- The Atlanta City Council unanimously passed infrastructure regulations to boost the spread of electric vehicles (EV), according to the Atlanta Business Chronicle.
- Under the new regulations, builders must install electrical infrastructure that will support EV chargers in each new residential and commercial structure.
- Additionally, each new commercial parking structure must make sure that at least 20% of the spaces are EV-ready.
Atlanta has been passing various environmentally friendly initiatives lately — such as offering property owners funding for clean energy projects — despite spotty support at the state level. Georgia had been the top state for EV sales in 2014 thanks in a large part to its $5,000 tax credit for zero-emission vehicles, but it experienced an 80% drop in EV sales statewide shortly after discontinuing the tax credit in 2015 and imposing a $200 annual fee on EVs.
Some use the state as an example of what could happen to nationwide EV sales if the $7,500 federal tax credit on EVs is repealed, as is proposed in the House tax bill. However, others point out that the tax credit is only good for 200,000 of each auto maker's electric vehicles registered in the United States, and some manufacturers — like Tesla — are approaching the tax credit cutoff point.
Georgia Power offers rebates to builders who install 240-volt chargers with a dedicated circuit. Atlanta's new ordinance instead makes the charger installation mandatory on new construction. Although some builders and building managers initially complained about the cost of installing the chargers, few voiced opposition as the city council vote neared.
The new ordinance addresses one of the main holdbacks of consumers purchasing electric vehicles, which is a lack of charging infrastructure when EV owners leave their homes. To further ensure that chargers are available to those who need them, drivers who park gas-powered vehicles in an EV-only spot can receive a $35 citation on the first offense and a get booted or towed after that.
The regulations could help further boost interest in EVs in Atlanta, a city known for its congestion due to residents being car-dependent. The ordinance comes at a time when EV sales are up nationwide and there's greater interest in investing in charging infrastructure. The timing is also beneficial in that it coincides with falling electric battery prices, which will bring down manufacturer costs and should lower consumers' cost-per-mile.