In 2021, electric transport in the south-east has taken off – SACE | Southern Alliance for Clean Energy SACE


2021 could prove to be the year the electric vehicle market has reached an inflection point, taking off nationally and in the historically lagging Southeast.

Stan’s Cross | December 30, 2021

| Electric vehicles

Accelerated growth. This is what happened in the electric vehicle (EV) market this year.

Consumers have been buying electric vehicles at an all-time high. June and July recorded the highest number of monthly electric vehicle sales to date, and in September, 5.6% of all light vehicle sales were of electric vehicles, the highest market penetration on record. Automakers have committed more than $ 60 billion to expanding electric vehicle manufacturing in the United States. Meanwhile, six major automakers, including Ford and GM, thirty countries and California, New York and Washington have pledged to phase out production of internal combustion vehicles by 2040. And to ease the transition, Congress adopted the bipartite infrastructure package which includes 7.5 billion dollars to expand the national network of charging stations for electric vehicles from 100,000 to 500,000 stations.

Highlights of the Southeast

As indicated in the report “Electrification of transport in the South-East”, this national momentum is reflected in the South-East, where investments in the manufacture of electric vehicles, job growth, sales of electric vehicles, the deployment of charging stations, investments in electric utilities and government spending are all on the rise.

Southeast Electric Vehicle Market Indicators through July 2021

Source: SACE + Atlas Public Policy, “Electrification of transport in the South-East”, South-East Indicators until July 2021, page 6

Economic development is expanding

The Southeast, which historically lagged behind the main regions for electrification of transport in sales of electric vehicles and the deployment of charging infrastructure, has also established itself as a powerhouse in the manufacture of electric vehicles. Regional investments in electric vehicle manufacturing climbed 66% from July 2020 to July 2021 to reach $ 11.1 billion. Since then, additional investments of $ 11.9 billion have been announced which, combined, are expected to create 15,200 electric vehicle and battery manufacturing jobs:

  • Ford in Tennessee
  • Toyota and Arrival in North Carolina, and
  • Rivian in Georgia.

Currently, Tennessee is No. 1 in the Southeast in terms of investment and jobs in the manufacturing of electric vehicles. As of July 2021, the state had captured 25% of the country’s electric vehicle manufacturing investment, up 172% from July 2020, and 9% of related jobs, up 57%. And that was before Ford announced a $ 5.6 billion vehicle and battery plant east of Memphis. With the year-end announcement that electric vehicle maker Rivian will invest $ 5 billion in a new vehicle and battery manufacturing plant outside of Atlanta, # 2 for investments and jobs in electric vehicle manufacturing, Georgia, is set to give Tennessee a chance in 2022.

Automakers and supply chain companies are thriving in the Southeast as the region has an established automotive ecosystem, utility prices are low, states offer attractive incentives, and the workforce. work is cheaper and unions are weaker. The latter has become a flashpoint as the Biden administration lobbies for U.S.-made and union-made electric vehicles and batteries.

Boom in investment in public services

Investor-owned utilities (IOUs) in the region have increased their investments in the deployment of electric vehicle charging stations, the design of tariffs to support the electrification of cars, trucks and buses, and the financing of electric vehicles. electric school bus drivers. From July 2020 to July 2021, debt recognition investments approved by regulators increased by 306% to reach $ 130 million. And then, the approved tariff business settlements with Duke Energy Florida and Florida Power & Light injected an additional $ 264 million, bringing the total to date to $ 394 million.

Florida is # 1 in the Southeast for utility investments, with $ 337 million approved by the state utilities commission. For the point of view, North Carolina Trails at # 2 with $ 24 million approved and $ 56 million pending decision by regulators. The ongoing challenge for utilities and regulators is to ensure that these and future investments allow equitable access for all to owning electric vehicles and the resulting benefits to public health and economic savings.

Investments in utilities are increasing due to two factors:

  • Utilities offer larger and more robust electric transport pilot programs and
  • Regulators are increasingly approving rate-based programs.

As these pilots roll out, regulators, utilities and advocates will seek results that demonstrate significant value to the emerging electric vehicle market and to taxpayers. Successful programs will provide widespread access to electric vehicle charging, increase sales of electric vehicles, and generate new revenue for utilities, which will put downward pressure on utility rates for all.

Acceleration of the deployment of sales of electric vehicles and charging stations

From July 2020-2021, sales of electric passenger vehicles in the Southeast increased by 46%. The deployment of charging stations increased by 57%. But in both categories, the region lags behind, accounting for around 18% of the country’s population but only 10% of electric vehicle sales and 14% of charger deployments.

Florida leads the way in gross sales of electric vehicles and infrastructure deployment. But when you take into account the state’s population, Georgia is No. 1 in both categories. Only Georgia and Florida fall in the national average ranges for electric vehicle sales and chargers per capita, while Alabama, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee lag behind.

Source: SACE + Atlas Public Policy, “Electrification of transport in the South-East”, South-East indicators until July 2021, Figure 10

Sales of electric vehicles are increasing as more consumers and fleet operators realize the benefits of technology and a wider range of electric vehicle models come to market. Automakers expect electric passenger vehicles to reach price parity with gasoline-powered cars over the next several years. When that happens, sales of electric passenger vehicles are expected to skyrocket.

The deployment of electric vehicle charging infrastructure has been boosted by state government funding through the Volkswagen regulation and investments in regional utility programs. New federal infrastructure funding will further accelerate the deployment of electric vehicle chargers in the coming years.

The climate imperative

In the wake of COP 26 this year, governments around the world have reaffirmed their shared belief that the climate crisis is upon us and that measures to reduce carbon emissions must be stepped up around the world. Transportation is the number one carbon polluting sector in the United States and the Southeast.

Electric utilities are stepping up their decarbonization efforts, making the electricity used by electric vehicles cleaner every day. As the trend towards low-carbon electricity generation continues, the climate benefits of electrifying transportation are increasing exponentially.

Electricity consumption of electric vehicles in the south-east

Source: SACE + Atlas Public Policy, “Electrification of transport in the South-East”, South-East indicators until July 2021, Figure 3

What to expect in 2022

The bipartisan infrastructure investment and jobs law will begin funding $ 5 billion in charging infrastructure to be administered by state transportation departments and soliciting proposals for the $ 2.5 billion in funding. competitive grants. These $ 7.5 billion in electric vehicle infrastructure are more than invested to date by the states and utilities of the country combined.

It’s a game changer. The focus will now be on the state level, ensuring that money is spent effectively and efficiently and that the result is greater and more equitable access to recharging. electric vehicles along road corridors and across the country’s rural landscapes. The success will help consumers and fleet operators make the switch to electric cars, trucks and buses.

Assuming a version of the Build Back Better Act can be passed by Congress, approved infrastructure investments can be enhanced by financial incentives to help consumers and fleet operators purchase electric vehicles that will remain more expensive than gasoline and diesel vehicles for a few years.

Combine this influx of funding with the automakers’ plans for 2022 to launch dozens of new electric vehicle models, including the highly anticipated Rivian R1T and Ford F150 Lightning pickups, and we have the means to have an exciting year for vehicles. electric. Stay tuned.

Electrify the Southis a program of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy which leverages research, advocacy and awareness to promote renewable energy and accelerate thefair transition toelectric transport throughout South East. Visit ElectrifytheSouth.org to learn more and connect with us.

About Robert Pierson

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