Southern Company is actively involved in R&D for both on-road and non-road electric and alternative fuel transportation, and we work closely with partners to bring clean transportation investment to our regions.
We work with national research organizations, vehicle manufacturers, charging companies, universities and other utilities to produce and test the next generation of electric vehicles. We are testing Smart Charging strategies to maximize the number of vehicles that can be charged with our current energy capacities. We are also working with university labs to test new technologies that may maximize range from battery packs and wireless charging equipment that can charge vehicles with no cord and, one day, potentially charge your EV while you drive.
Our natural gas subsidiaries have also been actively working to reduce vehicle emissions. In the 1970s, Atlanta Gas Light (AGL) began converting its own fleet to run on clean-burning compressed natural gas (CNG). Later in the 1990s, AGL started a program to build stations for our customers, including the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA), which began purchasing buses that run on CNG. MARTA now has three CNG stations and about 370 CNG buses — saving millions in fuel costs, displacing millions of gallons of diesel each year and reducing emissions by millions of pounds of pollutants. Since 2012, AGL has built $30 million worth of public and private CNG fueling stations for customers in Georgia.
On the non-road side, we work closely with customers to implement electric transportation solutions within their companies and to evaluate the cost savings related to those technologies. We are currently testing a prototype battery unit on trucks within our fleet. This unit is designed to power trucks at customer sites with electricity stored in a battery instead of running truck engines. This will reduce fleet emissions, reduce noise at work sites and save money on vehicle maintenance.
Southern Company has also been deeply engaged in bringing clean energy transportation businesses to our service territories. For example, Georgia Power continues to support the State of Georgia in proactive efforts to attract multibillion-dollar companies involved in the production, recycling, and development of the auto manufacturing industry and EV supply chain.
SK Innovations, a Korean-based manufacturer of electric vehicle batteries, is locating a $2.6 billion facility in Georgia that is expected to employ thousands and produce enough batteries for 200,000 electric vehicles annually.
In December 2021, Rivian, an electric sport utility vehicle and pickup company, announced plans to construct a plant for vehicle and battery operations in Georgia. The project is expected to bring 7,500 jobs and a $5 billion investment to the state.
Georgia Power recently partnered with the University of Georgia’s College of Engineering to create an e-Mobility Certificate program. With elements of engineering, public policy, public health and business acumen, this new program will prepare Georgia’s workforce for an electrified transportation future. The company is also working closely with design students at Georgia Tech to evaluate the environmental benefits and future workforce opportunities of transportation electrification.
To read more about our efforts related to electric vehicles, visit our Innovation page, and to learn more about our CNG efforts visit Southern Company Gas’ Sustainability site.