Atlanta Electric Vehicle Development Coalition

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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


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Adding 30,000 EVs to Georgia Roads adds $914 Million in economic benefit over next 3 years!

An independent economic analysis undertaken by the Atlanta Electric Vehicle Development Coalition shows that adding 30,000 new EVs (BEV and PHEV) to Georgia roads versus only 12,750 if the $5,000 tax credit is eliminated over the 2016-2018 Fiscal Years the would benefit the Georgia state economy by $914.3 million as follows:

1). $845 million in incremental sales revenues:  Using a constant $47,000 EV selling price  generates $1.5 Billion in sales revenues for 30,000 new EVs vs. only $600 million if just 12,750 new EVs are sold with the elimination of the $5000 ZEV tax credit. Deduct another $75 million for the $2,500 EV tax credit/10,000 per year/3 year tax incentive lifeand the net is $845 million in higher auto dealer sales for EVs with a $2,500 capped EV tax credit.

2). $63 million in incremental Ad Valorem tax collection:  the EV higher sales price and higher EV sales (30,000 vs 12,750) yields almost $63 million more in Ad Valorem tax which goes right into the State Coffers.  The per vehicle Ad Valorem alone exceeds the tax credit ($3,650 vs. $2,500) adding $1,160/EV in net Ad Valorem!

3). Road Use Fees would be $6.3 million higher. If the current House version of the Transportation Bill passes and a $200 road use fee is enacted and Georgia’s EV fleet grows to 36,600 vehicles, the state generates $19.7 million. Should the Georgia Senate see a more reasonable approach and step up the Road Use Fee over the next three years to $100/$150/$200, and 30,000 new EVs are added to Georgia’s roads (56,350 total), that generates $26 million or +$6.3 million more.

This study was reviewed March 17th with Georgia State Senator Brandon Beach (District 21), Senate Transportation Committee, Secretary and Chair, Senate Science and Technology Committee. Senator Beach represents Alpharetta GA, the Technology Center of Georgia and is CEO of the North Fulton Chamber of Commerce.

As the Georgia 2015-16 Legislative session counts down to its planned April 2nd conclusion, let’s hope the Senate and House can agree on an EV Tax Credit that makes sense for Georgia!


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HB 393 Passes: Tesla Direct Sale in Georgia – No Other EV Bill Passes House. On to Senate!

During the 2015-16 Georgia Assembly Day 30 “Cross Over Day” the House voted for HB 393 (Chuck Martin R-Alpharetta) 170-3 to permit Tesla to sell its Premium Electric Motor Cars to Georgians without restriction.  Current State Dealer Franchise laws permit up to 150 ‘custom’ made vehicles to be sold directly in Georgia.  Under HB 393 which now goes to the Georgia Senate for vote during the final 10 days of the legislative year, Tesla sales would no longer be capped and up to five stores could be opened in Georgia.  Today there are stores in Marietta and Decatur.

No other EV Tax Credit legislation passed out of the House (see prior posts on HB 122, 176, 200 and 220) with the exception of the inclusion of HB 122 language in the House approved HB 170 Transportation funding bill which includes elimination of the $5,000 ZEV tax credit and imposes a $200/year road use fee for all EV registered in Georgia.  That fee is the equivalent of the gasoline tax paid by a full-size SUV during the course of a year!

The focal point of the Senate will be their version of the Transportation Bill and what impact, if any, their input has on the EV tax credit and road use fees included in the House Bill.  10 days and counting – check back for an update on the EV tax credit.

P.S. – Legislators Ride and Drive event was held on March 11th – two weeks late. Lots of electrified vehicles – including the new KIA SOUL EV to drive – but no Legislators to drive them – too close to Day 30 to come across the street from the Gold Dome to check out what’s making Georgia the #2 state (2.3% of vehicles registered in 2014) in the US.


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EV Tax Credits Update March 1, 2015: HB 122 Back in Consideration! EV Ride & Drive March 4th.

March 1, 2015

While nothing has been officially reported out of the Georgia State Assembly, House Ways and Means Committee, we have learned that HB 122 was revoted on within the Income Tax Sub committee and PASSED.  It joins HB 200 and HB 220 for full House Ways and Means Committee consideration and vote which could come as early as next week. HB 122 language (eliminate $5000 ZEV tax credit) is still in HB 170 (Transportation Committee) which has reached the House floor and remains intact in that legislation, along with the $200/year EV road use fee.

On Wednesday, March 4th, automotive OEMs will host a EV/PHEV ‘ride and drive’ event at Liberty Plaza at the Georgia State Capitol to demonstrate to House and Senate Representatives the technology and value of electric vehicles. BMW, Ford, GM, Nissan and KIA (bringing the first ever SOUL-EV to Georgia) will be on hand with vehicles.

If you want to have your voice heard to retain the EV Tax Credit, please visit www.gavevcredit.com.

Watch for an update following this week’s House Ways and Means Committee hearing.  News on HB 170 and 393 will be updated as new information becomes available.


February 22, 2015

Another busy week at the Georgia State Assembly.  HB 200 and HB 220 advance to the House Ways and Means Full Committee next week.  HB 170 (Transportation Bill) contains language in the now defeated HB 122 and a new Bill (HB 393- Martin) was introduced into the Motor Vehicle committee to allow direct sale of automobiles in Georgia.  This will permit Tesla to sell its cars directly in Georgia if automotive franchise laws were changed per this Bill.

Here’s a link to the story written by EV Club of the South President Michael Beinenson outlining what happened last week. http://insideevs.com/lawmakers-love-electric-cars-georgia-5-bills-pending/

For more information on HB 220, please visit www.gavevcredit.com


February 17, 2015

Begining at 2:00 PM on Wednesday February 18th, the Georgia State Assembly House of Representatives will take up four Bills which focus on the electric vehicle via the Income Tax sub-committee of the House Ways and Means Committee:

HB 122 – proposes the repeal of the current $5,000 ZEV and $2,500 LEV tax by July 1, 2015. DEFEATED

HB 176 – proposes including all high mileage vehicles including gas hybrids and 47 mpg vehicles in a $2,000 tax credit along with a $10 million budget cap and in perpetuity the tax credit to (currently unavailable) hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. DEFEATED

HB 200 – proposes broadening the definition of the existing electric vehicle charging station tax credit to include retail and commercial buildings at a maximum of $2,500/station along with an annual $750,000 budget cap. PASSED SUB COMMITTEE

HB 220 – proposes the reduction in the ZEV tax credit, inclusion of PHEVs, a $30 million budget cap and a sunset period. PASSED SUB COMMITTEE.

Check back for an update on the outcome of this intense debate!


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Georgia’s Leadership On Electric Vehicles Delivers Huge Benefits To Drivers

The Union of Concerned Scientists released the following statement about the benefits of driving on electricity to the State of Georgia:

ATLANTA (February 11, 2015)— “In 2014 alone, Georgia drivers saved 4.5 million gallons of gasoline thanks to electric vehicles – and that means these drivers have an extra $10 million to put back into the local economy. A new analysis from the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) shows that driving 100 miles in the average conventional vehicle costs a Georgia driver $13.57 – but in an electric vehicle, driving those same 100 miles cost $3.53 or less. The UCS analysis also shows how important it is for Georgia to continue implementing forward-thinking policies that expand access to electric vehicles in the state.

Georgia is a national leader in electric vehicles, thanks in part to strong state policies that help Georgia drivers take advantage of the many benefits of driving on electricity. Georgia has the second-highest number of electric vehicles on the road in the country, and Atlanta passed Seattle this year to become the second-biggest metro area for electric vehicles.

“Electric vehicles are cheaper to fuel, are cleaner to operate, and are benefitting Georgia drivers,” says Joshua Goldman, a lead policy analyst for UCS. “Georgia has been a pioneer in putting electric cars on the road.”

While gas prices rise and fall, electricity rates in Georgia have been relatively stable for years. Electric vehicles protect drivers from future changes in gas prices.

“I’m really encouraged by the progress we’ve made on electric vehicles,” said Anne Blair, the Clean Fuels Director for the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy. “I hope leaders here in Georgia recognize how important electric vehicles are, and what a standout Georgia is on adopting them.”

Georgia has thousands of electric vehicles on the road, but there’s still room for growth. Policies that encourage consumers to choose electric vehicles will continue to pay dividends for Georgians.”

Click here to get the facts on the benefits of driving on electricity in Georgia: UCS Study EVs and Georgia


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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.


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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!  


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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.


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Why Georgia’s Low Emission Income Tax Credits Should Include Plug-Ins and Hybrids

Atlanta is the #2 city for EVs and Georgia is tied for fourth among U.S. states in EV registrations. A key component of the state’s success are its income tax credits for zero emissions vehicles (ZEVs) and low emissions vehicles (LEVs). Unfortunately, these tax credits do not apply to hybrid electric plug-in or to gas- hybrids despite their low carbon emissions and lower five year costs than traditional internal combustion engine cars. By including plug-ins and hybrids to complement the current ZEV and LEV income tax credits, Georgia’s State Legislature can help significantly reduce the state’s CO2 emissions and improve the air quality in Georgia, and help grow the state’s economy. Skeptical? Read More.