For The Record

Georgia’s shift to electric vehicles charging forward with $20M boost

By: - February 10, 2022 5:22 pm

The $20 million for this budget year is the first installment of the $135 million the state is set to receive over the next five years. Jill Nolin/Georgia Recorder

Georgia will receive $20 million in federal funding this year to go toward building out the state’s public charging infrastructure for electric vehicles and providing more charging options for people as they travel.

The federal aid was packed into the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package that was signed into law in November. All said, $5 billion will go toward electric charging nationwide. U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said Thursday the funding will help America “win the EV race.”

The $20 million for Georgia in this budget year is the first installment of the $135 million the state is set to receive over the next five years.

“As more and more Americans make the switch to electric vehicles, it is critical we ensure our communities have the infrastructure to support these drivers,” Congresswoman Carolyn Bourdeaux, a Suwanee Democrat, said in a statement. “This funding will help expand access to EV charging stations and ensure everyone can get where they need to go, all while reducing automobile related emissions.”

For now, electric vehicles only represent a small fraction – about 1% – of new vehicle registrations in Georgia. But advocates say the lack of available charging is a major barrier to more people switching to electric.

“Building a statewide and national network of EV charging stations is just what Georgia needs to make the transition to electric vehicles. It gives Georgians the right infrastructure to reduce air pollution and tackle the climate crisis by switching to zero-emission vehicles,” said Jennette Gayer, state director of the advocacy group Environment Georgia.

Georgia will need another 1,644 fast chargers – the kind needed for longer distance travel – and 23,235 of the slower Level 2 chargers by 2030, according to Environment Georgia’s estimate. The group predicts that at least 10% of the state’s vehicles will be electric by then.

It was not clear Thursday how many charging stations the first round of funding would cover in Georgia or where they would be installed. The funding will be dispatched through the state Department of Transportation. States must submit a deployment plan before they can access the funds.

“This is an investment in good-paying jobs right here in Georgia, sustainable infrastructure for our children’s future, and more resources that will make it cleaner, quicker, and safer to travel across our state,” Georgia Congresswoman Lucy McBath, a Marietta Democrat, said in a statement. 

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Jill Nolin
Jill Nolin

Jill Nolin has spent nearly 15 years reporting on state and local government in four states, focusing on policy and political stories and tracking public spending. She has spent the last five years chasing stories in the halls of Georgia’s Gold Dome, earning recognition for her work showing the impact of rising opioid addiction on the state’s rural communities. She is a graduate of Troy University.