A broad coalition of organizations from the business, education, government and non-profit sectors today announced the launch of the Southeast Electric Transportation Regional Initiative (SETRI).
The initiative is designed to address one of the region’s most pressing needs towards realizing the benefits of electric transportation, namely greater coordination and collaboration among key stakeholders. It will also tackle 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, job growth, enhanced energy security, and environmental sustainability.
“SETRI’s ability to convene and partner with experts around a common table is one of the most promising aspects of the coalition,” said Rich Simmons, principal research engineer and director at Georgia Tech’s Energy Policy Innovation Center (EPICenter), and part of the steering committee that conceived 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.”
The Southeast is not only emerging as a hub for EV manufacturing investment and job creation; it’s well positioned to accelerate EV deployment across a diverse set of applications, including fleets. 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, busses, and medium and heavy-duty trucks.
“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.”
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.
Nearly 60 public and private organizations 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.
“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.