Electric vehicle fast charging network coming to Tennessee

TVA and TDEC hope to support 200,000 EVs on the road by 2028 with level 2 charging stations every 50 miles along major roadways.

The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) and the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) announced Wednesday that they are partnering to develop a statewide electric vehicle fast charging network to power the growth of EVs across Tennessee and reduce barriers to transportation electrification.

TDEC and TVA signed an agreement to collaborate and fund a network of fast charging stations every 50 miles along Tennessee’s interstates and major highways. This initiative would add approximately 50 new charging locations, doubling the existing fast charging network. There are only 24 fast charging locations currently operating in Tennessee that are open to all consumers and support both charging standards common to EVs.

“This investment in electric vehicle charging infrastructure is a monumental step forward, and I’m proud that Tennessee is leading in this important effort,” Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee said. “With TVA’s partnership, we will be able to continue our work to protect our environment and improve our transportation infrastructure.”

“Innovative partnerships with state agencies like TDEC and our local power companies are essential in developing one of the nation’s most comprehensive EV fast charging networks, starting in Tennessee,” TVA President and CEO Jeff Lyash said.

A network of public fast charging stations will promote EV growth by giving drivers more confidence that they’ll have easy access to refueling while they’re away from home, eliminating so-called “range anxiety” that keeps many consumers from considering EVs a viable option.

TVA says EV adoption will spur jobs and economic investment in the region, keep refueling dollars in the local economy, reduce the region’s largest source of carbon emissions, and save drivers and fleets money.

TDEC and TVA will leverage various funding sources to support the development of the fast charging network with an anticipated project cost of $20 million. TDEC has committed 15 percent, the maximum allowable, of the State’s Volkswagen Diesel Settlement Environmental Mitigation allocation to fund light-duty EV charging infrastructure. Approximately $5 million from this fund is expected to be allocated to fast charging infrastructure along corridors. The remainder of the project will be funded by TVA, other program partners, and program participant cost share.

The agreement reflects recommendations outlined in the Tennessee Statewide EV Charging Infrastructure Needs Assessment, conducted in 2019 by Drive Electric Tennessee, a consortium that includes TDEC, TVA and the Tennessee Department of Transportation. The agreement will support Drive Electric Tennessee’s goal of 200,000 light-duty EVs in Tennessee by 2028.

As of December 2020, 11,034 light-duty EVs were registered in Tennessee.

TVA is working with a group of local power companies to design a charging station experience convenient for drivers, located close to major highways, and featuring access to amenities that drivers expect.

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The Clarion Energy Content Team is made up of editors from various publications, including POWERGRID International, Power Engineering, Renewable Energy World, Hydro Review, Smart Energy International, and Power Engineering International. Contact the content lead for this publication at Jennifer.Runyon@ClarionEvents.com.

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