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The future of electric cars in Coweta

Clay Neely / The Newnan Times-Herald

Newnan currently has 16 EV charging stations, 13 of which are free. Drivers will find EV charging stations at City Hall, in Carl Miller Park and at Target off Bullsboro Drive, which can be seen here.

By Lindsay Marchello

The demand for electric vehicles is growing across Georgia. In 2018, 6,000 electric vehicles were sold, an increase of 147 percent over the previous year.

So far, most of the charging stations are in dense urban areas, such as Atlanta, where hundreds of stations are on the streets. But charging stations for electric vehicles are also appearing in rural areas like Coweta County.

Newnan currently has 16 EV charging stations, 13 of which are free. Drivers will find EV charging stations at City Hall, in Carl Miller Park and at the Target on Bullsboro Drive.

Other cities in Coweta County don’t have EV charging stations yet.

Most charging stations are located near major highways, highways or in urban areas, the Center for Rural Affairs said in a 2019 report.

“The lack of charging stations in many rural areas is limiting the viability of electric vehicles, either for people living in rural communities or for tourists who want to visit them,” the CFRA said.

All plans to expand charging infrastructure must include rural areas, the center said.

Georgia is banking on an electric future.

“With the support of innovative innovations from our universities, a highly skilled workforce and our relational approach to economic development, Georgia is committed to strengthening its position as a leader in the EV market,” a state news release on Jan. 7 said.

Several international companies such as SK Innovations, TEKLAS and GEDIA Automotive Group have partnered with the Georgian Ministry of Economic Development to invest in the production of electric vehicles in Georgia.

Georgia companies and universities are researching a variety of projects, the state press release said. Projects include improving range, increasing charging speed, improving connectivity systems, improving AI, and adding nanotech materials to production.

Coweta County is trying to strengthen electric vehicle ownership.

Coweta-Fayette EMC offers one such example with its plug-in electric vehicle (EV) program for a year without a drive. Qualifying members who rent or purchase a new plug-in 100% EV on or after April 22, 2019 can receive a monthly credit on their electricity bill to cover the cost of charging the EV for one year.

“EV technologies have improved since they first entered the market,” said Coweta-Fayette’s EMC website.

Today’s EVs offer longer ranges, extended warranties, and can use charging points located along major roads, workplaces, shopping, and entertainment venues, as Coweta-Fayette EMC explains on their website.

Several automakers have promised to produce electric versions of classic models.

General Motors plans to become a pure electric vehicle company by 2035. This summer, GM plans to release two Chevrolet Bolt models starting at $ 34,000. Later that year, GM will release an electric version of their iconic Hummer worth $ 113,000.

According to a story from Business Insider, Volkswagen plans to build 28 million electric vehicles by 2028. The Volkswagen Group is investing almost $ 37 in its electric car program.

If the private sector and the US government get serious about electric vehicles, the Yale School of Environment predicts that the majority of new automobiles sold in the US will be electric in the next two decades.

The challenges remain.

A more extensive nationwide network of charging stations and upgraded EV batteries is needed before EVs become more widespread, the Yale article said.

As Yale points out, build it and they will come.

Coweta County is poised to become a home for battery manufacturers too.

Coweta was a finalist for several potential battery manufacturers, according to Trae Westmoreland of the Coweta County Development Authority.

“We’re getting more and more looks from the industry and we have the attributes that match the model for what they’re trying to do,” Westmoreland said.

LG Batteries was the last company to get serious about Coweta County but is likely to move to Tennessee as General Motors plans to take advantage of a state-provided incentive package.

Westmoreland has high hopes that the community will land a future project.

“We have good locations, workers and skills. Our employees on site and well positioned. We are in a good place and although the German apprenticeship model, we are a hub for advanced manufacturing, ”said Westmoreland. “If someone says they need 400 acres within driving distance of Atlanta and the airport, we’re really the only game in town right now.”

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