Georgia has 1,500 EV charging stations, seventh out of 50 states and the District of Columbia. Metro Atlanta has about 1,110 of them, the third-highest among U.S. metro areas, according to real estate data provider Yardi Matrix.
Outside Atlanta, good luck. On I-16 between Macon and Savannah, a 170-mile stretch, drivers pass only four charging stations just off the interstate, according to the website PlugShare.
Vanessa Miller, an attorney in Detroit who advises automotive companies on supply chain issues, said a chicken-or-egg situation is holding things back.
“It’s hard to get the momentum you need because a driver isn’t going to buy an EV until they know they can keep it running,” she said. Companies won’t install more charging stations “because you don’t know how many EVs there are going to be.”
State, federal governments make electric push
Kemp has made EV a priority, forming an EV task force in July to “ensure that our state is positioned to continue leading the nation in the rapidly growing electric mobility industry.” The group’s report may be released in early 2022.
Georgia gave SK Battery $300 million in grants, tax breaks and free land. The state has probably offered a larger bounty to Rivian, though details haven’t been disclosed. Georgia has only one combustion-engine auto plant, Kia, after rivals chose neighboring states to build traditional auto plants.
Wall Street investors and automotive industry analysts predict the EV market will soon be red hot. Industry tracker IHS Markit projects that EVs on U.S. roads will rise from 1.5 million vehicles now to 9.3 million by 2026.
At Tesla, the largest EV maker, yearly revenue grew from less than half a billion dollars in 2012 to more than $30 billion last year. It reported its first quarterly profit this summer. Rivian’s November IPO valued the company at more than $100 billion, more than either Ford or General Motors.
Governments have set lofty goals for converting to EVs in a push to combat climate change. President Joe Biden wants to cut greenhouse gas emissions by half from 2005 levels by 2030, in part by cutting the price of EVs by $12,500.
Corporations want to oblige. Amazon has ordered 100,000 electric vans from Rivian. UPS will buy 10,000 electric vans from British company Arrival. Hertz and Enterprise Rent-a-Car have said they’ll add more EVs to their fleets.
A federal infrastructure program will provide $7.5 billion to install hundreds of thousands of EV charging stations nationwide. Funds will likely be available first-come, first-serve, though details haven’t been released, said Brandon Jacobs, regional vice president of sales at charging station provider Blink.