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?
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.
Ford F-150 Electric Prototype Tows 1.25 Million Pounds
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 EVhttps://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!
EV Charging Comes to Atlanta Airport and in a BIG way!
What started out as a conversation between GeorgiaPublic Service Comissioner Timothy G. Echols, City of Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and his Director of Sustainability Stephanie Stuckey Benfield (recently promoted to Chief Resiliency Officer) has advanced to the first phase of three phases of electric vehicle charging stations at Atlanta’s Hartsfield Jackson International Airport. The first 102 charging ports were officially unveiled on Thursday January 12, 2017. And that was very welcome news to metro Atlanta EV drivers.
How did this finally happen? Read on about the individuals who led the charge to make electric vehicle charging at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport happen.
Don Francis, Executive Director Clean Cities Georgia. Don has been championing charging at the Atlanta airport for at least five years and has been actively part of the planning process that has brought the first phase of chargers. Don’s widespread network of government, industry and think tank partners along with his deep knowledge of EVs and EV charging drives his quest to ensure that the state of Georgia continues to support the growth of electric vehicles and reduces our dependence on foreign oil. Don has overseen charging station infrastructure in Georgia for over 20 years, going back to the GM EV1 project.
Tim Echols, Commissioner, Georgia Public Service Commmission. Tim has been the most vocal publicly elected official supporting electric vehicles and charging stations for years. Tim took a position during the 2015 Georgia General Assembly to retain a modified ZEV/LEV vehicle tax credit to continue to support clean energy and to improve Georgia’s air quality. Guest Post by Tim Echols, Commissioner, Georgia Public Service Commission: Why Retain the ZEV/LEV Income Tax Credit In Georgia?As a tireless champion, Tim does not give up easily. It was Tim’s conversation with Mayor Reed and Ms.Benfield that sparked the commitment on the part of Mayor Reed to aggressively ‘close the EV charging gap’ at Hartsfield Jackson International Airport. Tim builds bridges ‘across the aisle’ as demonstated by his re-election to the Georgia Public Service Commission this past November, garnering the largest number of votes of any elected official in the history of the State of Georgia.
Stephanie Stuckey Benfield joined the Mayor’s Office as Director of Sustainability in mid-2015 and immediately began to make her mark on alternative fuel vehicles. The City’s fleet began to transition from ‘gas guzzlers’ to fuel efficent vehicles with charging infrastructure to support the city’s EVs. Stephanie, who is known to ride one of the city’s bicycle’s to meetings downtown, together with Don Francis and Tim Echols, saw the huge need for electric vehicle charging at the airport and in partnering with the Airport Sustainability team, initiated the dialogue with Mayor Reed suggesting that maybe 50 stations were needed. His Honor quickly increased that number 6-fold. Stephanie is truly walking the talk and recently purchased a pre-owned 2014 Tesla Model S 60 following a test drive of a new Tesla at the City of Atlanta’s first Electric Vehicle Ride & Drive event. True to her values, Stephanie purchased a ‘recycled’ electric vehicle!
Paul Bowers, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Georgia Power, A Southern Company. It takes amazing commitment on the part of a public utility to get behind an initiative with candidly, a negligable ROI. With just over 25,000 EV’s, it would have been very easy for Paul Bowers to politely decline support for the EV Community Charging program, which is in the process of rolling out up to 61 recharging islands with both DCFC and Level 2 stations throughout the State of Georgia. Instead under Mr. Bowers leadership, Georgia Power has embraced and significantly advanced the ability to own an electric vehicle in Georgia as the result of the series of committments that he and his organization have made, including supporting the multi-year charging stations project at Atlanta Airport.
City of Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and Hartsfield Jackson Airport General Manager Roosevelt Council Junior. Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport plays host to 100,000,000 passengers a year, the majority of whom do not live in metro Atlanta. The airport is in the midst of a $6 Billion modernization program which includes the demolition and reconstruction of the North and South terminal parking decks targeting 2018-2020 timeframe. Mayor Reed is committed to making Hartsfield Jackson International Airport the “Greenest Airport in the World.” Mayor Reed Puts Atlanta on the Global Climate Stage
When asked about the timing for electric vehicle charging at the airport, Mr. Council’s predecessor said 2-3 years aligned with the new parking decks.When Mayor Reed gave the word just several months ago (summer 2016), Mr. Council got to work and found a way, partnering with Polly Sattler, Senior Sustainability Planner, to make electric vehicle charging happen throughout the airport in January 2017! Thank you Mayor Reed for lighting the fire and thank you Mr. Council for carrying the torch!
The January 12, 2017 media event was held in the International Terminal Short Term parking deck where 75 people gathered for the announcement, several of whom were delighted to plug and and charge up during the event many had been waiting for a very long time!
As the leaves began to turn, three very significant events have taken place which bode well for the advancement of electric vehicles and supporting recharging infrastructure in the State of Georgia.
Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport City of Atlanta Mayor Kaseem Reed has committed to the installation of 300 electric vehicle charging parking spots by the end of 2017. Sources indicate the charging infrastructure will be a mix of Level 1 charging stations, L1 plug-in outlets (owners can plug in their charging cordsets), Level 2 stations and even a few DCFC stations. Regardless, this is a HUGE step forward as the most notable gap for EV charging in metro Atlanta is the airport. The first 100 charging spots will be on-line by the end of 2016 with the remaining 200 coming on stream over the course of 2017.
State of Georgia General Assembly Joint House-Senate Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Study Committee. At the end of the 2016 Legislative Session, a resolution passed forming a Joint Study Committee led by Rep. Bubber Epps and Sen. Jeff Mulls. The committee received testimony during three sessions (Macon, Ringgold, Atlanta) and concluded their public hearings on November 9th.
During the last meeting at the State Capitol, electric vehicle testimony was provided by Nissan North America, the City of Atlanta (Director of Sustainability Stephanie Stuckey Benfield) and CleanCitiesGeorgia. The latter was provided by Executive Director Don Francis, whom everyone knows is the “Godfather of EV Charging” in Georgia.
Don made a fact based presentation to the Joint Committee seeking to demonstrate:
PHEV sales in Georgia are falling. While the State of Georgia is still #2 in the nation with 24,328 plug in electric vehicles registered (California is 10x larger at 229,723 PHEV’s according to IHS Polk data year ending August 31, 2016), Georgia PHEV sales are off over 90% and Georgia’s percent of total registrations is at only 0.4% vs. 0.8% national average. The combination of the elimination of the LEV/ZEV personal income tax credit in June 2015 coupled with the “usurious” PHEV registration fees ($204 this year) have brought the mainstream EV market to a screeching halt. At the national average of 0.8% there should be another 6,500-7,000 new PHEV’s on Georgia’s roads versus the 1,247 according to IHS Polk.
Foreign Oil Dependency in Georgia is Unabated. More money is spent on petroleum in Georgia ($30 Billion) than the State Budget ($20 Billion) with the vast majority of those funds leaving the state. In contrast, electricity is generated and consumed in Georgia and those funds stay in the state. CleanCities goal nationally is to reduce and ideally eliminate the United States dependence on foreign oil.
Legislators are leaving money on the table. The economic impact of EV’s in Georgia is well over $100 million per year between vehicle sales/resales, electricity consumed in Georgia and disposable income effects from lower cost electricity (yes even with gasoline at $2.50/gallon).
The PHEV Registration Fee is Punitive. The $200+ PHEV registration/road use fee is twice that of the next highest states ($100 in Michigan, North Carolina and Washington State). It needs to come down.
At the end of this final session, Mr. Francis put up the “Ask” slide and boldly put forth three recommendations which the Joint Study Committee positively received:
Restore a reasonable LEV/ZEV tax credit targeting 10% of the qualifying PHEV price with a cap of $3,000. Follow the Federal model of tax credit by battery size.
Reduce the Alternative Fuel Vehicles registration fee to $50.00.
Support EV charging station infrastructure. Address the language in the current legislation to enable the existing EV charging stations tax credit to be applied to commercial and retail properties. BOMA spokesman Mark Gallman provided similar testimony.
The committee thanked those providing testimony on behalf of Electric Vehicles with the prevailing sentiment expressed by Senator Butch Miller: “Something needs to be done but it is a question of balance. We need to find the right balance.”
Tim Echols created Georgia’s annual Alternative Fuel Vehicles Roadshow to showcase the capabilities of a wide variety of alternative fuels including electricified transportation.
Electric Vehicles and the Southeast Grid – Newly re-elected Public Service Commissioner Tim Echols and Union of Concerned Scientists‘ Peter O’Connor convened a two-day ‘think tank’ session to discuss the current and future state of electric vehicles, and charging infrastructure, to hear case studies from regional public utilities, and take a glimpse into the future of charging infrastructure. Workplace charging was tackled by one panel and Residential charging by another. Four public utilities (Duke Energy, Georgia Power, Florida Power and Light, Jacksonville Energy Association) shared the outcomes of their initiatives to support PHEVs and recharging infrastructure. Ally Kelly from The Ray foundation shared the plans to test bed roadway embedded EV recharging on the 18 mile stretch of Interstate 85 between Georgia and the Alabama State line named in honor of the late Raymond C. Anderson, the visionary Chairman of Interface who led the carpet industry into the recycled fibers technology. Audi’s EV Architect (coolest job title at the conference) Wayne Kallen said that the first full Battery Electric Vehicle from Audi is coming in late 2018!
So if one were to believe that all of the PHEV development work was taking place in California, this conference would surely have demonstrated that incredible advances are being made in the Southeast and in fact Jeff Kessler representing CARB (California Air Resources Board) said as much during his panel remarks.
During the post 2015 Georgia General Assembly era, the electric vehicle constituents in Georgia have been very busy advancing infrastructure (4,500 Public Level 2 charging stations and 375 Fast Charge plugs), and building the case for the Legislature to restore the State to a leadership position in the advancement of Electric Vehicles in Georgia.
Stay tuned as we watch how the next major development – the almost $60 million VW settlement Fund [if the State accepts it], is to be administered in Georgia. You can be sure that more charging stations (and even Superchargers) are on their way as the 2017 Chevrolet BOLT, the 2018 Tesla Model 3, all new Nissan LEAF and that all-electric Audi extend the reach the electric vehicles throughout the State of Georgia and beyond.
US Plug In Electric Vehicle sales are on a tear in 2016 up +31% vs. sluggish 2015 but also up +20% vs. the record setting 2014. So what’s going on? Two words: pricing and innovation.
Tesla delivered 34,455 Model S and Model X through September 30th following a very aggressive (for Tesla) sales push which included Model S and X ‘inventory vehicles’ – produced without a buyer and the ramp up of Model X production. Tesla reportedly converted a number of Model 3 buyers to Model S with its newly re-priced $66,000 base price. I visited Tesla stores in Atlanta and Cleveland where the store”cupboards” were bare and exhausted Product Specialists had delivered every vehicle they could get their hands on before September 30th. Tesla began to make deliveries of its 0-60 in 2.5 seconds P100D with its 315 mile driving range as well.
Chevrolet VOLT – sales for the second generation model and its 53 mile all EV range are up +76% to 16,326 units, beating full year 2015 (15,393) and on pace to best 2014 (18,805). Used car buyer are discovering a great value in the VOLT, which sell for less than 40% of the price of its price when new, attracting the next generation of buyers to the versatile 400 mile range VOLT.
BMW X5 xDrive 40E at almost 4,600 units helped push BMW “E” sales up by 24% off-setting lower sales for the i3 (2017 model gets a longer range battery pack at 110 EV miles) and i8 both off about 20%. BMW just started shipping the 330E with just 323 units delivered and the 740E arrives in the Fourth Quarter of this year.
Federal Incentives (up to $7,500) are still plentiful and many states also have additional incentives on top of Federal continuing to support EV sales. US gasoline prices are creeping up but still very low so not likely impacting the sales growth of EVs.
The next chapter: 2017 Chevrolet BOLT- officially rated by the US EPA at 238 miles of all electric driving range and a base price of $37,495.00 before Federal Incentives. The long-range, mass market EV may be finally here. That is until the Tesla Model 3 arrives in late 2017.
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
Clean Cities Georgia
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
New Again Tesla Model S 60! This past week, Tesla announced the re-introduction of the Model S 60 kWh battery with a range of 210 miles and a base price of $66,000 USD. Other features include the new front end styling and headlamps introduced across the Model S line just a month earlier and the optional 75kWh upgrade to add another 39 miles of range for $8,500.00 USD and the optional Dual Motor for another $5,000.00.
Our sister company, Georgia EVentures, LLC, took delivery of one of the last Model S 60 kWh vehicles produced in March 2015, so we thought we would provide a comparison to see just how good a value the new, now 5 year old Model S 60 is compared to it’s original 60 kWh version launched in 2012.
2016 or 2015 Model S 60 – Which is the Better Value? To make the fairest possible comparison, we used the same color and trim (Blue Metallic, Grey Leather, Obeche Gloss, fixed roof, white headliner), the same options (Autopilot, Tech Package/Premium, Air Suspension) and 19″ base wheels. Supercharging was a $2,000 option in 2015 and standard in 2016; our 2015 Model S has both front and rear Nex Gen seats so a -$1,000adjustment was made to account for the actual cost of the Nex Gen rear seat in the 2015.
Four factors make up the biggest components of value for the new Model S 60:
Base price reduction of $3,900 (-6%) for comparable range (210 vs. 209)
Inclusion of Supercharging which was a $2,000 option in early 2015.
Decoupling of Autopilot and Tech Package/Convenience features saves $1,750.
Future ability to unlock 15 kWh of battery/39 miles but not for $8,500-9,000 as offered today: Tesla is still struggling with how to price longer range battery packs.
Bottom line, before Federal and State Tax Credits (Georgia’s $5,000 ZEV tax credit vanished on July 1, 2015), the “New” Model S 60 is a better value at $4,000 less (-5%) than the 2015 Model S.
As they say, timing is everything. And this might just be a good time to finally purchase that Tesla Model S you’ve always wanted!
Fortunately for Georgia EVentures, the Georgia ZEV tax credit more than made up that difference, providing about $1,000 in lower cost versus the comp equipped 2016: yes timing is everything!
Tesla Nation has officially begun! Since it’s March 31st official launch, Tesla reports over 250,000 $1,000 pre-order deposits have been made for its $35,000 base price ($42,000 well equipped said Tesla CEO Elon Musk) Model III. While smaller, and half the price of the original Model S 60 kWh model, it delivers the same range (215 vs. 208), acceleration (0-60 in under 6 seconds) and overall driving characteristics of its larger brother! Impressive. The Model III will offer AutoPilot suite standard and Supercharger capable with Musk being a bit vague on ‘free’ vs. ‘pay as you go’. Atlanta EVDC is betting it will be free. Why? Because Musk committed to doubling the high speed Supercharger network and quadrupling ‘destination charging’ locations by the end of 2017 (7,000 of each).
Hundreds of Atlantans lined up at the Tesla Decatur, Lenox and Marietta stores to put down their $1,000 deposits and talk with current Model S and X owners.
Photo Credit: Michael Beinenson
Never in automotive history have that many deposits been made for a new automotive model. Automotive dealers may order say 30,000 vehicles for a new launch across thousands of ‘dealer points’ but never before have individuals been able to accomplish this feat.Musk is also doubling the ‘store’ count to about 440 by end of next year with commensurate service centers. So Tesla is making all the right moves to get ready for the Model III.
If you missed the launch event, here’s a link to the 22 minute video – worth the watch!
With the 2016 Georgia General Assembly session coming to its close, there was no action taken on either Bill introduced to reinstate a graduated EV tax credit or to reduce the $200.00/year AFV road use fee. As the owner/operator of 3 EVs (2014 VOLT, 2015 LEAF and 2015 Tesla) my bill from the State of Georgia for annual registrations is a whopping $768.00! Ouch!
With EV sales continuing to slide precipitously, a glimmer of hope lies in the establishment of an EV study committee by the Georgia State Senate; I hope to participate as both an EV driver and in my role as National Sales Manager for Current Powered by GE EV charging stations. The committee may not ramp up until after the summer, so check back for updates.
Fortunately, the Federal Goverment reinstated its 30% Income Tax Credit with a $30,000 maximum per job site both retroactive to January 1, 2015 and expiring on December 31, 2016. Here’s a handy link to the Alternative Fuels Data Center, THE source for Federal, State and Local incentives information: AFDC Federal EV Charging Infrastructure Tax Credit.
With the arrival of the 2017 Chevrolet VOLT, 2018 Chevrolet BOLT, Nissan LEAF and Tesla Model III (to be unveiled on March 31, 2016) many great new EV options with longer ranges and lower price tags will be available!
The electric vehicle tax credit debate simply will not go away! Last week Georgia General Assembly House of Representatives member, Margaret Kaiser (D-Atlanta) and her Democrat co-sponsors introduced HB 877 GA Gen Assembly HB 877 EV & EVSE Tax Credits which provides the following:
1). Three year program with tax credit level changing at the 18 month mark and an annual $30 Million Tax Credit Cap. Tax Credit would run from July 1, 2017 to December 31, 2019.
2). Tax Credits for EV’s with battery size of 4.0 to 10.0 kWh: $2,000 reducing to $1,000 on January 1, 2018. 10% Income Tax Credit against vehicle purchase price subject to these caps.
3). Tax Credits for EV’s with battery size >10.0 kWh: $3,000 reducing to $2,000 on January 1, 2018. 10% Income Tax Credit against vehicle purchase price subject to these caps.
4). Purchases and Leases are eligable. Ineligability for Georgia residents who were granted a tax credit ($5,000 ZEV tax credit reduced to $0 in 2015) the three prior years (2013-2015).
5). Tax Credit to business enterprises who install EV charging stationsat 10% of the charger cost subject to a $2,500 cap. Defintion of business enterprise is clarified in HB200 which cleared the House in 2015 and is still with the Senate.
This legislation is substantially what was proposed under HB220 in last year’s session with the notable inclusion of the EV charging station and slightly lower caps. Now the Bill needs a Republican co-sponsor and the best candidate is Don Parsons (R-Marietta) who chairs the House Energy Utilities and Technology Committee and is a member of the tax related committees: Appropriations and Ways and Means.
Watch this blog for updates as we did last year! If you live in metro Atlanta and support EVs, email or call your Georgia House Representative this coming week.
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