ rate is $400/day). 2015 Tesla Model S60 RelayRides

GA Tech Side View 1

2014 Chevrolet VOLT Premium with 38-47 miles of electric vehicle driving range and 400 miles with the range extender. The current daily rental rate is $59.00/day. 2014 Chevrolet VOLT RelayRides

VOLT IKEAGeorgia EVentures has partnered with RelayRides to offer these vehicles to you in an easy to rent manner.

In partnership with StudioFindit (StudioFindit 2015 Tesla Model S60) the Tesla is available for film production. Who knows, “BlueBeauty” may be seen in an upcoming feature film or cable or network TV series!

Thanks for your faithful readership!  I look forward to hearing about your experience with these amazing electric vehicles and Georgia EVentures!


2 Comments

The Economist Takes Note of the EV Tax Credit Fight in Georgia

This week’s issue of The Economist contains a short article on the electric vehicle tax incentives fight in Georgia written by Atlanta correspondent Miranda Johnson. She came across the story by literally falling all over the Nissan LEAFs prowling the streets of metro Atlanta.  Here’s the link to Miranda’s article:

http://www.economist.com/news/united-states/21646758-georgias-breaks-electric-vehicles-may-be-too-good-last-sparks-fly

Stay tuned for the post script as the Georgia Assembly completes its 2015-2016 legislative session on April 2nd.  Right now, the current $5,000 ZEV tax credit has been approved for elimination by both the House and Senate, while adding a $200/ year/EV road usage fee.

Will Georgia soon be known as the most hostile state to EVs in the US?  Let’s hope not! If you live in Georgia, it’s not too late to contact Governor Nathan Deal and Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle (LEAF driver) and voice your opinion. Each of their webpages has a contact form:

Governor Nathan Deal:  https://gov.georgia.gov/webform/contact-governor-domestic-form

Lt. Governor Casey Cagle: http://ltgov.georgia.gov/contact-lt-governor


Leave a comment

UPDATED: Four Bills in Georgia House of Representatives Addressing Electric Vehicle Tax Credit

Everyone who has even a passing familiarity with the $5,000 ZEV Georgia State Income Tax Credit knew the pressure would be on to: a). kill it.  b). save it or c). transform it.  Well it looks like all three are going to be debated at the State Capitol during the 2015 Georgia State Legislative Session.

HB 220 sponsored by Ben Harbin (R- Evans) seeks to reduce the tax credit, broaden it to  plug in hybrids, set an annual cap and sunset the tax credit by 2019.  http://www.legis.ga.gov/Legislation/en-US/display/20152016/HB/220.

http://m.onlineathens.com/breaking-news/2015-02-11/state-lawmaker-favors-phase-out-electric-car-tax-credit#gsc.tab=0

HB 122 which calls for an immediate repeal of the tax credit effective July 1, 2015, sponsored by Chuck Martin (R-Alpharetta) http://www.legis.ga.gov/Legislation/en-US/display/20152016/HB/122

HB 176 sponsored by Tommy Benton (R-Jefferson) which seeks to broaden the tax credit to include gas-hybrids, high mileage cars and future hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles. Annual cap is $10 million and $2,000 credit only applies to Hydrogen Fuel Cell vehicles in 2017 and beyond. http://www.legis.ga.gov/Legislation/en-US/display/20152016/HB/176

Here’s a handy PDF which summarizes and compares the three Bills being processed by the House Ways and Means Sub-committee as early as this week:  Comparison of Electric Vehicle Georgia Assembly Bills

In addition the House Transportation Committee passed HB 170 bill which includes the language from HB 122 (eliminate EV Tax Credit) as part of the transportation funding proposal in addition to assessing EV drivers a $200.00/year road use fee.  http://www.legis.ga.gov/Legislation/en-US/display/20152016/HB/170

Next week all three Bills in the Ways and Means Committee are expected to be addressed.  Check back to see what is happening with these Bills.


1 Comment

The Top Electric Vehicle Stories of 2015

No that’s not a typo in the headline!  2014 is in the history books and by all accounts, has been a fantastic year for electric vehicles – smashing the 100,000 annual unit sales mark in November!  More new EV models have launched in 2014 than in the prior 3 years combined and many new/upgraded EVs are coming in 2015 and beyond.

So when we look back at 2015, here’s what I believe the top stories will read nationally and right here in Georgia:

1). Electrified Vehicles Reach the 1% of vehicles sold nationally in 2015. EVs should easily reach this mark on a total industry sales of 16.5-17.0 million yielding 165-170,000 electrified vehicles added to US roads in 2015. Many states have added electric vehicle or charging station incentives or both.  With expanded charging infrastructure and high satisfaction rates among EV owners, the rate of sales growth should propel EVs close to 1% of all vehicles sold.

2). Nissan LEAF approaches the 200,000 Federal Tax Credit phase out. What Now? Arguably, Nissan has done the best job marketing their all electric LEAF which launched in the US in 2011.  By the end of 2015, cumulative LEAF sales will be close to 170,000, just 30,000 units shy of the Federal Tax Credit phase out requirements.  With an all new vehicle slated to launch in the 2017 Model Year (on sale as early as January 2016), how will Nissan market the all new LEAF without its $7,500 tax credit?  Stay tuned – Carlos Ghon has a plan!

3). Tesla FINALLY launches the Model X – Falcon Wing Doors and All.  Look for a Merry Christmas 2015 post on the Tesla blog from Elon Musk announcing the first deliveries of the 2015 Model X – it’s still 2015 and Elon has ‘kept his promise.’  Seriously, the Model X will be another game changer in the high end 6-7 passenger SUV market and will begin to impact Tesla sales in 2016, attacting new buyers to the marque.  Of course, it won’t hurt sales of the Model S, since the majority of its owners have already traded up to the Model D – satiating their need to have the latest Tesla gadget. Savvy used car buyers will snap up the discarded Model S 1.0 offerings at reasonable ($50,000 – 60,000) prices knowing that Elon has promised a battery upgrade in the future and the software upgrades continue.

4). Chevrolet VOLT 2.0: a lower cost VOLT 1.0? Let’s face it, without Bob Lutz there would not have been VOLT 1.0. And without former GM CEO Dan Akerson pushing to get $10,000 of cost out of the VOLT, there would not be a 2.0. GM is working hard to ‘tease’ us with it’s mini reveals.  But look at the 2015 Chevrolet Cruze and you get an idea of what the 2016 VOLT is going to look like: compact.  Range may improve modestly (45-50 electric miles) but this vehicle will not be a game changer; it’s likely the vehicle that should have launched in 2011:  $29,995 base price, useable gauges, 3 person “Cruze Sized” rear seat.‘  I hope there are more substantial surprises when the VOLT 2.0 is unveiled at the NAIAS the week of January 12, 2015: like using more than 60% of the 17.1kWh battery!

5). Georgia’s ZEV Tax Credit takes center stage. With Georgia and metro Atlanta garnering a lot of headlines in 2014 as the fastest growing EV market in the US, the handling of the current ZEV/LEV tax credit (currently $5,000/$2,500 with no sunset) will become a national story.  How this one ends up is anyone’s guess.  But one thing’s for sure: Nissan will have the best sales month ever in December 2014 for the LEAF given the metro Atlanta dealers are selling/leasing against the fear that the $5,000 ZEV tax credit will disappear in 2015 so get your LEAF now!

Let’s just hope that everyone can agree on the core issue:  air quality in metro Atlanta/Georgia needs more EVs on our roads to help get annual CO2 emissions well below the 150 million metric tons emitted in Georgia!

6). “PV2EV” begins to have it’s day in the sun. Wouldn’t it just be smart to tie EV charging to its own renewable power generation? For years, separate and uncoordinated incentives (and arguably disincentives) between solar power and electric vehicle charging station infrastructure has kept these two technologies apart.  2015 might be the year when enough solar powered charging stations are built to move the needle in the direction toward a sustainable PV2EV deployment.  With solar power costs falling and the cost to retrofit parking lots and garages with EV charging stations expensive, the time has come for PV2EV to have it’s day in the sun!

7). Georgia Becomes A Leader in Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure. Between the push by NRG into the metro Atlanta market from it’s home base in Houston TX, and the announcement by Georgia Power to construct it’s own charging islands (both firms offering DC Fast Charge and 240 V Level 2) Georgia and more specifically metro Atlanta, will become a model for the deployment of fast and convenient EV charging.  By the end of 2015, metro Atlanta will have at least 50 charging islands including installations in Athens and other outlying cities.  Added to that are the public charging stations funded by GEFA that will improve EV charging station availability in the Atlanta suburbs.

It will be fun to see how 2015 unfolds for electric vehicles and the supporting infrastructure. We’ll come back and revisit these ‘headlines’ and see where we hit and where we missed.  Your comments and your own headlines are welcome.

Thanks for your readership in 2014!  


1 Comment

Electric Cars Gain Toe-hold in Atlanta

This article was originally published in the December 4, 2014 edition of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution by AJC Senior Staff Writer Richard Halicks. I have corrected the tax information section, updating the description of the Georgia State Income Tax Credit.

It’s fall, and the LEAFs are turning left and right. The handful of plug-in electric car models available here, led by the Nissan Leaf, has come as a bit of a shock to the Atlanta market. They aren’t underpowered golf cart-like vehicles, for one thing. The coolest and most expensive plug-in, the Tesla Model S, goes from zero to 60 in, well, it was there before you finished reading this. (For the record: 3.2 seconds.)

By the end of 2014, 18,000 to 20,000 all-electric cars will be on the road in Georgia. Although that’s still a relatively minuscule number, it suggests that the vehicles have passed a big milestone: the market has outgrown the hard-core enthusiasts who would have bought the cars no matter what and now takes in people looking for a good deal.

And such a deal: some people who lease the Nissan Leaf find that, between the state’s tax credit for zero-emission vehicles and the savings on gasoline, the monthly cost of the lease comes out roughly to not much. (Fair warning: the tax credit cost the state $13.6 million in 2013 and may be much more costly in 2014 because of greater sales of electric vehicles; the credit was nearly repealed earlier this year, and a state legislator wants either to repeal or revise it in 2015.) Leaf buyers tend to be enthusiastic about the cost, the quiet and the absence of emissions.

“I absolutely love it,” says Leaf driver Karen Hines, who commutes about 18 miles one-way from her home in Tucker to her job downtown. “When my lease is up on this one, I will get another one. No question.”  Hines was driving a grumpy old minivan when she got a new lease on Leaf a year ago. “I think my monthly lease payment is probably just a little bit more than the gas I was buying for my van,” Hines said. “We got a really great deal. The van was big, didn’t have great gas mileage. And I get to travel in the HOV lane all by myself.”

People like Hines have made Atlanta the No. 1 market in the nation for the Nissan Leaf, which is also the nation’s No. 1 plug-in electric car. A third of the LEAFs sold in the United States are sold here, a Nissan spokesman said, and while the Leaf accounts for about 2 percent of Nissan sales nationwide, it adds up to 25 percent of the automaker’s sales in Atlanta. The biggest concerns about plug-ins — the range is too limited, the price is too high, charging stations are too few and far between — are still concerns, but there’s progress on every front: range for the typical plug-in is now about 80 miles on a charge (265 miles for that supercharged, $70,000 Tesla); the price is steadily coming down for most models; and charging stations are increasing in number.

‘They’re finding out it’s a very fun car to drive’

Don Francis, the executive director of Clean Cities-Georgia, which promotes alternative-fuel vehicles — natural gas, propane, electricity, hydrogen and more — is both a promoter and a believer. “The customer is beginning to see the financial benefits of the vehicle,” said Francis, who is driving his second Leaf. “It’s very inexpensive to operate. In addition to that, they’re finding out that it’s a very fun car to drive.”

William Cook, who runs the state’s tax credit program for the state Environmental Protection Division, said he has been surprised by the growth in the program this year. The state approved 132 tax-credit certificates in 2012, he said. The number jumped to 1,372 in 2013. Through September this year, the total was 4,591. He estimated that 90 percent of the plug-in electrics certified are Nissan LEAFs. No. 2, though quite a bit lower, is the Tesla. The list then dwindles to a few BMW i3 models, Mitsubishi I-MiEVs  and SmartCars. And one Toyota Rav4 plug-in, Cook said. Cook noted that Georgia’s tax credit, which is among the most generous in the nation, is always subject to legislative review. Repealing the $5,000 credit could take the steam out of the electric-car market in the state.

‘Leaf inventory was measured by the hour’

This past year, for example, Alpharetta Republican Chuck Martin, who chairs the House Budget and Fiscal Affairs Oversight Committee, filed a bill that would have repealed the credit, which Martin said was too expensive. The House passed Martin’s bill, but it didn’t make it through the state Senate. Contacted late last week, Martin said he still believes the credit is bad policy and plans to renew his effort to repeal it in the session that begins in January. In an email, Martin said he hopes a renewed “discussion of the policy could lead to a revision, reduction, or phased elimination of the credit or just sunset at some future time.” The Nissan Leaf has changed the game in the Atlanta market in at least two ways: first, it comes with the lease that takes advantage of that $5,000 tax credit for zero-emission cars (caveat emptor: the credit has limitations); and second, Nissan builds the cars in Smyrna, Tenn., ensuring a steady supply to meet demand in Atlanta.

The trick for car dealers is to have enough cars on hand to meet demand for, say, 60 days, but not so many cars that they’ll sit on the lot for months. Not long ago, however, you couldn’t count Leaf inventory by the month or even the week, Francis said. “Leaf inventory was measured by the hour,” he said. “People would follow the trucks in. The dealers have the cars now. It’s not up to the 60- to 90-day ratio, but it’s more than 30 days.” Cautions on the lease: check the distance of your commute, as well as the availability of charging stations either at work or along the way. Second, and perhaps more important, remember that auto leases often carry a mileage limit, with costly penalties for exceeding it.

‘We take turns going down to plug the cars in’

Karen Hines said she’s one of about 20 Leaf drivers at the law firm King & Spalding, where she works in telecommunications. The firm provides free charging stations in its parking garage, and the Leaf people have created a Google doc that schedules charging time for everybody. “One Leaf owner here keeps us all organized and playing nicely together,” she said. “We take turns going down to plug the cars in. That’s how we worked it out.” “Hines said her car is just about perfect for her commute — she needs to charge it every few days — but she doesn’t use it for longer trips and doesn’t usually go places if she doesn’t know there’s a charger in the vicinity. Nissan has a promotion for that, too. The company last week announced a “no charge to charge” promotion in which it offers free public charging for two years to those who buy or lease the Leaf. The special quick chargers, at 12 stations across metro Atlanta, can charge the car from zero to 80 percent in less than 30 minutes, Nissan said.  Some retailers, notably Whole Foods and Kohl’s, some employers and some municipalities offer free charging. EV owners also may pull up to a charging station that, um, charges, for about $2 an hour.

About EV tax credits

Georgia has one of the nation’s most generous personal income tax credits for zero emission electric vehicles, up to $5,000. The federal and state income tax credits can make electric vehicles affordable for most of us. But Jeffrey Cohen, founder of the Atlanta Electric Vehicle Development Coalition (atlantaevdc.com) says it’s important to know how the credits work and the limitations that apply to them. Much of the information below comes from Cohen, who emphasizes that he’s not a tax attorney and suggests that current and prospective EV owners consult a tax professional.

Federal: Income tax credit of up to $7,500, (depending on the electric vehicle’s battery size, so consult the IRS schedule of makes and models can be taken against the purchaser’s personal or business income taxes.  Important: the credit is not a rebate or a specific tax deduction. It’s a credit against your tax liability. Note: IRS has not yet released the form for the 2014 tax year. In leases, auto financing companies typically take the tax credit, since they own the car, and then reduce the lease payment accordingly. The lessee cannot claim the federal tax credit. The credit can only be taken by the first owner of the qualifying vehicle; it can’t be passed along to later owners.

State of Georgia: A personal income tax credit of $5,000 is currently available to purchasers and lessees of zero-emission vehicles. Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles do not qualify because they emit some carbon dioxide. Georgia permits the credit to be taken over six years – the year of purchase and five additional years -rather than just one tax year. Remember: you don’t just get a check or a rebate for $5,000. The credit applies to your tax liability, reducing it by up to $5,000 over six tax years. You claim the tax credit on your Georgia return, so it doesn’t matter whether you buy or lease the car.  The auto financing company that provides the lease cannot claim the Georgia tax credit as it can with the federal tax credit.


1 Comment

Guest Post by Tim Echols, Commissioner, Georgia Public Service Commission: Why Retain the ZEV/LEV Income Tax Credit In Georgia?

I was in a restaurant the other day when a legislator came up to me and asked an important question that all of us need to be ready to answer.  He asked, somewhat hostilely I might add, “what has Georgia received for the almost $15 million invested in electric cars via the tax credit?” 

Our response to this question may determine whether Georgia’s $5000 ZEV income tax credit lives or dies.

Probably our first answer needs to be economic, and not just “our” personal economics. Remember, according to the Georgia Department of Economic Development, for every one percent of petroleum-based miles travelled in Georgia that is displaced by electric vehicles, approximately $201 million dollars will remain in the state of Georgia annuallyEach pure electric vehicle purchased keeps $2,242 annually in the state of Georgia by fueling with electricity rather than petroleum-based products.  This is huge.

The second reason is similar and one that Don Francis of Clean Cities Georgia talks about frequently.  The tax credit received comes back after we file our taxes as a refund, and then gets spent.  It buys things in Georgia like clothes, appliances and services.  That has a multiplier effect.

Third, electric vehicles fit nicely with our electric grid here.  Georgia Power has set up a special tariff [Editor Note: called Plug In Electric Vehicle Time of Use Rate Plan – see Resources tab] to encourage people to get electric vehicles and charge them overnight—when power is super cheap and plentiful.  According to a study of 1000 of these Georgia electric car owners on the PEV rate plan, they are not only using electricity instead of gas, but they are saving $180 per year to boot.  How?  They are shifting their usage to the evening and overnight period. This is good because we have extra electric capacity overnight, and these vehicles help us utilize it.  Then, during the day, electric vehicles and equipment are quiet, clean and efficient and offer users the opportunity to save money on fuel and maintenance costs and reduce their environmental impact.

Fourth, with Atlanta out of compliance with the EPA rule, the metro area needs all the help it can get to attain the standard and save everyone the cost of an emission sticker—not to mention their lungs. Remember, gasoline or diesel engines deteriorate over time, leading to higher emissions with the age of the vehicle, whereas electric vehicles will potentially get cleaner over time as the generation of electricity gets cleaner.

Finally, electric cars send a message to young people. As I sat recently with Mayor Reed discussing Atlanta’s success with electric cars, I asked him what he thought was the greatest benefit our region has received from the $15 million invested through state tax credits thus far. He didn’t hesitate.  He said it has sent a strong message to millennials about our priorities. This investment, he further explained, makes Atlanta a more livable city where people want to be.  He likened it to the Beltline and other quality of life projects that are drawing talented young people back into the city to live and work.  As an Atlanta native, I can get excited about that.

Nissan is having great success with the LEAF and Georgia is the 2nd largest market in the U.S. for all EVs.  But behind Nissan, BMW, Kia and many other manufacturers are coming with electric carsOur message to the legislature needs to be to hold off for another year before taking action.  Let’s allow the other manufacturers to benefit as Nissan has done.  Then, if they decide to eliminate this credit, do it slowly and phase it out over the next decade.  Georgia has a great business climate, in part because we don’t make knee-jerk regulations causing uncertainty and confusion in the marketplace.  Let’s not change that now.

I urge you to reach out to your legislator—now—before the session starts and communicate the value of the credit to our state and its citizens.