September 22, 2021

Broad Coalition Forms Southeast Electric Transportation Regional Initiative (SETRI) to Accelerate EV Market Expansion

Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions

ATLANTA, Sept. 22, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — A broad coalition of organizations from the business, education, government, and non-profit sectors has launched the Southeast Electric Transportation Regional Initiative (SETRI). SETRI has been designed to address one of the region's most pressing needs toward realizing the benefits of electric transportation, namely greater coordination and collaboration among key stakeholders.

SETRI aims to address regional market challenges such as electric vehicle (EV) charging and infrastructure gaps, accessibility, EV model availability and cost, policy guidance, and consumer awareness while unlocking untapped opportunities for economic development, jobs growth, enhanced energy security, and reduced environmental impacts opportunities.

"The Southeast has significant potential to realize the many economic, social, and environmental benefits of transportation electrification," said Tom Ashley, Vice President of Policy & Market Development at Greenlots, a member of the Shell Group. "Indeed, the region is already benefiting from good jobs manufacturing electric vehicles and supporting the electric vehicle supply chain. Greenlots is pleased to join SETRI's founding members to accelerate electrification in the region to ensure these benefits are fully realized. Together, we can enable an emission-free future in the Southeast."

Why The Southeast Is Poised To Lead Transportation Electrification

The Southeast is not only emerging as a hub for EV manufacturing investment and job creation, it is also well positioned to accelerate EV deployment across a diverse set of applications, including fleets. Transitioning to all electric transportation from gasoline- and diesel-powered vehicles has the potential to be an economic boon of up to $47 billion in the region.

The region accounts for 18% of the nation's population while capturing over 28% of America's EV manufacturing investment, and a significant share of direct and supply chain jobs across a range of EV markets, including light duty vehicles, buses, and medium and heavy duty trucks. Over one-quarter of the estimated $24 billion in committed investments by automakers and battery manufacturers are in the Southeast. As investment and employment continue to rise, new passenger EV models are entering the market.

However, the Southeast is lagging the nation in EV sales and charging station deployment, accounting for just 10% of national EV sales and 13% of EV chargers deployed. The region is also significantly underrepresented in utility and government funding for transportation electrification: the Southeast accounts for approximately 1% of utility investment and 4% of government funding nationwide.

Given the region's abundant, affordable, and increasingly clean electric power, and an expanding manufacturing supply chain for EVs, the Southeast has much to gain from transportation electrification including:

  • Continued job growth as manufacturing facilities are developed across the region,
  • Improved energy security and resilience,
  • Grid efficiency improvements and downward pressure on electric rates,
  • Lowered operational costs for the region's fleet operators,
  • Improved air quality and reduced CO2 emissions,
  • New mobility options and reduced energy burdens for low- and moderate-income populations.

SETRI Coalition's Support For EV Market Expansion

"SETRI's ability to convene and partner with experts around a common table is one of its most promising aspects," said Rich Simmons, Principal Research Engineer at Georgia Tech and part of the steering committee that conceived of SETRI. "We believe this is the first time that such a cross-cutting set of stakeholders have agreed to collaborate around major EV opportunities for the Southeast. While focused closely on regional gaps and opportunities, SETRI can also serve as an important model for other regions."

Indeed, over 60 public and private organizations, including Duke University's Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, are founding signatories to SETRI's Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) aimed at accelerating the benefits of electric transportation for the region. This coalition includes charging companies, utilities, automakers, public officials, city planners, non-profit organizations, and universities and other research institutions. The coalition will leverage the expertise and resources needed to help state leaders navigate the transition to electric mobility. To accelerate regional transportation electrification growth throughout the Southeast, SETRI intends to:

  • Promote regional EV market development,
  • Conduct education and outreach to consumers and decision-makers,
  • Coordinate state electrification efforts and university research, and
  • Collaborate with transportation electrification efforts outside the Southeast.

"As a Georgia-based manufacturer of EV school buses, Blue Bird is excited to be part of SETRI," said Trevor Rudderham, Blue Bird Senior Vice President, Electrification. "We look forward to collaborating with a diverse set of regional partners to help further EV adoption throughout the Southeast."

The SETRI coalition welcomes the participation of additional organizations in the Southeast electrification transportation ecosystem. Entities interested in signing the MOU can do so at any time, and participation in the coalition is not restricted to signatories.

Visit the SETRI website or email for more information or to sign up.