As Electric car sales stall, Cobb adds charging stations
by Jon Gillooly
January 30, 2013 12:33 AM | 5664 views | 17 17 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Jan and Cristina Durzynski, of east Cobb, background, charge their Nissan Leaf while shopping for groceries at Whole Foods Market on Johnson Ferry Road in 2012. <br>Staff/file
Jan and Cristina Durzynski, of east Cobb, background, charge their Nissan Leaf while shopping for groceries at Whole Foods Market on Johnson Ferry Road in 2012.
Staff/file
slideshow
 A couple charges up on Johnson Ferry Road.
A couple charges up on Johnson Ferry Road.
slideshow
While some reports indicate consumer interest in electric vehicles has declined, the county is moving ahead with installing charging stations at two of its Cobb County Transit park-and-ride lots.

The electric vehicle charging stations, which will be installed during the next month, are part of a federal pilot program.

The U.S. Department of Energy awarded a $114.8 million grant to San Francisco-based ECOtality Inc.

to deploy thousands of electric vehicle chargers across the country. Cobb will keep track of the usage for a one-year period. After that time, the federal department will determine whether it wants to continue the program.

Jennifer Still, sales manager for Day’s Chevrolet in Acworth, said every month she sells about one to two Chevrolet Volts, which is a plug-in electric car. By comparison, she sells more than 20 per month of her most popular car, the gas-powered Chevrolet Cruze.

Still said she sees a need for more charging stations.

“A lot of people are still a little skeptical, I think, and the charging stations may be part of that,” Still said. “I mean, there is a gas station on every single corner. There’s not a charging station on every single corner.”

Pike Research, which provides analysis of global clean technology markets, found that fundamental interest in plug-in vehicles declined among survey participants between 2010 and 2012.

In 2012, only 35 percent of respondents said they would be extremely or very interested in purchasing a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle or battery electric vehicle with a range of 40 to 100 miles and an electricity cost equivalent to $0.75 per gallon. In 2011, 40 percent stated they were extremely interested or very interested in this type of vehicle, which was down slightly from 44 percent in 2010.

Pike projects by the end of the year nearly 400,000 plug-in electric vehicles will be driving on roads worldwide.

It also predicts worldwide sales of electric vehicle to reach 3.8 million annually by 2020.

“Sales of EVs have not lived up to automakers’ expectations and politicians’ proclamations, but the market is expanding steadily as fuel prices remain high and consumers increasingly seek alternatives to internal combustion engines,” a Pike researcher reports.

Daniel McDuff, deputy director of the Cobb Department of Transportation, said his department thought the charging stations were a good fit for the county’s park-and-ride lots.

“This would be a tool we could use to determine the future needs at other park-and-ride locations throughout the county,” he said.

He said another benefit is that it provides support for alternative fuel vehicles that use the county’s park-and-ride lots at no charge to them.

“This could support more use of transit for these customers,” he said.

The charging stations will be installed at the Marietta park-and-ride lot off South Marietta Parkway and at the Busbee park-and-ride lot near Kennesaw State University’s soccer stadium.

Four charging stations will be installed at each location. They will likely be the kind that stand alone with one charging socket similar to the one at the Walgreens by the Marietta Square. At the end of the year, the county can arrange to maintain the stations or remove them, McDuff said.

“We will make that decision as we near that time based on use and demand for this resource,” he said.

McDuff said a plus to having the charging stations at the park-and-ride lots is that it allows CCT riders to charge their electric vehicles while they’re riding CCT to their destinations.

“This can amount to a significant charge because of the time away from their vehicle,” he said.

By contrast, charging stations located at grocery stores or other locations in the county will only give drivers a minimum charge because they don’t park them there for an extended period of time, he said.

Stephanie Cox, an area manager with ECOtality, said the plan for Georgia is to install more than 300 charging stations mostly in the 70-mile radius of the city of Atlanta by this summer.

Nationwide the company has already installed more than 9,000, she said.

“The community itself has really embraced this project. From the Buckhead Coalition to Livable Buckhead, Midtown Alliance, this has really been a community-led effort to embrace the EV project and demonstrate that Atlanta can absorb this innovative technology,” Cox said.

All but a handful of the charging stations will be Level 2 stations, which use a connector that is the American standard for charging stations, she said.

“Level 2 stations we’re seeing usage averaging about an hour, hour and a half,” Cox said. “People typically charge their Level 2 chargers where they normally are already going during the course of their day.”

County spokesman Robert Quigley said while the county may at some point buy some electric vehicles, it does not have any in its current fleet and has no immediate plans to order any.
Comments
(17)
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Watcher...
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January 30, 2013
Something to ponder...

"The Michigan-based Mackinac Center for Public Policy figures that each Chevy Volt gets a total of $250,000 in state and federal incentives."

Source: Investor's Business Daily

U.S. Taxpayers can not afford Electric Cars!
JR in Mableton
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January 30, 2013
I love to see the "subsidy" word loosely thrown around. How about the "bureaucrats" remove all the subsidies for oil and allow electric and natural gas vehicles to compete on a level playing field?

Oil is the most heavily subsidized commodity in the US.....you will be begging for an electric or CNG car when the Iranians shut down the Strait of Hormuz. I guess you prefer to enrich dictators who want to kill you. I support domestic energy....oil, electric, and gas.

Wasn't the GOP recently talking about how to be energy independent?......subsidize domestic oil?

Build more nuclear reactors.....sell more electric cars at 1/10 the price for fuel.

Even people in Mableton can understand that.
consumerX
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January 30, 2013
As someone who has a long commute to Atlanta - it's a great beginning. ECOtality's plan to install more than 300 charging stations in the city of Atlanta will help mitigate the anxiety that most feel with the ranges they can drive with EV’s. Good start, but a lot more needs to be done. As more EV’s are on the road and draw power, we need to make sure that the whole electrical system (including pricing policy) is updated to meet our demands on the system.
Watcher...
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January 30, 2013
The "anxiety" that you suffer is of your own choosing.

It sounds like you expect some type of subsidy for the electrical costs for your vehicle.
Kyle Sager`
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January 30, 2013
This article seemed terribly misleading to me on sales. It focuses on Pike Research...a single research company's spin of the future, rather than on actual sales. Plug-in vehicles tripled between 2011 and 2012 from around 17,000 to over 50,000 in the U.S. This article doesn't seem interested in actual sales. Also, the European Union, with a population nearly double the United States, has explicit policy plans to deploy over 500,000 charging stations by 2020 making charging stations more ubiquitous than gas stations. Since charging stations always cost a tiny fraction of gasoline filling stations to deploy. And since the electricity costs around 1/3 mile-per-mile of gasoline, it makes sense to explore the technology.
Sales_Stall?
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January 30, 2013
Dec 2012 Forbes magazine article...

Electric car sales reached a record in November for the fourth consecutive month as new models like the Ford C-Max Energi plug-in electric hybrid helped juice buyer interest.

According to analyst Aaron Chew of the Maxim Group, dealers sold 7,600 electric cars in November, bringing total sales for 2012 to 47,500 to date. Chew expects the year to end with sales of 56,000 electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles.

False premise again
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January 30, 2013
You are correct, electric car sales tripled in 2012 from 2011. so the statement that "some reports indicate consumer interest in electric vehicles has declined" is bogus. A quick search on google would have shown that Mr Gillooly. So the premise of your story is not true. One wonders what your agenda is if not the put down of Cobb government again and again.

ohdear1
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January 30, 2013
When will Cobb County build a refueling station for my gas driven car?
Kyle Sager
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January 30, 2013
When it costs $3,000 to deploy the station instead of $1 million.
Iran Man
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January 30, 2013
How many more wars do you want to fight to feed your addiction to oil? How many more soldiers do you want to kill to keep the oil flowing?

Have you ever wondered why we only fight in the Middle East? We don't go to Africa (unless it is Nigeria for oil), and we don't go to Asia.

Your refueling stations have already been paid for.
Watcher...
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January 30, 2013
Daniel McDuff, deputy director of the Cobb Department of Transportation, said: "another benefit is that it provides support for alternative fuel vehicles that use the county’s park-and-ride lots at no charge to them."

Don't you just love Cobb Bureaucrats when they say "no charge." Who will pay the Power bill? Three guesses, and the first two don't count.

JR in Mableton
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January 30, 2013
How much does Cobb County spend annually to resurface your roads?

How much do you pay in taxes to use those roads? Do you even know what taxes cover your road usage?

Don't talk about "who pays the bill"? You are making out like a bandit on the road system in Cobb County. The county "bureaucrats" have successfully delivered $2 Billion in road projects over the last 20 years. How much have you paid?

BTW, how much would it cost to "pay the bill" to charge an electric vehicle?
VFP42
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January 30, 2013
The big problem around here with plug-in electric cars is that Georgia Power becomes your OPEC.

You think electricity prices won't triple once "electric cars are causing demand to exceed our supply of electricty due to, um, 'the drought, so we have to tripe rates for anybody using more electricity than one light bulb per month since they clearly are not conserving."

In my opinion, Georgia Power is far worse than OPEC. Georgia Power destroys OUR environmnet while enriching themselves and expanding the Southern Company all over the world. They get nearly-free gasoline in Kuwait, right? Or is it that Kuwaitis are paid for living there? So why aren't we getting free power here in "the land of the free?"

We were required to pay for monopoly electricity provider Georgia Power's Southern Company to expand all over the world. Why are we not being paid back with free power by now? Doesn't the Dahlberg network have enough gold coins in their pockets to spare some pennies for the people who made them so rich beyond any of our wildest lottery winning dreams?

I will NEVER use a plug-in electric car in Georgia as long as Georgia Power owns this place. Nor should you, unless you want to pay $1500 a month in the summer for the electricity for running your air conditioner.
Betsey Ross
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January 30, 2013
And just who DOES pay for this electricity? The City? County? (i.e. taxpayers?) or do you put money into the charging station?

VFP42 is entirely correct here. We are simply exchanging one source of energy for another, and the other is entirely as bad as the first, if you are truly looking at the comparisons. But the libs are not, they are just looking to own the environmental issue while filling the pockets of their own "GREEN" cronies. Just look at Gore...in bed with NOT Big Oil but Arab cartels.
Kyle Sager
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January 30, 2013
In 2008, Exxon began a shift to 50/50 natural gas. Natural gas is currently losing money for all producers due to a fracking frenzy (modern gold-rush) and must eventually rise. Arguably, Exxon's move was likely motivated to make sure no matter where energy comes from they supply it, sense in the U.S. the biggest demand for natural gas is electric utilities and transportation is a tiny sliver. Electricity however, is becoming affordable enough to be powered by the sun in Georgia. Georgians still do not know this because the state legislature has protected Georgia Power in maintaining barriers that enable homes and businesses to access creative financing for solar. That will inevitably change.

Meanwhile, there are over 40 EMCs in Georgia and many Georgians, whether under Georgia Power or not, still get their power ultimately from hydroelectric facilities. Most importantly, even if the power comes from a coal plant, EV's are cleaner than gasoline because when it comes to emissions, gasoline still produces nearly 3 times the emissions of coal-generated electricity, mile for mile.
Tough Decision
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January 30, 2013
Houston we have a problem - The most popular EV cars are around 30,000 (Toyota's Prius and Honda's Accord).

Conclusion - People who purchase 30,000 cars do not go to Park and Ride lots. Stop by any of these lots and you will see.
Are you sure?
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January 30, 2013
Have you driven by the Busbee Park and Ride Lot lately?? Obviously not.
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