By the numbers: Atlanta second among cities for electric car sales

The city is right behind San Francisco, thanks likely to tax incentivies, cheap electricity, and solo HOV lane access
Illustration by Ryan Snook; photograph courtesy of Nissan

Atlanta and San Francisco rarely share top billing in any kind of ranking, but when it comes to electric car sales, the ATL is second only to the City by the Bay. San Franciscans may adopt the energy-saving cars thanks to do-gooding environmentalism (and California’s high gas prices), but Atlantans choose the vehicles for decidedly more pragmatic reasons: hefty tax incentives, cheap electricity, and—most alluring to many—permission to drive solo in the HOV lane.

#1 Atlanta’s rank for sales of the Nissan Leaf (pictured above)

$29,000 Base price of a 2015 Nissan Leaf

$28–$50 Estimated monthly cost of leasing a Leaf when tax credits and gas savings are factored in

Illustration by Ryan Snook, photograph by James Lipman
Illustration by Ryan Snook, photograph by James Lipman

$71,000 Base price of a Tesla. There is one dealer in Georgia: Tesla Marietta.

150 The number of electric cars that Georgia law allows a manufacturer to sell directly to consumers each year. In September, a car dealers group filed a complaint against Tesla with the Department of Revenue, claiming that the single Georgia dealer, Tesla Marietta, broke the law by selling 173 cars.

1.3¢ Georgia Power’s per-kilowatt-hour, off-peak charging rate for electric cars (the U.S. average is 12 cents)

2.15% Percentage of Atlanta-area drivers who use electric cars (the national rate is 0.4%)

2  Atlanta’s rank among cities for electric car sales

$5,000 Maximum tax credits available to Georgia electric car owners. This can be spread over five years—for leases or purchases.

Illustration of Ryan Snook, photograph courtesy of Prius
Illustration of Ryan Snook, photograph courtesy of Prius

The tax credits apply only to all-electric cars like the Leaf, rather than hybrids like the Ford Escape. And only drivers of all-electric cars can drive alone in HOV lanes; if a solitary Prius driver whizzes by you in the lane, you’re spotting a scofflaw.

This article originally appeared in our November 2014 issue.