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Frequently Asked

How involved in electric transportation is Georgia Power?

Georgia Power is finding ways to help customers who purchase electric vehicles. We're implementing lower rates for off-peak usage so that customers have the opportunity to save on their charging costs.

We are working with major vehicle manufacturers and the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) to bring economically and technologically viable on-road electric transportation technologies to the marketplace, enhance the speed of adoption and understand the impacts of vehicle charging on our nation's electricity grid.

Georgia Power is also helping to develop industry standards for multiple levels of charging.

Georgia Power is studying the impact of electric transportation on grid reliability, including vehicle-to-home (V2H) and vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technologies.

The company is also evaluating plug-in electric vehicles — both hybrid and total electric — and charging technologies for use in its own operations. The benefits of plug-in electric bucket trucks and light-duty pick-up trucks, which we are currently testing, include reduced emissions and noise, cost savings (diesel vs. electricity) and maintenance cost reductions. We expect that we'll see increased customer satisfaction as a result of these benefits.

What are the benefits of electric transportation?

Electric vehicles and equipment are quiet, clean and efficient and offer users the opportunity to save money on fuel and maintenance costs, reduce their environmental impact and contribute to the energy independence of the U.S. by using a domestically produced source of energy.

How can electric vehicle users reduce their environmental impact when so much of our electricity is produced with coal?

Gasoline or diesel engines deteriorate over time, leading to higher emissions with the age of the vehicle, whereas electric vehicles will potentially get cleaner over time as the generation of electricity gets cleaner.

Georgia Power continues to lower its emissions by installing environmental controls on its existing coal units and adding new, cleaner sources of generation to its already diverse supply. We're building new nuclear generation, which emits no carbon dioxide or greenhouse gases. We've also replaced two coal units at Plant McDonough with three new combined-cycle natural gas units. We continue to invest billions of dollars to produce cleaner electricity.

How will consumers save money by driving an electric vehicle?

Electric vehicle owners can expect to see an increase in their electricity use. However, because gasoline and diesel prices outweigh that of electricity, they will still save money using electricity to power their vehicles. It's estimated that electric vehicle owners who charge their vehicles during Georgia Power's super-off-peak period will see the cost equivalent of paying approximately 55 cents/gallon for gasoline, compared with more than $3.50/gallon for a gasoline- or diesel-powered vehicle.

Georgia Power has also helped many of its commercial and industrial customers save thousands of dollars annually on fuel costs by using electric vehicles and equipment to move materials. With today's fast charging systems, the availability and productivity of electric materials-handling vehicles and equipment have increased, also contributing to cost savings and operational efficiencies.

Does Georgia Power offer a special rate for electric vehicle owners?

Yes. Georgia Power offers a time-of-use rate for residential customers who own plug-in vehicles. Customers who sign up for this rate for 12 months and charge their vehicles during super-off-peak hours between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. will receive the lowest-cost option for charging their vehicle. In addition, Georgia Power offers a (three-part) time-of-use fuel rate that can enhance savings.

How much will my monthly electric bill increase on this new rate?

The increase varies depending on the type of electric vehicle as well as the amount the vehicle is driven. In addition, electricity usage and the time of day you charge your vehicle will also affect the price. However, compared with gasoline, you will see savings of greater than 70 percent on fuel costs.

What happens if I want to switch from the plug-in rate to a different rate?

You will need to call Georgia Power and request to be placed on another rate.

Why does Georgia Power believe electric vehicles will be successful?

Auto manufacturers are much more supportive of the technology today because of heightened consumer interest, environmental mandates for automobiles and federal funding and tax incentives to produce electric vehicles. In addition, technology has improved greatly since the EVs of the 90s.

Today's consumers are looking for vehicles that are more efficient and cost-effective to drive; plus, state and federal incentives make purchasing an electric vehicle attractive to consumers.

Variety is a key factor. With all the different makes and models of electric and hybrid vehicles on the market — ranging in size, price and options — the electric vehicle-buying experience is expected to be similar to the traditional car-buying experience.

Another great feature of today's electric vehicle is the ability to charge the vehicle on a standard 120-volt outlet, which every home has. Consumers will have the option of purchasing higher-powered chargers for quicker charges. There will also be chargers available at some commercial locations for 10- to 20-minute charges.

Officials in heavily populated areas are also interested in the success of the technology today. Many of these areas, including Atlanta and Birmingham, are considered non-attainment zones by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Moving from traditional fuels to electricity would help these areas meet air quality standards.

Clean Cities Atlanta received a DOE PEV-readiness grant to address the issues surrounding the deployment of electric vehicles in Atlanta. Partnering with Georgia Power, Plug-in Georgia, the city of Atlanta, the state of Georgia and a coalition of stakeholders, the task force is working on infrastructure planning and education. So there are many more interest groups supporting electric vehicle technology today. We also believe the technology has caught up with consumer expectations and that many consumers will now be able to purchase a product they'll be happy with.

How does Georgia Power address the consumer issue of "range anxiety"?

Georgia Power is working with the EV Project on studying the infrastructure needs of EV drivers. This study will help in infrastructure planning that will mitigate drivers' range anxiety. Also, educating consumers on vehicle telematics and software that locates chargers will help alleviate range anxiety.

Tell us about the different electric vehicle technologies available to consumers.

Electric vehicles come in many forms, but all have batteries and need to be plugged in to recharge. The typical types that consumers will have to consider are the battery electric vehicle, or BEV, which is a total-electric vehicle; the plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, or PHEV; and the extended-range electric vehicle, or EREV. The PHEV and the EREV use a combination of battery (for all-electric range) and internal combustion engine (for extended range).

There's also the LSV, low-speed vehicle, and the NEV, neighborhood electric vehicle. These total-electric vehicles are street legal in 35 mph speed zones.

How much will it cost to equip a home to accommodate an electric vehicle?

It can cost as little as zero. Today's electric vehicles are capable of being charged from a standard 120-volt circuit, which every home has. So a buyer can purchase a car, drive it home and charge it in a typical home outlet. However, Georgia Power recommends using a dedicated 120-volt outlet to avoid overloading the circuit. For those who would like to charge their cars faster, there are higher-powered chargers available. However, because of the higher voltage, a permit may be required for the home installation of some of the faster chargers.

Are there any rebates or incentives for purchasing an electric vehicle?

Georgia Power offers a time-of-use plug-in electric vehicle rate to help PEV owners save money. Also, the state offers income tax credits up to 20 percent of the cost of a battery electric vehicle, with a maximum of $5,000, and the federal government offers income tax credits of $7,500 for a battery electric vehicle and for a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle. An income tax credit is also available to any eligible business for the purchase or lease of an electric vehicle charger located in the state. The amount of the credit is 10 percent of the cost of the charger, or $2,500, whichever is less. Drivers of electric vehicles are also permitted to use interstate HOV lanes and HOT lanes with single occupancy. The EV Project offers free chargers and installation credits for residential and commercial customers.

Which auto manufacturers is Georgia Power working with?

Georgia Power continues to work with all the major auto manufacturers to understand the use of electricity as a transportation fuel and its impact on the grid. Our responsibility is to our customers and making sure that we are prepared to meet their energy needs.

Why would Georgia Power invest time and money in the research of electric transportation?

It is our responsibility to supply our customers with reliable electricity at the lowest prices possible. Staying abreast of the latest technological advancements is essential to our success, and Georgia Power is at the forefront of the research and development of new technologies and clean energy solutions to meet our customers' future energy needs.

If electric transportation is so cost-effective and clean, why doesn't Georgia Power use all-ET in its operations?

Georgia Power is in the process of evaluating various types of electric vehicles and charging technologies for use in its own operations. The benefits of plug-in electric bucket trucks and light-duty pickup trucks include reduced emissions and noise, and cost savings. There are also a lot of non-road applications we feel will be beneficial to our operations. So we continue to gather data and identify areas of our company that would benefit from the use of plug-in electric vehicles.

When will consumers see the charging infrastructure needed to support electric vehicles?

Infrastructure is already beginning to appear in Georgia. However, extensive infrastructure to support the vehicles may be deployed at the pace of vehicle sales. The industry believes the majority of vehicle charging will take place overnight at vehicle owners' homes. Overnight charging will be less costly and more efficient for everyone.

Will Georgia Power be deploying charging infrastructure at business locations?

Georgia Power and the EV Project are working with multiple vendors to help establish a charging network within the metro Atlanta area. Georgia Power is working with downtown employers to educate them about EV-charging infrastructure and to develop charging best practices.

Will having so many plug-in electric vehicles on the power grid affect reliability?

Georgia Power has ample generation capacity and believes electric vehicles will not impact electricity reliability. Unlike many other large electrical appliances that need to operate continuously, electric vehicles can be charged during nighttime hours, when demand is low and Georgia Power has excess capacity.

Does Georgia Power believe the high cost of replacing a battery in an electric vehicle will hinder sales?

Most electric vehicle owners will never replace the battery. Auto manufacturers are offering warranties of up to 100,000 miles, which is a sign of their confidence in the battery reliability. And with increased demand, the price of these batteries continues to decline.

Since electric vehicles are so quiet, could they be dangerous to pedestrians, bikers and the visually impaired and hearing-impaired?

This issue is being addressed by legislators and automakers.

What happens to the old batteries?

Batteries used in electric vehicles are recyclable and will have many useful lives. There are a number of industries looking into second-life businesses for them.

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