Charging Ahead

Interest in electric vehicles is revving up

The future of automobiles is electric. And interest in electric vehicles – EVs, for short – is revving up here in Georgia.

Until recently, the electric vehicle revolution was limited mainly to sedans and small hatchbacks like the Nissan Leaf, which you might have seen Walton EMC employees driving. Now, though, advances in battery technology are helping expand consumer offerings to include the pickups and SUVs Georgia motorists favor.

In addition to the well-documented environmental benefits and energy-efficiency advantages, these factors are prompting consumers to give EVs a look:

  • Longer driving ranges. Most new models can travel 200 to 300 miles before requiring a charge. Ranges of 500 miles are on the horizon.
  • Falling prices. In the showroom, electric vehicles still cost more than their gasoline counterparts. But technology is rapidly lowering EV prices. Tesla has announced it will make a $25,000 EV in the next three years.
  • Fuel and maintenance savings. The U.S. Department of Energy says electricity to charge an EV is equal to $1 per gallon of gasoline. EVs need no oil changes and have fewer moving parts, so they require far less maintenance, too.
  • Tax credit. Some electric car models are eligible for a federal income tax credit of up to $7,500.
  • Walton EMC incentive. The co-op offers a special rate for electric vehicle charging, which is lower than the regular electrical rate at certain hours of the day. Call Walton EMC for details.
  • More public charging stations. Public charging stations, which can supplement home EV charging, are popping up all over. You can find charging stations at places like Walgreens in Monroe and the public library in Loganville. Check out PlugShare.com for a map of more locations.
  • Lane exemptions. Those who must fight Atlanta commuter traffic will appreciate that an EV displaying the proper alternative fuel license plate may use high-occupancy vehicle and high-occupancy toll lanes, regardless of the number of passengers. There is no charge for using toll lanes. (Note: All electric vehicles are subject to an annual licensing fee plus an extra fee for the alternative fuel license plate in the state of Georgia.)

PLUGGING IN

Besides being economical to operate, Ford’s new Mach-e Mustang lets drivers choose from three drive experiences – Whisper, Engage and Unbridled – right from the large data display located on the dash.

The popularity of EVs has been on the upswing in Georgia for several years, said Frank Morris, executive director of Clean Cities–Georgia (CC-GA), a program funded through the U.S. Department of Energy to reduce petroleum use in transportation.

There are nearly 30,000 EVs now on the road in Georgia. A new project by CC–GA, called Drive Electric Georgia, aims to double that number in just three years. The project’s initiatives include organizing EV ride and drive events, coordinating Georgia’s participation in National Drive Electric Week and advocating for more public EV charging stations.

Walton EMC is doing its part to put more EVs on the road by adding two Mustang Mach-E cars to its fleet. Consumer Reports recently featured the vehicle, which gets 270 miles per charge, on the cover of its 2021 annual auto issue.

We look forward to demonstrating the value of these EVs to co-op members because the future is electric, and Walton EMC is charging ahead.