State Politics

Georgia’s electric vehicle industry vision predates Biden’s order

(The Center Square) – Georgia officials say the state is geared up for the accelerated timeline to boost electric vehicle sales recently ordered by President Joe Biden.

Georgia has seen growth in the electric vehicle manufacturing sector with global leaders setting up facilities in the state. Officials said the growth of the industry is so fast, it is hard to keep track of its ongoing economic benefits in the state.

“We do not have an impact number available yet that would take into account additional value these businesses bring to their communities and the state,” Georgia Department of Economic Development Director of Communications Marie Hodge Gordon said.

Business consulting firm Frost & Sullivan projected the U.S. passenger electric vehicle market will reach nearly 7 million unit sales annually by 2025, up from 1.4 million in 2020.

Biden signed an executive order Aug. 5 that calls for half of all new vehicles sold in 2030 to be zero-emissions vehicles. The order is paired with funding and is aimed at making the U.S. leaders in the electric vehicle industry. Georgia could get $135 million over five years to support the expansion of an electric vehicle charging network under the $1.2 trillion federal infrastructure plan approved by the U.S. Senate on Aug. 10. The state also would have the opportunity to apply for the $2.5 billion in grants for electric vehicle charging.

The White House said the U.S. is behind in manufacturing electric vehicles and electric batteries. The U.S. market share of electric vehicle sales is only one-third that of the Chinese electric vehicle market, White House officials said.

Biden’s order calls for investments in a national network of electric vehicle charging stations, point-of-sale consumer incentives, the expansion of the full domestic manufacturing supply chain and technology. It directs agencies to consult with secretaries of commerce, labor and energy on ways to fast-track and strengthen the industry and get input from industry stakeholders and states leading in reducing vehicle emissions. 

Georgia had experienced significant interest from the electric vehicle industry before Biden’s executive order.

Gov. Brian Kemp announced last month the launch of the Electric Mobility and Innovation Alliance. The statewide collaborative between the private and public sector is aimed at developing the industry and keeping Georgia “a national leader in the electric mobility industry,” Kemp said.

Korean electric vehicle battery manufacturing company SK Innovation is expanding its facilities in Jackson County. SK Innovation’s initial project and the company’s expansion account for nearly $2.6 billion in investment into Georgia. Based on Georgia’s economic development project data, between July 1, 2020, through Aug. 16, the state has acquired $287.7 million in investment through a number of electric vehicle projects.

Dutch e-mobility charging systems company Heliox, Turkish electric vehicle parts manufacturer TEKLAS, German automotive body parts manufacturer GEDIA and Korean battery chemical battery manufacturing company EnChem all have selected the state for new sites in recent months.

Atlanta-based Heliox announced a partnership this month with Fermata Energy that will accelerate how electric vehicle operators can use the vehicles to provide energy management services and lower energy costs. The economic benefits of the partnership are yet to be determined. 

 State officials said the new facilities will create thousand of jobs in Georgia.

“Daily, we are hearing about automakers setting increasingly aggressive goals in the race to develop zero emission vehicles. This includes major new investments that are resulting in significant job creation opportunities,” Georgia Department of Economic Development Commissioner Pat Wilson said. “With a growing consumer base and a central location within the thriving Southeast Automotive Corridor, the state of Georgia is already the ideal place for automotive suppliers.”

By Nyamekye Daniel | The Center Square

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