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Lineup of available EV's at the Southeast Policy Forum.Innovative policies and technologies were on center stage during the “Future of Electric Transportation: Southeast Policy Forum” at Georgia Tech on Thursday, January 16, 2020. Experts in electric vehicles (EV) from all over the Southeast focused their discussions around the trends in EV, barriers for EV adoption, enabling innovations, and approaches to make EVs more accessible for all customers.

The five panel discussions included a consortium of executives including Atlanta-based UPS, Cox Automotive, and Mercedes Benz, as well as energy advocates, regulators and elected officials from many states in the southeast.

Georgia Tech’s Strategic Energy Institute (SEI) Director Tim Lieuwen also made a major announcement at the opening of the forum.  SEI and its Energy, Policy, and Innovation Center (EPICenter) awarded $500k of direct support to Georgia Tech researchers and their partners to further research for transportation electrification. The awards focus on four critical topic areas including: reuse of EV batteries, EV mobility systems that consider environmental and grid impacts, smart-charging technologies that can optimize renewables for transport, and tools to improve evacuations of urban areas with heavily electrified transportation. The projects involve partnerships with a number of organizations, including UPS, MARTA, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Georgia Power, the Atlanta Regional Commission, the U.S. Advanced Battery Consortium, and others.

“This is an exciting time for Georgia Tech and the future of transportation electrification,” said Tim Lieuwen, Director of SEI. “We are on the cusp of major innovation for electric vehicles and we are proud to be collaborating with our Southeastern partners and top organizations in the EV market to make this a reality for everyone.”

The Southeast Forum included multifaceted discussions around market and policy trends for EVs, and the heightened collaboration required for EVs to be accessible and affordable for every customer, while contributing favorably to economic development and environmental impacts.  Most panelists agreed that there is no silver-bullet policy or approach that will nucleate rapid adoption, but instead numerous policies, innovations, and support measures that will spur EV growth and associated benefits.  The event concluded with the charge to stakeholders to consider a regional plan of action, and a roundtable to discuss key participants and activities that can accelerate progress in the EV ecosystem of the Southeast.

“Electricity is the fuel of the future,” said Phil Jones, Executive Director of Alliance for Transportation Electrification, while moderating the third panel on scaling up and key activities in used vehicle markets, transit busses and pickup trucks.  Indeed, Georgia Tech and their partners believe this is just the beginning of policy dialogues that will have a significant impact on the EV market and the potentially game-changing fuel of the future.