Smart Columbus exceeds goal for increasing electric vehicle adoption


    Smart Columbus is leading the way in the region for getting electric vehicles on the road, achieving in three years what's taken larger cities more than a decade. (WSYX/WTTE)

    Smart Columbus says one of their original goals was to increase electric vehicle adoption from 0.37% in 2015 to 1.8% in 2020, an increase of nearly five times. The organization says they’ve not only achieved that goal, but have surpassed it, with 2% of 2018 vehicle sales in Columbus coming from electric vehicles (EVs).

    “This is historically very bold for a community to do in a three-year period and we set that vision so that we could be a leader,” says Jordan Davis with Smart Columbus.

    Smart Columbus is leading the way in the region for getting electric vehicles on the road, achieving in three years what's taken larger cities more than a decade. "People are ready and want electric vehicles to buy, our hypothesis was right," adds Davis. "Our goals might have been a little low but we are ready to keep that goal line moving ahead."

    A big part in reaching that goal and keeping it going this year, is partnering with local dealerships to educate sales team on how to talk to people about electric vehicles, and by keeping the car lots stocked with a regular supply of EV’s, like the Chevy Bolt, that costs about 30 dollars per month to charge.

    "Fully charged in optimal conditions, it's going to get you 238 miles of range. Under good conditions you can get more than that. In colder weather like with any battery the capacity is lower," says David Gill Chevrolet sales manager Matt Ringlien.

    Ringlien says people are going electric to reduce their carbon footprints, eliminate maintenance costs, and ditch the gas stations for good. Because electric vehicles have 1/100th of the moving parts of an internal combustion vehicle, they’re far less likely to break down. Additionally, EF drivers save about 36% on car ownership costs over five years, compared to traditional vehicles.

    "It's unbelievable, the people who buy these cars- they absolutely adore them," he said.

    10% of the sales at David Gill Chevrolet in 2018 were electric vehicles, more than any other Chevrolet dealership in the state. As newer, affordable models for all types of lifestyles enter the market, the dealership expects those numbers to climb even higher. "This market is hungry for these kinds of vehicles- no doubt," says Ringlien.

    Smart Columbus says the future of the auto industry is electric. Jaguar and Volvo have already announced they’ll be producing only electric vehicles starting in 2020.

    Jaguar and Land Rover have both pledged to go all-electric by 2020. (Courtesy: Smart Columbus)

    Audi, BMW, and Daimler are expected to go all-electric by 2025 with Honda following in 2030. That’s why Smart Columbus wants drivers and dealerships to continue setting trends. "It's our opportunity to lead in this space and to get ahead of it and proactively the implications of an all-electric transportation system,” adds Davis.

    A federal tax credit of up to $7,500 is available for new, fully-electric vehicles, depending on the brand of vehicle. The full tax credit continues until an auto manufacturer delivers 200,000 units. Chevrolet reached that number at the end of 2018, so the tax credit for Chevrolet vehicles will drop to half the full amount starting April 1.

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