The Gwinnett Toll Lane is magical. Not just because it speeds your commute, but it is the only HOT lane in metro Atlanta that gives free access to electric vehicles. Cobb and Henry counties do not. For those like me who buy cheaper electric vehicles (EVs) like the Nissan LEAF or Chevy Bolt, the savings will almost make your car payment. So why aren’t more people driving EVs?

Let’s start with public charging. Maybe you have seen the Tesla Supercharger on Buford Drive, the ChargePoint units at Georgia Gwinnett College or Electrify America’s island off Jimmy Carter Boulevard? We need more chargers at hotels, restaurants, libraries and even at multi-family housing where EV ownership presents more of a challenge. Long dwell time is the key.

The Indian community in Gwinnett County should get the credit for jumpstarting EVs in metro Atlanta when they figured out you could lease an EV for 24 months and take the full state and federal tax credit — making the almost free. Then the rest of us caught on and Atlanta became the number one market for the Nissan LEAF in America.

Today, we have more EV selections with more than 60 cars that have a plug. The incentives are still great, and dealers are dropping prices due to inflated inventories. But having chargers in public and private locations are still needed to give prospective buyers confidence that they can get the charge they need to make the drive distance they desire.

For businesses considering adding charging stations, the Inflation Reduction Act has incentives on the federal side. Georgia Power has a make-ready program that can cover all the back-end expenditures like poles, trenching and transformers. And for those considering a car purchase, don’t forget about the used market with a $4,000 instant rebate for cars two years old costing less than $25,000.

Gwinnett can become the EV capital of Georgia. Let’s work together to make it happen.

Commissioner Tim Echols
Vice-Chair, GA PSC
Founder, Clean Energy Roadshow
Cell 706-340-0773